The term plug refers to hard body bait that is tied to the end of a line. As we say it Plug fishing is second to none in the backcountry during the low light hours, especially top water plugs. We use certain plugs such a Lucky Craft, Rover, Mirror Lure and the infamous Heddon. I believe all saltwater fly fishing guides are also plug fisherman. (Or should be) It is so productive at first light and the hours leading up to sunset. It’s one of those things that you have to see to believe, the aggressive strikes that insure from the imitation of a wounded baitfish get the blood boiling early! Just like fooling a big game fish with fibers tied on a hook, I love fooling them with plugs and they seem to be irresistible sometimes. My consistent trophies still come from big plugs and you can cover a lot of ground with them as well. Sometimes we throw them in areas to see if the fish are active and we switch to the fly when we see the strikes occur.
All types of fish will readily eat a plug in South West Florida. Snook, Redfish, Tarpon, Trout, Jack, Bluefish will all eat a top water plug at any time. For me watching a Redfish “shoulder” up on a plug in shallow water is the best sight there is when it comes to plug fishing. Their mouths are designed down to be grubbers and they have to bring their whole face out of the water to eat a top water bait, it is very explosive! A top water will also get a tailing redfish’ attention sometimes when nothing else will. Tarpon will take a plug and we have hooked them when we least expect it!
For me Snook is king when it comes to top water plug fishing, the sound a big snook makes when he strikes is like a 20 gauge shotgun going off. There have been some real trophy snook taken while plug fishing; just come see me in turtle bay in the spring…monster snook. Snook just slam it off the top and most of the time you don’t even know they’re on it until the take. Their mouths are designed for plugs, they are designed to eat up and attack food when it swims by…hence the great plug quarry.
Plug fishing is such a great and underrated saltwater sport, I absolutely love it. It does not take as much involvement as fly fishing does and can be nice when you just want to relax with friends…or when we’re trophy hunting! Come see us any time of year for the plug experience of a lifetime!
From here until the wintertime in Boca Grande will be some of the best fishing of mine and my clients life. My goal is to make an anglers dream come true here in beautiful Charlotte Harbor and the Beaches surrounding Boca Grande! There is nothing like patience when it comes to sight casting to huge pods of Tarpon moving down the beaches in crystal clear waters on our sand bars! I had a new tarpon fly fisherman the other day ask, “will I be able to see them when they are coming down” as we were staked out waiting on strings of fish. They look like cruising submarines with their black backs cruising in 3 -5 foot of water over my special bars!! nothing like seeing them crush a fly in real time. Not a lot of other tarpon situations can u see a tarpon open his mouth and eat a fly or bait and turn just to flash like a 150# river trout on Steroids!! that’s the real juice, its the best bite in the game… The snook fishing is unreal as well, we all chase a snook dream on the fly or plug to get that real trophy and only chase them in the fall or winter…NOW is the time to target a trophy snook on the fly or plug! I love this time of year and feel so very fortunate to share this with people.
Well those great afternoon tides are back. Tarpon are being caught in the pass and some in the back country. I am still in snook mode and will continue to fish these giants on and off through tarpon season. One of the ONLY months our flat is not getting beat up on a regular basis, its nice to see the fish do what they are suppose to. A friend and i went out for 3 hours and caught over 5 snook over 30 inches with one nearing 40! This was all on plugs, due to the wind we could not get the fly to them. But man where they smashing the top water plugs on the outgoing tide in the cuts! Its been great fishing lately with a lot of parent and children trips just looking to have fun!
I had Andrew on my boat with his mother and he was so excited and had so many questions about the snook and tarpon he had been watching on T.V. he could hardly contain himself on the ride out to the flat. When we caught a couple trout he was having fun, then we hooked a 30+inch snook and the fight was on, 9 year old Andrew got so nervous it was cool and landed him and many other fish for some photos for his Dad! love taking kids fishing! always an adventure!