Captain Jim Hammond
posted 15 April 2001 14:59
Redfish on Gold Spoons
Last week, I had the opportunity to try something new for me. I threw, Capt. Mikes, weedless Gold Spoons in the flooded grass (high tide) for Redfish. This was the first time that I had done this style of fishing, with Capt. Mikes Gold Spoons.
On the Fly:
For those of you that prefer to throw a fly, Orvis makes a fly called Kirk's Spoon Fly that comes in gold and red or gold and blue. This fly will work as well as the spoon that I will be describing in this story. They can be purchased by going to Orvis.com, then flies, then saltwater, then redfish. They are on the bottom of that page. The style of fishing that I describe in the following paragraphs, works with the fly just as well as with the rod and reel. The distance of the cast needs to be about 70 to 80 feet. I like a 20 to 30 pound fluorocarbon leader as long as you can cast.
I started by letting my videographer wear me out, on top water plugs, until the tide got up high enough to have the grass covered with fishy water. I then eased my Honda powered Carolina Skiff, to an area that I was pretty sure would hold some reds and maybe a trout or two.
This type of fishing can be a visual type (meaning you can see the fish that you are trying to catch), so keep you ears and eyes open.
Look for this grass with thin grass coming out into the water. It does not take a big patch of grass to hold fish. You will also need moving water. I like the last of the incoming and the first of the outgoing.
Use you eyes and ears:
After I have arrived at a spot that I think might hold fish, I like to shut down the Honda and ease along from a distance with the trolling motor and look and listen. These fish are generally feeding on small baitfish that are cruising the edges of the grass and when they strike at these bait, they make a lot of noise and leave foam and bubbles on the surface. When I see this and I am ready to cast and close enough, this fish is as good as caught.
Now that we have arrived and been quite, for a few minutes, it is time for the fish catching part of this trip. Ease along the grass edges looking for any disturbance on the surface or any movement of the grass. This is almost always a fish in pursuit of something to eat. When you see these movements toss your Capt. Mikes gold spoon past the movement and slowly work it through the grass.
Try to stay as far away from your target as possible. I like to make cast around 80 to 100 feet. By staying away from your target you seem to spook less fish.
Working the Spoon:
I like to, as soon as the spoon hits the water start retrieving it. This prevents it from sinking to the bottom. Remember, the bait that these fish are after are not on the bottom, so they are not looking down, they are looking for something on the surface. Another reason that you do not want the spoon to sink to the bottom is that it disturbs the grass and this will scare the fish that you are trying to catch.
The pattern that seems to work the best for me, is to toss the bait on the edge, where the thin grass meets the thick grass. As soon as the spoon hits the water start you retrieval back to the boat. Lift up on the rod tip for your retrieval and then, crank the reel handle to take up the slack as you lower the rod tip. Let the spoon settle about six inches then start your retrieval. Repeat his pattern all of the way thru the grass and about 10 feet off of the grass. By doing this, I don't let the spoon get hung in the grass and it is constantly moving.
Now for the strike: These fish are in fairly shallow water (about 2 feet) and they are chasing other fish. This leads to a violent strike. When the fish hits this spoon, you had better be holding on tight to your rod, because they EXPLODE on it. Don't be afraid to set the hook, because as soon as the fish sucks down that spoon, he is going to know something is not right, he is going to know that this is not what he thought he was eating.
I like a 7 foot long medium action rod like the Shakespeare GSP 1170-1M or their new SPI 3070-1ML with the Intrepid SS spinning reel. The spool has to be loaded with Braided line, I like PowerPro, 20 pound test. If you are spooled with monofilament, you are going to have to use 6 to 8 pound test line to be able to get any distance on your cast and with line that light the fish will break you off as the line is wrapped around the grass during the fight.
Where to get them:
Capt. Mikes Gold Spoons, come in several weights, colors, weedless or with treble hooks. I like the 3/8 or 1/4 ounce and
the colors that seem to perform best for me are the gold with silver, gold, and gold with chartreuse in the weedless style.
These spoons can be purchased in Jacksonville at Clapboard Creek fish camp (757-7550) or you can go to the internet and type in Capt Mikes Gold Spoons, this will bring up several online stores.
Now for some local WHAT'S BITING:
The jetties are the hot spots with reds, trout, whiting, yellow mouth, blues, spanish, drum and sheepshead all wanting to visit your landing net. Try a shrimp on the bottom for the reds, drum, sheepshead, whiting and yellowmouth. I like to cast a Gotcha or a Clark spoon for the blues and spanish when they are on the surface and troll a Seastriker #1 planner with a 00 Clark Spoon when they are deep. For the reds, try crab on the bottom.
Fly Fishing the Jetties:
Any minnow imitation or spoon like fly in silver should produce reds that will test your equipment. The calm days the you can stand up and cast along the rocks edges, should produce reds, blues, spanish and very soon, a cobia or king.
The St. Johns River:
What do you want to catch? Reds, trout, blues, jacks, spanish, flounder or maybe a tarpon. With almost no rain this year, the salinity is high in the river and all of the species that should be close to the ocean are making their way south in the river.
Look for schools of fish smashing the surface. This will be the most action and most fun, tiring to outsmart and keep up with them.
Try the FLY ROD or 4 pound test tackle with a heavy leader. You will have a blast. Most of the surface action are feeding on glass minnows, so throw something that Matches the Hatch.
The same as every where else, fish are everywhere. The backwaters are full of reds, trout, spanish, and a few more flounder. Try any moving water that you can work the edges with MirrOlures, Capt. Mikes Spoons, Shrimp, minnows or grubs. As long as the water is moving the fish should bite. On the low end of the tide the large fish are very spooky, so you need to make long cast.
The Fly Rod: Most any pattern imitating a shrimp or mud minnow will work now. Position your boat along creek mouths or deep drops along oyster mounds and wait for Mr. Big fish to swim in your direction on the low tides. On the high tides the fish are less spooky and you can work way back in the creeks along the edges for the big reds and trout. On the high tides try a noisy fly, the bigger the better.
Don't forget to watch Fun Fishing in Jacksonville, every Tuesday at 10:00pm on cable channel 7. In St. Augustine, Thursdays at 7:30pm on cable channel 53 and St. Johns County Thursdays at 7:30pm on broadcast channel 22.
For charter information you can call me at (904) 757-7550 in Jacksonville, Florida or email me at [email protected].
Capt. Jim Hammond www.hammondfishing.com