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Captain Jim Hammond
Posted: Apr 6 2008, 04:04 PM


Group: Members
Posts: 15
Member No.: 209
Joined: 14-August 06


I thought the inshore water temperature was not going to make it to the 70's this
year but as of April 3, the water temperature broke the 70 degree mark and as of
this writing, April 6th, the water temperature has made it all the way to 72
degrees. For those of you that are reading this and wondering what I must be
writing about, well, here in northeast Florida, water temperature pretty much
dictates the fish bite when the spring time bite starts and the mark here is 70

Prior to this water temperature the bite is sporadic. One day you might have a good
day and the next slow as grandmas sorghum in the winter.

Now that we have had a little lesson in water temperature, lets get down to some fun
fishing. This past week the redfish have been fired up with catches of 10 plus slot
fish on every trip. I think if I had some folks that could effectively work a top
water, we probably could have caught a few on my favorites, the 6 inch Spook and the
Top Dawg. These are lures that if you perfect, can be productive on monster redfish
and trout and this is the time of the year to get them out, replace the hooks with
Daiichi Death Trap trebles and put a few in your box, ready to cast for the studs.

If you type in these links
http://www.hammondfishing.com/TOP%20WATER%...0WITH%20VIC.wmv or
http://www.hammondfishing.com/top%20water%...0jim%201.wmvyou can see the
results of a properly worked top water lure.

The key to working these is to make the lure "walk the dog". This is a side to side
action of the lure. The lure is moving in a right to left motion while moving
towards the boat ever so slightly. It is more important to have the lure moving side
to side than moving towards the boat. To get this action with the two lures above,
hold your rod tip towards the water and using your wrist, move the rod tip towards
the boat about 1 foot. Then turn the reel handle to take up the slack then repeat.
Most of the time slower is better than faster. If you get a strike DO NOT rare back
and set the hook. Let the fish tell you it is hooked. When the fish has the lure or
in some cases the lure has the fish, the rod will be bent over and the line will be
peeling off of the spool. MANY TIMES the fish will strike at the lure and miss it.
If you rare back and set the hook, you will pull the lure away from the fish and it
will lose your lure. When I have a strike and do not get hooked up, I do nothing for
a second or so then twitch the lure a little then go back to the walk the dog
action. Many times the fish will come back to the lure if you start moving it
slowly, as long as you have not pulled it away from the fish. Other good top water
lures are the Skitter Walk, Poppa Dawg, Tiny Torpedo (great trout lure), Creek Chub
and the Pop-R and I am sure there are many more out there. Once you have perfected
this technique, it can be more full than just about any other style of fishing. Here
are a few things to remember about top water fishing. DO NOT set the hook, let the
fish do that, be careful when landing the fish and do not get a face or handful of
hooks, check your line for frays after each fish and put back the monsters, they are
our breeding stock.

This is supposed to be the month that the monster trout show up in the back waters
and river. They are here for ONE REASON, TO BREED, so please put the roe filled
trout back so we can have more next year. These fish are generally hungry and will
eat almost any lure in front of their face. I sum time refer to trout as the
saltwater largemouth because of their strikes and aggressive action towards most
lures. Big paddle tail lures like the Gotcha 4 and 6 inch shad bodies
http://www.seastriker.com/softplastics/sof..._files/shad.htm rigged on a long
shank lead head jig or better on a 5/0 Daiichi Copperhead hook, work great as an
imitation to a wounded fish.

Try spooling your reel with 10 pound test Power Pro for that LOOOONG cast with light

Flounder should be moving in this month and they usually like a bait fished on the
bottom. Try mud minnows, shrimp, finger mullet or small mullet fillets. A lead head
jig works great in the creeks where the current in not screaming but in the river
try a carolina rig. What ever your rig, try "slower is better". The bite is usually
a distinctive THUMP. This is when Power Pro really comes in handy because of it's
sensitivity. After I feel the thump, I like to gently lift up on my rod. If the flat
one is there, the rod tip will feel heavy, like you are hung on a rock. This is the
time to set the hook and TURN THE HANDLE. If the fish ate your bait, you should be
one your way to a flounder dinner or call me and I will come and get them. If you
like to fish with artificials, a great lure is the Gotcha 4 inch curl tail that has
soaked in poggey oil over night. This fishes great on a lead head jig or a carolina

By the time this hits the press, the Spanish Mackerel should be at the inlets. This
is without a doubt one of the most fun fish to target and they broil and smoke up
pretty darn tasty. If you are into the meat fishing end of this action, here is your
Ugly Stik Tiger Rod BWC 2202, Shakespeare Arsenal AR15AL reel, Sea Striker
Fluorescent 50 lb test line on the reel spool, Gotcha #1 planner, snap swivel, 5
feet of 40 lb test Sea Striker clear Monofilament, Sea Striker Mackerel Tree. In my
opinion, this is the best trolling out / rig for Spanish Mackerel around the inlets,
if you are meat fishing. With this outfit / rig you can catch up to six spanish at a
time on each rod. If you tie this rig in the order that I have it described you will
end up with rod and reel then planner then snap swivel then 5 feet of mono then
mackerel tree. Get going about 5 to 7 mph and send this out about 50 to 75 feet
behind the boat ( I drag 2, one on each side of the boat) and put them in the rod
holders. When you send them out the planner should deploy and the rod should be bent
pretty good. When a or multiple fish get hooked, the rod will start jerking and the
planner will come to the surface.

Now if you are more into the sport but still like a few for the table, here are the
rigs for you.

Pflueger spinning or bait cast outfit spooled with 20 lb Power Pro. A 30 lb mono
leader about 2 feet long and a Gotcha casting jig or Clark Spoon casting rig. Find
the birds and cast this as far as you can in the direction of all the commotion.
When it hits the water let it sink for about 4 seconds the TURN THE HANDLE as fast
as you can. You will hook up and have a great time until the birds go away.

The rigs can be purchased online at http://shop.seastriker.com/index.html
The rods and reels can be purchased at your local tackle stores.

For those of you that are into catch and release only, try the rigs above and bend
down the barbs on the single hook and replace the treble with a single with the barb
bent down.

These four spanish came from one mackerel tree all at one time.

There are still lots of yellow mouth trout in the river and they will eat almost any
kind of cut bait, squid, shrimp, soft plastics on jig heads and mud minnows. Look
for deep rocky banks or around the bridges.

Emily Bailey with 2 of many she landed using live shrimp and a float rig

The ocean is still producing good numbers of snapper with some nice grouper mixed
in. Most of the catches are coming from 10 to 18 miles out in water from 80 to 90
feet deep. Best bait is a live cigar minnow but boston mackerel also works.

The redfish are schooled up on the lower tides and can be caught using a carolina
rig with a piece of crab fished on the bottom.

Nona Bowes with a fat one she caught on crab

Remember Moms and Dads, spend some time with your kids taking them fishing. It will
make a positive difference in their lives.

Don't forget to watch Fun Fishing on ION Media Network, Saturdays at 8 am. Go to
www.fishingwithjim.com to see the station in your area.

Capt Jim's Fun Fishing Inc.
17184 Dorado Cir
Jacksonville, Fl 32226
904 757 7550
[email protected]
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