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Old 10-11-2008, 12:39 PM   #1
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Default Father/Son Beginners

The extent of my fishing experience was cane pole fishing off my grandpa's houseboat as a kid; so, I do not have much experience. I found a great deal on a 16ft Bayliner. The boat is now serviced and the livewell is running! I have picked up a 6ft cast net to try to learn casting for live bait, and my son (10) and myself ( aint sayin! ) have been out 4 or so times, wetting line and fooling around. Now our only fish to claim was about a 14" spec caught while casting for bait, and we released the unlucky fellow!!



Long story short, we need help I have been launching at Woodlawn in Navarre, and we have been fishing the areas around the grass beds. We have tried the Pensacola beach bridge. Different setups: spoons, jigs, gulp under cork, and pinfish. Most of these from reading books and this forum. I was hoping some folks might have some tips. I am not looking for sweet spot information, but more about what to look for to identify where the fish may be, what rigs/bait might be good for what is our there this time of year, and depth possible location to go after them. Casting/retrieving techniques. To be frank, anything you might think could help us along. My son is not the most patient, and I want to keep his attention with something we can do together, but after this last trip out, I think his patience with my lack of experience :sick is souring his desire to try this.



I have booked a guide to show us around in November, but still would love any help to get us going between now and then... and beyond



Thanks in advance!!
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Old 10-11-2008, 06:05 PM   #2
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Default RE: Father/Son Beginners

Hey, man,

I am not from Navarre and haven't fished over your way, but I can give you some general info about targeting fish out of your new boat. First, it is important to know what kinds of fish you can expect to find in your area. By doing this, you can cover the tackle spectrum such that you have all the tricks of the trade ready depending upon what you encounter. This leads me to another point; when kids or new anglers are involved, the most important thing you can do is fish for what is biting! Resist the temptation of "species tunnel vision" when you go, i.e. don't go trout fishing and become so involved in targeting them that you don't notice something else that is biting. I'm guessing that over your way, you've got speckled and white trout, grey (black/mangrove) snapper, redfish, Spanish mackerel and king mackerel, ladyfish, bluefish, jack crevalle of all sizes, flounder, pompano, and some others, but that just about covers it, I would think. Find a good local tackle shop (not Wally World!) and ask for the guy who fishes a good bit to help you pick out some tackle. You'll probably need about three or four different styles/sizes of hooks, some leadheads, soft plastics, a variety of sinkers, couple corks, some mono or fluorocarbon of different sizes for leader, some wire leader, etc. Just ask the guy to cover you for the most likely encountered fishing scenarios. That way, you're ready when the ladyfish start busting because you've got a couple of white bullet-syle jigs and some 40 lb. mono leader, for example.

I approach bait the same way. Good thinking on the cast net. Matching the hatch is a great way to catch the local fish. But you will also do yourself a big favor if you stop at the local seafood market and buy some fresh shrimp, as opposed to the frozen stuff at the tackle shop. So many fish eat fresh dead shrimp that won't touch live bait or frozen shrimp. Another thing, try cutting up small fish that you catch for bait. You'd be surprised at how well you will do, for instance, with white trout on cut bait rather than just shrimp or squid.

Lastly, as for rigging, the KISS method (keep it simple sam) is gospel when it comes to fishing. I've always said, the less jewelry on your line, the better. When you can make a rig rather than buy it pre-made, do it. Avoid premade steel leaders. As a matter of fact, there are really only a few instances in which I employ wire leaders, that is king fishing and shark fishing. Most of the rest can be done with mono or fluorocarbon, or no leader at all. Use the lightest line you can get away with in the area you are fishing. I'm guessing the water is fairly clear in your area. Use much more than about 12 lb. test for your inshore stuff, and you are missing bites. I use 8 and 10 when I can. If you are about to tie on a swivel or a snap swivel, ask yourself if a knot or other less obtrusive connection can be made at that junction. If so, do that instead of tying on the swivel or snap swivel. Memorize one or two knots and let that be that. No need for big ol' granny knots in your rigging. Lastly, remember that for a fish to bite a bait, it needs to 1.) look natural, but 2.) look different in some way from the rest of the bait that's around it, i.e. injured, restrained, weak, etc. With that in mind, just use the lightest, yet strongest, and simplest technique you can to get the job done. If you lose a fish or two, so what, really? We're wanting your son to get bites and catch a few fish, right? It's about action....

One final word, there is no right or wrong way to catch a fish, there is only what will work right now, and everything else....so don't be afraid to experiment!

Good luck, and if we can help further, call us at Sam's Stop & Shop (251) 981-4245 in Orange Beach, Alabama. Tight lines!
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Old 10-11-2008, 06:29 PM   #3
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Default RE: Father/Son Beginners

PM sent. Pretty good info above too!
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Old 10-11-2008, 08:19 PM   #4
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Default RE: Father/Son Beginners

hey Bryan, that was nice of you to take the time to give the fishing tips
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Old 10-11-2008, 08:39 PM   #5
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Default RE: Father/Son Beginners

1) get a GPS and some navigational software (Garmin makes some good stuff that isn't really all that expensive)- it will help A LOT. Learn to use it along w/ Google Earth (maps.google.com). Learn the area from the comfort of your home and use software to scout out some spots.

2) Buy a "hot-spots" map- they are about $20.00. This has some "spots" but don't just go the coordinates listed on the map. Instead use the spots as a starting place. Once at the spot - start exploring. Remember one of the reasonsyou bought a boat was to be on the water - enjoy it, scout out some spots, get to know the areas. Look for birds (herons, osprey, and eagles all live by catching fish - find some patterns).

3) http://www.freetidetables.com <-- Hint! Hint! Fish during times of tidal movement not when tides are slack.

4) Listen to the Pros on the Forum. Eric H. and Capt. Wes Rozier. Also listen to the 100's of other amateurs on the forum. Especially true when it comes to bait selection, rigging, and areas to fish.

5) Read the Inshore reports. Get familiar with the spots that people talk about and photograph.

6) Relax and enjoy being on the water. There are 100's of 1000's of people that dream about having a boat and going fishing - you're living the dream. Chill, pay attention to details, and relax. The fishing WILL pickup.
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:15 PM   #6
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Default RE: Father/Son Beginners

Still pretty new myself, but they say in order to find fish to watch for birds diving and bait fish jumping and churning up the water.Fish the edge areas; whether it is the edge of sea grass and open water or shallow water/deep water. Always look at the edges. This goes not only for fishing, but hunting as well.I've heard that the Gulp! Alive shrimp in New Penny color is good. I'd try it both under a popping cork and on the bottom.
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:21 AM   #7
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Default RE: Father/Son Beginners

Thanks for the great pointers. My son has been reading them with me, and now we can't wait to get back out. The boat is definitely catching his excitement. I am going to try to get him out today to a local tackle shop and let him spend a little and talk to the folks armed with this advice. I have picked up a Garmin 70 csx; I will check out the google earth. Can't think everyone enough for the great information. I will keep you all informed and drop a pic when he pulls in his first



Thanks all!
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:42 AM   #8
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Default RE: Father/Son Beginners

Mike,

You are welcome. Keep us posted. You know, after I posted yesterday, I remembered that a friend of mine used to live in Navarre, and he used to tell me about speck fishing with his Dad there. If memory serves, they fished the grass beds in the Intracoastal there and caught some whoppers. Their technique, again, if I remember correctly, was 8 pound test main line on the reel, tied to a 4/0 gold aberdeen Eagle Claw hook. They ran the hook into the body of a yellow 3" stingray grub, and fished it weightless around the grass, focusing on the visible potholes in the grass (you both need polarized sunglasses, by the way.) They just fished this rig like a bass fisherman would a finesse bait, just twitching it and letting it slowly sink til they got a bite. Just one thing you might try.

Another thing I thought of, castnets can be tricky. I was lucky enough that some random nice guy on the Fort Morgan L-pier volunteered to show me how to "make it up" and throw it when I was a kid. Avoid putting the lead in your teeth; I throw that part of the lead-line over my shoulder and it works fine. You can also tie a clothespin to a short piece of heavy mono around your neck as an alternative, placing the lead in the clothespin. There are videos available that show the process, but don't be afraid to ask some old salt just how to throw the thing. You can also buy, with a little bit of hunting, a tray that allows you to chunk a castnet; never used it but saw it in a shop one time and it looked kinda neat.

I cannot commend you enough for taking the time to research the local fishing like you are; I know for a fact that I might have gotten on the wrong path as a teenager if it weren't for my grandfather and other old gents who showed me how to fish. Best of luck, and we're going to be expecting those photos!

Bryan
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Old 10-12-2008, 05:59 PM   #9
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Default RE: Father/Son Beginners

just go out to the three mile bridge and anchor up, as this will be a great place to learn to catch fish and progress from there to other places in our area. Invest in a good bottom machine and your luck will greatly increase as you learn the ropes. Good luck .
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:41 PM   #10
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Default RE: Father/Son Beginners

Quote:
<SPAN id=_ctl1_ctlTopic_ctlPanelBar_ctlTopicsRepeater__c tl9_lblFullMessage>just go out to the three mile bridge and anchor up, as this will be a great place to learn to catch fish and progress from there to other places in our area. Invest in a good bottom machine and your luck will greatly increase as you learn the ropes. Good luck .
I couldn't agree more. Get some GULP! 3 inch new penny shrimp, and some 3/4 ounce jig heads. Go out to 3 mile, and anchor up close to the bridge. Toss those gulps out there and let 'em sit on the bottom and wait for the fish. They will practically catch themselves...here is a pic from the last time I took my kids out there

Good luck, but if you follow those directions you want need luck...the fish are there, and they will eat the GULP!!!!!
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