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A New Technique Pays Dividends

By Dave Duwe - March 1, 2013
There is an old analogy that 10 percent of the fishermen catch 90 percent of the fish. Catching fish to most is considered luck, however the diehard anglers know that there are tricks and subtle patterns that will help you put more fish in the boat on a given trip to the water. This has never been so true than during my recent trip to Naples, Florida. I have been going to Florida the past five or six years and always have had some success with catching fish each time we went to the water. Sometimes the success was limited other times it was fantastic.
This year, early in our vacation, I hired Captain Joe Smirnov of Captain Eric's Inc. fishing charters out of Naples harbor. The trip was an early morning inshore trip to catch Snook, Sea trout, and Pompano. The weather was a beautiful Southwest Florida day, sunny and low 80's, with light winds. The usually Florida crew was along my son Nate, Uncle Jeff and myself.

We arrived at the first spot; a main channel with a lot of tidal moving water, the water depth was about nine feet. The rods were medium to heavy action spinning outfits with power pro line and a short fluorocarbon leader with a ½ oz. Ocean Logic pink jig head with an added small 2 inch piece of surgical tubing. The jig was tipped with a small piece of shrimp for the scent. The retrieve was very similar to walleye jigging, cast it out and hop it back. The hits came almost instantaneously Ladyfish, Whiting, Pompano etc. If the fish had a face we caught it. You had to hop the jig on a moderately fast retrieve, if you let the jig sit too long, you would inevitably catch a catfish. The technique was crucial for success; hopping produced desirable fish and improper technique equated to a slimy catfish. The jig needed the small piece of shrimp to get bit. After a short while you could tell by the weight if your shrimp was removed by a biting fish. All the years down in Florida I have never used the jig/surgical tube combo. The tube added bulk to the jig to make it more imitate a shrimp and the shrimp piece added the scent. We caught a hundred fish in our four hour trip, nothing huge but fun was had by all. Captain Joe was fun to spend the morning with and we had a lot of laughs. I would recommend Captain Eric's Inc. to anybody heading to the Naples area.

Being a poor fishing guide I don't have money to go out on a charter everyday but the crew loves to fish and hang out in the sun. Never having used the pink jig surgical tube rig before Jeff and I wondered how it would work from our favorite shore spots. The next day we headed to a friend's dock where we fished the day before our guided trip with limited success. In previous years the rig of choice was a split-shot, 18 inch leader, and hook with live whole shrimp, which we employed on my friends dock. All set-up with our pink jigs we made our first casts. Almost as soon as it hit the water it was fish on!! Never has a change in technique made such a difference to me. The next two hours it was one fish after another, so many my hands got sore. Jeff just thought I was soft. Shrimp being 4 bucks a dozen, cutting them in four pieces allowed you to save a ton of money not using a whole one. Thinking it was fluke we headed back to the dock the next day with the same results. Jeff and I wondered how much money this technique could have saved us over the years, not even considering how many more fish we would have landed. Though hiring a charter boat is expensive the technique learned from Joe will pay dividends to us for the rest of our trips of Florida. Spend a little to learn a lot. I guess sometimes a professional fishing guide can help you to be in the 10 percent.

Author Dave Duwe
Dave Duwe
Full-time guide Dave Duwe owns and operates Dave Duwe's Guide Service, featuring the lakes of Walworth County, WI. Dave has been guiding for over 20 years and is one of Southeastern Wisconsin's best multi-species anglers. Dave is an accomplished outdoor writer and seminar speaker. He is a member of the Great Lakes Outdoor Writers Association and Walworth County Visitor Bureau. Sponsors include: Lund Boats(Jerry's Sport Service Inc.), Mercury Marine, Arkie Jigs, and Vexilar Marine Electronics, a pro-staff member of Minn-Kota trolling motors,Hummingbird graphs, Cannon downriggers, Lindy, Pure Fishing and All Terrain Tackle. For more information, please check out Dave's website .
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