Bass Fishing in Tidal Waters
By Captain Frank Bourgeois
Bass Fishing has taken a big jump from the conventional little back pond image. Let's look into our past to see the future. We see Bass pictures with large strings of fish hanging on boards. Today we see large catch and release tournaments. We have a lot of pressure going toward lakes and rivers. Fishermen are now turning toward fishing tidal waters as an area not pressured as much. For years fishermen would launch their boats in the fresh water rivers and head for the salt water. One of the reasons for this was to allow them to flush their motors after a day on the salt water. In my area, I have found more and more fishermen are not heading for the Gulf, but in fact fishing for Bass. One of the neatest things I ever saw was in Crystal River, Florida when I looked into the water and saw a Bass about five pounds. Just below the Bass were two salt water crabs crawling under the fish.
Something you need to think about - Florida Licenses. If you are fishing for Bass in tidal water areas, you also could be fishing in an area that support Red fish or Snook. I asked about licenses and was told that if you have the potential of catching both fresh water and salt water fish in the same are, you need both fresh and salt water licenses. To me that is a fine line or as they say "you are walking on thin ice". I guess to be safe you need both licenses, so use good judgment.
In Florida, the places where I fish tidal waters the most are Crystal River, Homosassa River, Chassahowitzka River and the Weeki Wachee River. All these places require light line and long casts. Why? Well the water is so clear it is like fishing in a swimming pool. In many cases fishermen learn how to fish different styles of baits due to the clarity of the water. If nothing else, you can learn a lot about lure presentation. Take this information to the cloudy waters of some of the hot lakes and you might clean house the next time you go fishing.
I use medium-heavy weight rods and strong reels (one will never know what will bite). I use a Berkley Lightning rod and a Garcia 5600 bait casting reel. Add Berkley's big game line and most of the fishing will become catching. I like using this combination for top water baits such as Zara Spook Puppies, Rapalas or buzz baits. I also catch salt and fresh water fish on spinner baits. For crank baits, I like Cisco Kids and Rat-L-Traps. Bass Assassin produces a line of baits that don't care where they are. Most of their products will bring in a trophy while fishing either salt or fresh water. Love's lures also will do a great job for you in the tidal waters. There are so many great lures, lines, rods and reels I could talk about them forever (you know I am a fishing nut). When everything else fails, use a product that you have confidence in.
Captain Frank Bourgeois
Hernando Beach Florida
Home page http://www.alwaysfishing.com