Growing up in South Florida, one of my favorite types of fishing was skipping baits into the mangroves and today I still love it more than ever! I am blessed to live just miles away from the Florida Everglades and growing up I did most of my fishing there. There is a multitude of gamefish species that can be caught in the Florida Everglades including Snook, Trout, Redfish, Tarpon, Black drum and even Goliath Grouper.
All of these species can be caught by pitching and skipping baits into the mangroves. Whether I’m on a boat or kayak my tactics generally remain the same. I like to fish the deeper pockets on a falling tide because the fish are usually spread out on high tide roaming the flats and when the tide falls they follow the water and bait back into the mangroves.
|Ocean Kayak 12′ Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak|
There are multiple baits that I use skipping the Mangroves. Sometimes I live chum with pilchards, other times I use shrimp on a jig head, but my favorite is a weedless rigged soft plastic which I skip back as far as possible. One of my go to favorites for skipping is the Zman StreakZ rigged weedless, Some other great baits that have worked well for me are the DOA CAL Jerk Shad and also the DOA Shad Tail but if presented properly when the fish are feeding almost any soft plastic in any color will work. My advice would be to stay within your comfort zone and throw your go to color and bait something you have confidence in until you find out what works best for you. Trial and error is one of the best forms of learning when it comes to finding and catching fish.
My preferred rod, reel and line combos for skipping baits is the Shimano Stradic Ci4 4000 spooled with 15lb Power Pro Paired with the Temple Fork Outfitter 7ft6′ medium action rod with a 30-40lb Fluorocarbon leader.
The explosion from an angry Snook or Redfish on your artificial gets the heart pumping! The anxiety of hoping you can stop this fish before it breaks you off on its first run and not wanting to put too much pressure so you don’t pull the hook will have you on edge the whole entire fight–that feeling is what I live for!
Good luck out there everyone and tight lines!