Coastal Angler Magazine | May 2023 | Mississippi Gulf Coast Edition

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pring is one of my favorite seasons for shing. Fish are warming up and feeding aggressively, especially red sh. Red sh eagerly consume an array of baits this time of year, but there is one arti cial that sets itself apart from the others. Have you guessed it?

If you said, “gold spoon,” you were correct. When you look at the spoon it seems unimpressive, to be honest. However, that is the beauty of it all; we, as anglers, overcomplicate shing. Sometimes all you need is an awkward piece of gold metal to shake the skunk.


It combines pro le, color and vibration, which play on the three signi cant senses most game sh use when feeding. e shape might resemble a crab, a small sh or a wounded shrimp, and the unique wobble lets sh know it’s an easy target. Gold spoons are great for beginners and avid anglers alike, they can be rigged weedless, and they are easy to cast. One of my go-to spoons for red sh is the FishLab Bio-Spoon.


Rigging is simple; attach a 20- to 30-pound uorocarbon or mono lament leader directly to the spoon. I attach a snap swivel directly to the spoon to prevent line twists. A 1/4-ounce spoon is usually an excellent choice, especially when the bait is smaller. Remember to match the hatch in

terms of size. Pair the spoon with a 7 or 7 1/2-foot medium fast spinning rod and 15-pound braid. My preferred setup is the Okuma ITX 4000 paired with an Okuma SRT spinning rod.

Spoons can produce sh in various conditions, but there are situations when it shines. Along weed lines, mangroves or similar structures should be your rst targets, as this is where red sh congregate. Remember, reds travel in groups, so work an area thoroughly for consistent action. Repeated casts to the exact location or the same retrieval path will o en produce multiple sh.

Gold spoons are best suited for stained or dark water. In cleaner water, the same techniques can be used with a silver spoon. e shape of the spoon and hook guard combine to allow the lure to bounce o obstructions like weeds, mangroves, oyster beds or rocks where other lures might be lost.

Erratic action is the key to the spoon’s success. Many anglers cast and pause, allowing the spoon to utter. If you do not get a hit right o the bat, you have two options for the retrieve. A steady retrieve, varying speed based on conditions, will o en draw sh out and even right to the boat. Others prefer to add a twitch to their retrieve, feeling it increases the motion. Try each or mix it up based on what the sh respond to. Be bold, and try new techniques. Be sure to pick up a Salty Scales Performance shing shirt, stay protected, and remain comfortable on the water.

Capt. Joshua Taylor is a Tampa guide and founder of Salty Scales Performance Fishing Gear. Check them out at MAKES THE GOLD SPOON UNIQUE? HOW TO FISH A SPOON By Capt. Joshua Taylor


There was a time in my life that we took certain things for granted. For example, No limits and/or seasons on speckled trout, drum, ounder and especially GROUPER! I never thought I would say the two words “grouper” and “season” in the same sentence. Never mind, I’m just venting because I prefer bottom shing and light lining above all other styles of o shore shing.

I went through this last year about this time, but I’ll do it again for those folks who might have missed it. is is the way I start every location we anchor on, or post up with the Rhodan.

NOTE: We take two boxes of quid on every trip, and we typically have live pin sh from the marina also.

I typically have three or four folks with me every trip. We start by ring down whole squid on the jig. Meanwhile, I’m on the sabiki jigging up whatever is on the bottom below us. I don’t care what is coming up on the whole squid, as this is not the main focus. e real objective is to set a nice ‘chum slick” on the bottom to attract the sh you’re really shing for. A er 4 or 5 rounds of the whole frozen squid, we will re down live pin sh or whatever I’ve jigged up on the sabiki. e other advantage of shing a live pin sh, grass grunt, sailors’ choice or whatever you can jig up, is it eliminates the trash bites. In addition to eliminating the trash bites from small snapper, seabass and other “undesirables,” it’s like physcological warfare, as the gags, scamps and reds cannot digest all that is going on here. To them it appears like the pin sh, grass grunts etc, think the live baits were running around picking up squid pieces, and the squid or crab jigs have caught them and the live bait is struggling to get away. BAM!!! e bite happens. is, my friends, is the di erence between “bottom shing” and GROUPER shing.

Another bait that’s a dead ringer for a grouper bite is a butter ied

bait. e butter ied bait on the bottom basically does the same thing as the squid. e small snapper and other smaller sh will hammer the lets until the grouper have had enough of it. You will feel the small sh biting it constantly, but then all of a sudden the small “pecking” bites will stop. Get ready, and don’t move it… the grouper has moved in and everyone else has to leave, because it’s time for the real bite!

Enough about the bottom. I will occasionally troll for a LITTLE WHILE, but this would be to accomplish two things at once. Catch a sh or two, but also to locate the best part of any given ledge with lots of bait and sh on the bottom. As soon as we locate the bait, reel in the troll baits and get to work! Everything you catch trolling, you can catch on the light line while you’re grouper shing. Tuna, dolphin and wahoo are idiots for a big fat (live) greenie, sardine, cigar minnow or goggle eye out back behind the boat in the current.

All the best shing,

Check out more from Tim Barefoot at

Tim Barefoot

Are Saying

It was a perfect late autumn day in the northern Rockies. Not a cloud in the sky, and just enough cool in the air to stir up nostalgic memories of my trip into the backwoods. is year, though, was di erent. I was going it solo. My two buddies, pleading work responsibilities, backed out at the last minute. So, armed with my trusty knife, I set out for adventure.

Well, what I found was a whole lot of trouble. As in 8 feet and 800-pounds of trouble in the form of a grizzly bear. Seems this grumpy fella was out looking for some adventure too. Mr. Grizzly saw me, stood up to his entire 8 feet of ferocity and let out a roar that made my blood turn to ice and my hair stand up. Unsnapping my leather sheath, I felt for my hefty, trusty knife and felt emboldened. I then showed the massive grizzly over 6 inches of 420 surgical grade stainless steel, raised my hands and yelled, “Whoa bear! Whoa bear!” I must have made my point, as he gave me an almost admiring grunt before turning tail and heading back into the woods.

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Bearly’ Made It Out Alive What

Where Southern Stripers run

WhereSouthern Stripers run WhereSouthern Stripers run WhereSouthern Stripers run

species that crosses their path.

It is a good time to be a river angler. Here are three excellent destinations for river-run striped bass in the South.

• Saluda River: Columbia, South Carolina

In spring and summer, scads of striped bass make the 60-mile run up the Congaree River from the Santee-Cooper Lakes southeast of Columbia, S.C. By late summer, most of those sh pile into the Saluda River, which is a short, 10-mile-long tributary that’s fed with cold water from the dam at Lake Murray. August is the heart of the Saluda season, when 100- sh days of 2- to 5-pound stripers are possible. Fish heavier than 20 pounds are a possibility, but this shery sees a lot of pressure and the water is normally very clear. e big ones spook easily and become nicky late in the season.

• Etowah River: Cartersville, Georgia

On Georgia’s Etowah River, the sh are spread out over about 50 miles of river, so covering water is the name of the game. Anglers should expect to do a lot of casting to each shoal and piece of wood cover where stripers might lie in ambush.

Starting in April, they run some 75 miles upriver from Alabama’s Lake Weiss to a lowhead dam downstream of Georgia’s Lake Allatoona. e sh are constantly on the move and the idea is to intercept them. Anglers might hook up with sh from 4 pounds on up to 20 pounds and larger.

• Hiwassee River: Reliance, Tennessee

e Hiwassee is more of a quality than quantity shery. Anglers are called on to sh hard for just a few bites, but those bites come from sh that o en weigh 20, 30, even 40 pounds or more.

In the South, the striped bass runs of spring and summer bring some of the most exciting shing of the year for those who prefer to sh rivers. Landlocked striped bass are as large and powerful as any sh in freshwater, and for most of the year they are only available to big-lake anglers who troll or downline live baits.

at all changes in spring. e rst groups of striper migrate into the rivers on spawning runs. In many locations, this spring run is followed by a larger summertime push, when pods of striped bass move up into cooler, more oxygenated waters. Sometimes they pile up below dams, and sometimes they patrol surprisingly skinny waters in wolf packs, gobbling up any prey

Most years, the wide, shoal-broken river around Reliance loads up with striped bass from July into September. ese are big-river sh that run some 50-miles upstream from the Tennessee River at Lake Chickamauga. ey revel in cold, oxygenated water that ows down the mountains from Apalachia Lake on the North Carolina/Tennessee border.

ey hold in the same holes and shoals every year to feed heavily on skipjack herring, gizzard shad and the stocked trout Tennessee puts in the river for anglers.

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The foundation to fishing for any species starts with the proper rigs and setups. There are thousands of articles and videos out there that highlight different rigs and setups for targeting inshore species. The setups that I am going to discuss are the rigs that I use daily to target Redfish, Flounder and Speckled Trout around the Mobile Bay and surrounding Gulf Coast. You can also visit our Youtube Channel, “Southern Salt Kayak Fishing” where we have several videos going in depth about these rigs and setups.

The key components to any good setup include the rod, reel, line and leader. The rod serves as the back bone and selecting the right one for the job will increase distance and accuracy all while ensuring enough power to bring in the fish! The reel gives you the right amount of drag and line capacity all while keeping the weight of your setup low enough as to be comfortable and not fatigue the angler. Choosing the right line and size also plays a huge role in getting further casts all while ensuring enough power to direct the fish to the boat. The leader is the lifeline of your inshore setup making sure that your line does not get broke off from toothy fish or sharp barnacles around pilings, all while keeping your line undetected by finicky fish.


The main setup that I use to target Redfish starts with a 7’ medium heavy, fast action rod. This rod gives me plenty of backbone to pull in upper slot reds, as well as bull reds. I find that 3000 – 4000 size reels are perfect for redfish. They provide enough drag and spool capacity to fight almost any size redfish. The line that I prefer here is 20 – 30 pound braid paired up with 20 – 30 pound Fluorocarbon Leader. The size of the line will depend on the areas you plan of fishing. If you are fishing Flats and marsh systems 20-pound test is plenty. However, if you plan to fish structure such as docks and bridge pilings you might want to use 30-pound test to winch those fish out of the structure. This setup is great for throwing artificial lures such as Spoons, crankbaits, and soft plastics on a 3/8 oz jig head. This setup also works exceptionally well for live bait on popping corks and Carolina rigs.

Speckled Trout


For Speckled Trout, our setup is going to be much lighter than that of a redfish setup. For this setup, we are going to use a 7’ medium light, fast action rod. We are throwing a lighter rod here because the weight of our lures will be much smaller and it takes a lot less force to turn the head of a Speckled Trout. The reel size here will be a 2500, which is the perfect size for catching any size trout. The line size here is going to be 10-pound braid paired with 10-pound fluorocarbon leader. 10-pound test provides enough strength to get these fish to the boat, all while allowing us to cast significantly further and having a more natural presentation on artificial lures. The fluorocarbon leader here should be approximately 3-4 feet long and attached to the mainline with a uni to uni knot. This setup is perfect for throwing soft plastics and jerk baits weighing between 1/16 - 1/4oz, as well as free lining live bait.

For Flounder, my favorite setup is one directly in between my Redfish and Speckled Trout setups. For this setup, I am going to go with a 7’ medium, extra fast rod tip. The medium rod strength here gives me a large range of options for jig head weight, allowing me to throw anything from a 1/81/2oz jig head accurately. The extra fast tip allows me to get a very quick and hard hook set which is essential for getting these fish in the boat. The reel size here is going to be anything between 2000-3000. Line size for flounder will be 20-pound braid paired with 20-pound fluorocarbon leader tied to the mainline with a uni to uni knot. This setup will cover almost any range of style for flounder fishing, as well as serve as a good back up redfish setup.


Using the right setup can mean the difference in hooking and landing these fish or going home and telling everyone about the one that got away. Be sure to check us out on Youtube at Southern Salt Kayak Fishing where you can directly reach out to us and ask any questions that you may have. Until next time tight lines and stay safe!

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Spring brings smaller redfish to coastal rivers, bayous, and creeks to hide from larger redfish and to find prey. The best baits for catching them are live shrimp, pin fish, fiddler crabs, and finger mullet. The best lures for catching redfish are three to five inch white or gray paddle tail with a 1/8 to 1/2 ounce jig head or a seedless gold spoon worked slowly near the bottom of the water column. When you hook one, be ready for a fight, as these fish are very strong and don’t give up easily. Slot limits on redfish vary from state. In Mississippi, redfish must be between 18 and 30 inches to be legally harvested; the daily bag limit is three redfish per person. Alabama has a range of 16 inches to 30 inches with a daily bag limit of three fish as well.

There are so many ways to prepare and cook redfish because its meat is thick and firm, lending itself to beautiful presentation as well as flavor. Give this bright, tasty recipe a try the next time you bring home a fresh catch!

1. 4 redfish filets

2. 2 eggs, beaten

3. 1 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs

4. 1/2 cup all purpose flour

5. 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

6. 1 tsp granulated garlic

7. Oil for frying

1. Add 1/4 inch of oil to a shallow frying pan and bring to 350 degrees

2. Dr y filets with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper

3. Mix panko, Parmesan, and garlic in a bowl and set up your breading station. One bowl for panko mixture, one for flour, one for eggs

4. Dredge each filet in flour, then egg, finish with panko mixture

5. Fry each filet 2-4 mins per side, depending on thickness, drain on paper towels

6. Serve with Tomato Basil Cream Sauce and polenta rounds or grits.

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1. 2 tbsp olive oil

2. 4 cloves garlic, minced

3. 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved (feel free to use more)

4. 3/4 cups heavy cream

5. 2 tbsp concentrated tomato paste (squirt tube)

6. Handful of basil leaves


1. Heat oil in skillet or small saucepan

2. Add tomatoes and cook til blistered

3. Add tomato paste and cook for 30 secs or so

4. Add garlic; cook til fragrant

5. Reduce heat to low, add cream and simmer for 15 mins stirring frequently

6. Toss in torn basil and season with salt and pepper

7. Serve with panko crusted redfish, or anything because this simple sauce is delicious

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Targeting Fry Guarders

May is a great time to be fishing. By now the bass are becoming more aggressive and feeding up after the spawn. Most fish will stay shallow for a while longer before moving to their summer habitat. Some of these bass can be found guarding fry and can be a solid pattern to target this time of the year. Bass will guard their fry for around 7-10 days after hatching and can be found in and around spawning areas. The fry will stay around the beds for the first few days and as they grow they will move out to the edges of spawning pockets and bays. The fry will relate to any cover that provides plenty of protection, such as boat docks, brush, or around cypress trees.

In clearer water you can visually see the fry. They will look like small black clouds of tiny bait in the water and many times there will be a bass near by to fend off predators. If you can visually see the fry on the surface or even see the bass sitting below them a weightless wacky rigged senko can be hard to beat. Another great bait to throw is a weightless Texas rigged trick worm. The trick is to make an accurate cast without spooking the bass. The most natural presentation would be to skip the bait to the fish and let it sink, twitching and pausing the bait near the surface. Try to keep the lures in sight most of the time when working the baits around the fry. There are times when you get towards that later guarding period the bigger fry will have some range to them, so that is when you can let that worm get a little deeper.

In stained water when blind casting for fry guarders a topwater can be one of the best baits to throw. Either a spook worked with short fast twitches or a buzzbait can be great for covering water to locate fry. When you get in an area that has fry in it you will see the surface of the water look like it’s raining as you work your bait through it. Be sure to give those spots a few extra cast or slow down and pitch the worm to them.

In conclusion whether your fishing clear or stained water be on the lookout for fry and be sure to target those bass guarding them.

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It’s finally here, one of the best months of the year. The water temps are in that perfect 70-75 degree. It’s warm but usually not unbearable. Assuming the spillways stay closed, the fishing should be stellar all month.

The shrimp should be pushing in all month long. There should also be finger mullet, pogies and rain minnows coming in too. Find the bait and find the fish. The trout should have a big spawn. Leading up to

And following the big spawns(full and new moons) the trout should feed like mad. This is run and gun fishing. If you are not getting bit, seeing bait, slicks or diving birds, MOVE. Keep moving until you find em. There should be fish on the nearshore reefs, barrier islands, and all through out the Louisiana Marsh. If you are not finding any action, just keep looking.

The live bait shops should be stocked up on shrimp and croakers. I’d recommend getting a little of both. When the bite gets rolling, you can always switch over to a soft plastic like a VUDU Shrimp, or a Matrix shrimp creole. We either tight line them or out them or rig them 2 feet under a boat


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Monkey popping cork.

The triple tails should begin moving in, so be sure and check any buoy, channel marker or floating debris. Live shrimp always work well for them.

There will still be plenty of fish along the beach. The reefs, bay and bridges should still hold plenty of puppy drum, sheepshead, white trout, specks and flounder. No matter where you fish, launch or get bait, expect a crowd. Please be patient and courteous. Give other anglers plenty of room and don’t be afraid to explore. Crowds don’t always mean there are fish around

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Join hosts Joey and Jared as they highlight some of the greatest aspects South Mississippi has to offer.

Check out Episode 170. We talk to Captain Allen from Chasing Dots Charters! We dig into how he moved from Hattisburg to the Gulf Coast to start his own charter business.

Tune in for tips, tricks and a lot of laughs. Stay in touch with us by downloading our App in the App Store or Google Play. Cheers!!


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Surfing for Specks

Thereare many areas to target speckled trout, but for me, it doesn’t get any better than beachside specks. These fish are practically a different species from the backwater variety. They are usually more aggressive, heavier bodied and possess far more attitude.

Big trout typically start moving onto the beaches once water temps climb back towards 70 degrees and higher. These fish will generally hang in the surf zone all through the summer.

Beachside specks are generally found along nearshore pockets of deeper water or around rip current eddies within the inner sandbar systems. On calm, clear days, they can often be seen in small groups or schools of 50 or more fish.

Not unlike their inshore counterparts, these surf trout won’t stray far from their forage. Finding areas with an ample supply of bait is critical. The presence of other predators like ladyfish, mackerel and others is usually a good sign that you’re in the right area.

Fishing these areas can be done both on foot or from a boat or kayak.

Boats can be positioned just outside the troughs or beyond the breakers and baits/ lures fished inward towards the beaches. It’s easiest to find spots from the boat by looking for areas that are void of wave activity, designating deeper water and the rips/troughs that these fish like to thrive in.

My favorite way to hit these beachside specks is on foot. Aside from the simplistic approach and “cheap” operating cost, this is by far the most tactical way to target these fish. The nearshore troughs and “ditches” can be picked apart more methodically and with a stealthy approach. It’s simply a

matter of covering water and moving from one trough to the next.

Bait choice can vary wildly, but like all types of fishing, match the hatch is the best angle of attack. Beach trout will primarily feed on various finfish like sardines, mullet and croaker. These fish can be targeted via live baiting, but the majority of beach trout anglers will go the artificial route to cover water more efficiently and with less bycatch.

Hardbaits excel here with twitchbaits and midsize jerkbaits being top picks. On many occasions, topwater lures will draw big strikes from trophy trout in the breakers. Another added plus to using hardbaits is their durability, with many abundant and toothy bycatch species like mackerel and bluefish frequenting the same areas

Soft plastics will take their fair share, with “jerkbait” style baits like the Slick Lure and Southern Salt Hoodwink being good choices. These baits can be fished with a time tested twitch-n-pause retrieve that is particularly effective on speckled trout. Other plastics like paddletails and classic curltail grubs will also work.

This is also a great time to target them on foot with the flyrod and a wide variety of different baitfish patterns will work for them. Rods should range from 6-8wt and line types from full floating to intermediate or sink 3 tips can be used.

Beach trout can be taken in a variety of conditions, but a bit of wave action can go a long way. The fish will generally be more active when there are waves and less spooky of terminal gear. Don’t let a bit of wind and waves deter you from hitting the sand, as any small pocket of deeper water can be an oasis for big trout when conditions get sporty.

You don’t have to run miles of open bay for big trout this month. Take the boat down the beaches or strap on the backpack and get your feet sandy.





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Would your kid be proud to set a new world record?

Of course they would, and right now is a great time for kids to catch a world record thanks to the International Game Fish Association’s new length-record category for young anglers. e category is intended to promote catch-and-release by making it possible to measure a sh for world-record consideration without killing it, and right now there 169 vacant species just waiting for anglers under 16 years old to set a new world record.

e new IGFA All-Tackle Length Junior category follows the same rules and regulations as the current All-Tackle Length record categories. e All-Tackle Length Junior category will have one record available for each eligible species, with no di erentiation made for the angler’s gender, which is consistent with current All-Tackle Length and All-Tackle Length Fly record categories. Vacancies exist for all eligible species of the All-Tackle Length record category and will follow the same minimum length requirements already established.

“By introducing the All-Tackle Length Junior category, we hope to inspire the next generation of anglers to get out and sh, while promoting ethical and sustainable shing practices,” said IGFA President Jason Schratwieser. “Fishing is a fantastic way to connect with the outdoors, and we believe that by engaging young people with this sport, we can inspire the next generation of stewards of our oceans, lakes, and rivers and help ensure the long-term health and vitality of our aquatic resources.”

With children and teenagers increasingly disconnected from the outdoors, the IGFA hopes to inspire a new wave of young anglers who are passionate about the sport and its role in connecting people to nature.

For more information, go to

PHOTO COURTESY OF IGFA. Alexandra Hall caught this 63-pound blue cat sh from Virginia’s James River to set IGFA 20-pound line class and female junior world records for the species.


Across the country, bass are either in their post spawn patterns right now or they will be soon. ere is a plethora of ways to catch these bass, but my all-time favorite for getting bit and drawing in a big one is a hollow body popping frog.

A popping frog can be used as an incredible search bait, and you can duplicate many di erent bait sh depending on where you throw it and what color you tie on. ere are many di erent options out there. I try to duplicate the bait sh forage in the particular lake I’m shing. Sometimes I use a frog to imitate a bluegill, and sometimes I throw a shad color pattern. 13 Fishing makes an incredible popping frog that comes with a stout hook and a wide variety of colors for any scenario.

When I throw a frog as a search bait, I work it faster than most. Cover as much water as possible until you put a pattern together on what exactly the sh are focusing on. at’s the magic of a frog; you can literally throw it around everything! Docks, lay downs, grass and open water are just a few of the targets I look for. Once you locate a group of sh or put a pattern together, slow down and pick them o a little slower. I have noticed sometimes there isn’t a “too fast” while working a popping frog.

A couple things I look for this time of year are bass guarding fry and also sh roaming the banks feeding on bluegill. is is very predictable and an awesome way to catch big ones. Typically, if you know a few areas where the sh previously spawned, these patterns will occur in the same areas. I throw a bluegill pattern popping frog because bluegill chase bass fry, and that drives bass crazy.

Another pattern to watch for is a shad spawn. is occurs in the mornings and evenings and can lead to a bunch of sh in a hurry. Look

for birds feeding on banks while running down the lake. Find the birds and you nd the bait! A white popping frog or a bait sh color is typically my choice in this situation.

A popping frog can work all year long, but it really drives post spawn sh crazy. Who doesn’t like catching sh on a topwater with heavy line and a heavy rod?

Frog Fishing Gear

Heavy gear is needed for setting those big frog hooks and shing around heavy cover. I sh a 13 Fishing 7’4H Omen Black rod paired with a Concept A 8.3 reel spooled up with Seaguar 50-pound Smackdown braid. is setup allows you to get sh out of heavy cover and into the boat!

Tyler Woolcott is a professional tournament angler and guide. Check out his website at www.tylerwoolcott


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Black sea bass o en y under the radar for anglers o the coast of the Southeast. Perhaps it’s because their size and numbers are thickest in the middle of winter, when it’s not as pleasant to be on the water? Or maybe it’s because they don’t grow as a large as the other grouper species that inhabit our wrecks and reefs?

This 40.76-pound northern pike is a new Idaho state record. It beat the existing 13-year-old record by a little more than half a pound.

Avid pike sherman omas Francis landed the monster sh on March 21 from Hayden Lake in northern Idaho. e sh was more than 4 feet long, with an o cial length of 49 inches and an impressive girth of 26.5 inches.

Francis told Idaho Fish and Game he speci cally targets big pike almost every day. In late March, ice still ringed the banks at Hayden Lake, so Francis was casting his lure up to the edge of the ice.

“When my lure hit the water, I let it sink all the way to the bottom,” he said. “As soon as my lure hit the bottom, I felt her hit. I sh with 80-poundtest line, and she almost immediately started peeling drag, a lot of it.

“She pinned herself to the bottom and just kept going, peeling drag the whole time,” he continued. “I knew that wasn’t normal, and I could tell it was something special.”

e IGFA all-tackle world record northern pike was caught in Germany in 1986. It weighed 55 pounds, 1-ounce.

For more information, go to

Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that black sea bass are some of the tastiest critters in the ocean, and anchoring over a wreck or reef teeming with them can ll a cooler in short order. Just ask the folks up in New England, where the species is a highly sought a er target of anglers.

NOAA recently announced that recreational harvest of black sea bass will again be open year-round for the 2023-2024 season in federal waters of the South Atlantic, south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. So, sharpen the hooks on your chicken rigs and go collect some meat.

NOAA Fisheries has projected that the 2023-2024 recreational catch limit of 366,510 pounds whole weight will not be met. e season in federal waters will run from April 1, 2023, to March 31, 2024. Seasons in state waters vary, so be sure to check state regulations where you plan to sh. In federal waters of the Atlantic, south of 35 deg 15.0321’ N, there is a seven sh per person bag limit with a 13-inch minimum size limit.

A descending device is required on board all vessels shing for or possessing snapper and grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic. e descending device must be readily available for use and attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line. For more information, go to


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If you are big trout enthusiast like me, you know there is still some time le if you haven’t had your ll over the past ve months. December through a portion of May is when I set my eyes on catching a personnel best speckled trout. With the full moon on May 3 this year, I feel the entire month will hold promise to land one full of eggs before the rst full moon in June. May is also a little more enjoyable, too, so sit back and let me tell you why.

Most anglers in Texas think about big trout mid-December through early April, and when the waders come o they change their focus. Fortunately, not all the big girls have dropped their eggs yet and will still hold them into May. It gives us the opportunity for a heavy trout to take a big smiling photo with.

Speaking of taking the waders o , wading in May is typically warm and enjoyable even if the sh don’t cooperate. e pleasant temperatures are more appealing than dreary, cold, winter days, and they also allow me to sh the way I prefer. At times in winter, we must slow down our presentation and this can become a little monotonous; however, targeting big trout in the warmth of May allows us to work the lure more aggressively.

ere is not much more exciting than a topwater explosion, and spring is one of my favorite times to utilize this tactic for trophy trout. May is also a great time to throw other lures. Traditional slow-sinking and suspending lures also work wonders this time of year.

As most of you know, I am a paddletail fanatic! is month, I’ll give several sizes a shot at getting inhaled by a huge yellow mouth. ese large predators will take 3-, 4- and 5-inch lures this time of year. As their bodies warm with the water, they become as aggressive as they will be all year, so adding some rattling sound to your tails can really get the sh active.

I seek out areas of grass ats in knee- to waist-deep water. Finding a at with a drain from a small lake or creek will work wonders for concentrating sh over adjacent shallow grass. A depression along such a at is another area you should target. When choosing a at with these criteria, areas of potholes are a plus over a solid grass- lled at.

I hope these tips help you get your PB trout on your last chance of the year to nd one lled with eggs. Take a kid shing. ey like big trout too. And be safe. May is the uno cial start of summer, and inexperienced boaters will be on the water.

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An angler got a little more than he bargained for in early April while shing for walleye in the Upper White River in northwestern Arkansas. Fishing 12-pound-test line and a 3-inch-long crankbait, Robert Murphy accidentally snagged a 102-pound paddle sh and spent the next hour battling the sh from his kayak.

In April, the Upper White experiences spring runs of several species into the riverine sections of Beaver Lake, including white bass, walleye and paddle sh. Paddle sh, also known as spoonbill, are a large zooplankton eating species. ey won’t chase lures or live bait, so anglers typically “snag” them during Arkansas’ paddle sh snagging season. e daily limit is two sh per person.

Murphy might not have intended to snag a paddle sh, but that’s exactly what he did. According to Outdoor Life, Murphy was throwing a 3-inch Berkley Flicker Shad for walleye when he saw a big sh on his sonar. inking it was a big striped bass or a gar, he ran his 10- to 12-foot-diving plug through the area and hooked his river monster in the top of the tail.

Anyone who has ever foul-hoked a sh knows how hard they ght when you can’t turn their head. Well, Murphy spent the next hour battling the beast from his kayak as it pulled him up and down the river. A er he nally hauled it into his kayak and brought it to shore, he weighed and measured the sh. With a length of 71.5 inches, it was nearly 6 feet long, and at 102 pounds, it was shy of the 118-pound, 9-ounce state record that was caught from Beaver Lake in 2020.

For more information, see

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