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Top Water Reds!

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On: Tue, May 19, 2009 at 10:12AM | By: Captain Tim Whitfield

A few weeks ago Danny Wade (my tournament partner) and I were fishing the Xtreme Redfish Artificial Series. We had been on this school of fish for several weeks; the problem was we could not figure them out. As we trolled in, waiting with soft plastics to toss to them, Danny noticed a small shrimp skipping across the water and a boil. I tied on a Sebile ghost walk — first cast of the tournament — BAM fish on; I twitched it only once or twice. We had them pegged; they were on a top water bite. For the next four hours, we moved within range of the school and whacked them with the top water plugs. Once the wind picked up and we had a small chop, we switched to full size skitterwalks and kept on catching fish. The tide was low and coming in, we had overcast skies, and a light to moderate breeze. Top water plugs, at one time in my other life as a Bass fisherman, were a mainstay, the go-to bait! Over the last several years guiding, I became a live bait fisherman, but in the last three years I have been fishing tournaments, and the top waters have become an important part of my tackle box. The favorites for me are the Sebiles and the skitterwalks.

The trick to get the fish to bite is to vary the retrieve: speed up and slow down, pause, pop it, vary it till you find how the fish want it. Recently we were working a wad of fish in Sarasota and the plugs netted us some huge Trout, and then the long hard pull of an over-slot Red. Watch carefully, as Reds will sometimes hit and miss or they will rise out of the water, pin the plug to the bottom to eat it. “Wait till you feel the weight,” a good rule of thumb when fishing top water plugs. Colors vary, but remember the fish see only the bottom of the plug, and maybe a little of the sides; black back with chrome sides and bottom, or any color with a white bottom, will produce. I fished with Capt. Mel Berman last year using his go-to bayside shadlin; nothing! I had a horrendous-looking hot pink top water with yellow belly mirrOlure. Well, we ended up taking turns with the plug; it was the only thing in the box they would eat, and I had only one. Hope this helps you with the excitement of a top water strike. Capt Tim Whitfield Swift fish Charters 813-714-0889


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