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Boatless Fishing

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On: Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 2:56PM | By: Lee Clymer

Florida is a fishing paradise, let’s face it. Offshore, inshore, or inland it doesn’t matter, there’s fish. A boat goes a long ways in providing fishing flexibility, but not everyone wants to maintain a boat or weather the costs involved in owning one. Renting one isn’t a cheap endeavor either.

Fortunately, this fishing paradise has alternatives all over the state. There’s 58,560 square miles within the Florida borders. 4,308 square miles of that is water, and there’s 1,197 statute miles of coastline, with over 660 miles of beaches. Inland, there are more than 11,000 miles of rivers, streams and waterways. The St. John’s River alone is 273 miles long, and by the way, one of only two rivers that flows from south to north in North America.

Along with all that water are countless bridges, docks, piers, and of course miles of fishable beaches. All you need is a license, time and tackle, and you’re in the fishing mix. Nowadays you don’t even need a license to fish from the beach.

Among the available fish are snook, pompano, whiting, sharks, sheepshead, and blues. That’s just saltwater. The bass population speaks for itself as far as freshwater goes.

So what tackle do you need? Saltwater and freshwater are a lot alike in many aspects. The basic equipment is the same in that you need a rod, reel, line, and hook. You need a container for live bait if you intend to use it, and a cooler. Yes, the details change with the type of fish, the bait you use, and the area you choose to fish, and must be tailored for the targeted prey. Fishing for snook requires different hooks, heavier line, and different bait than fishing for bass or perch.

Where there’s current, weights and swivels have to be customized for the location. The baits and gear pretty much remain the same unless you’re fishing in the surf. Longer rods for getting the rig out past the surf are required.

Other basic equipment to have is a fish net, a gaff, or a bridge net if you're fishing from any height. First aid kits aren’t a bad idea, and neither is bug repellant. Make no mistake, few things can ruin a fishing trip like mosquitoes or an accident, even if it’s a small cut.

Even those with boats may want to take advantage of boatless fishing. The cost of fuel nowadays tends to put some of those water-borne trips on the back burner. That doesn’t mean fishing has to go on the back burner, however.

Wherever you are in Florida, if you love to fish, there’s no excuse to not take advantage of all the state has to offer. If you’ve never tried it, it’s time. If you don’t know how, ask the guy at the local tackle shop what’s biting and how to fish for them. It’s to their advantage to help you and most love to. There’s not many who will get rich running a bait and tackle store, so they’re there because they love it, and they love talking about it.

Once you’re there, if you feel lost, ask another fisherman. I don’t think I ever met a fisherman that didn’t want to give up his or her secret tip.

So get out there and wet a line.


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