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# 58037: Subject: Aransas Bay, Texas

Submitted by . (ip 24.117.237.148)

  • Fished on 8/28/2009
  • Report received: 8/28/2009

Water Temperature: .
Water Clarity: .
Seas: .
Weather: .
Fishing_for: .
Boat: fishntexas.com
captain: Scott McCune "The Saltwater Cowboy"

Report:
Bay Fishing with Bait 101: Calm Summer Mornings to Windy Afternoons – Croaker & Piggy Perch   3rd of 5 Articles

This is the 3rd in the series of articles written for the average bay fisherman who wants to use bait. I don’t know how many times I’ve been in the bait house on a summer morning and hear a customer ask “What are they biting on?” after which a slow drawl from Ron would follow “Been bite’n on croaker” and an excited “I’ll take a couple of dozen of those!” would shoot out of beginner croaker fisherman’s mouth. I can’t help but wonder what those 24 croaker will go through during the day! Hopefully after reading this article the croaker and the fisherman will have a more pleasant day! For example: a three person charter I’ll take anywhere from 12-18 dozen baits and this could be the difference between 4 fish or 40 fish!   Now some fishermen ask what is best Piggy Perch or Croaker that can be a tricky question. Croaker actually show up at the bait shop earlier (May) than Piggies (June), so that is an easy choice in the beginning of the summer. Wherein lies the problem, determining when and what size the Piggies are when they become productive as fishing bait. I start using piggies as early as possible and sometimes for more than a month after they show up at the bait shop I’m still buying both. Because of their size croaker are stronger swimmers for deeper water but the Piggies doubled up in the shallower sand pockets can be awesome fish catchers!  

  Croaker  - Piggy Perch are NOT Pin Perch and they do NOT catch fish with these techniques, often confused with a true Piggy Perch! - Piggy Perch   Let’s get down to the rigs I prefer when fishing these baits. I always use 20# fluorocarbon leader tied to the main line, I do not use a swivel because I believe it is in the way, snags more grass and is more visible. As with most live bait or lures I use a loop knot at the terminal or hook end.   Leader – Easy, I use only 20# fluorocarbon! The leader length should be about 18” give or take. It should be long enough to were the knot does not have to go through the eye when casting which prevents longer casts.    Hooks – 3/0, 4/0, 5/0 6/0 Gamakatsu or VMC Kahle hooks depending on the size of the bait.   Corks – I predominantly use Cajun Thunders. On lighter wind days the old Mansfield Mauler could be an option too. I even save old corks for those days that the Redfish don’t want a lot of sound!   Cork Colors – I always start with two primary colors, pink and chartreuse. Most of the time you will find Redfish like one and not the other and the same for Trout…however they may be hitting both or you can select the color depending on when you are fishing an area more conducive to the fish you expect to catch.    Knots – I use a line to leader knot instead of a swivel. The only time I use a swivel is when fishing the bait on the bottom using a weight because at times I need a longer casts on the calm shallow flats. I tie a loop knot at the Kahle hook for more realistic movement.   Accessories - Beads are not as important in this type of fishing but can be used. If you’re going to try beads the general rule of thumb is to start with small beads and at least one rig without a bead. Really make sure your buddy’s is fishing the bait properly before ruling out any combination! Sometimes going to a larger bead when the water is very muddy or stirred up makes a difference!   Now that the terminal gear has been laid out it is time to talk about presentation! The cast should be made in an arch and slow the bait down just before it hits the water to make a softer presentation – then allow the bait to swim to the bottom (allow 1 second for every 2 foot of water) otherwise you’ll stress the bait by having to swim against the tight line. Occasionally, especially with a third or forth cast of the same bait you might have to flick your rod tip to wake the bait up to swim down. You’ll probably notice a bird swooping down to get the bait at this point! Darn Birds! Once that bait is down where the fish are you’ll need to flick the rod tip about every 10-15 seconds, this does a combination of things 1) It gets the bait to react so you can tell how lively it is 2) It pulls the bait away from it’s prey thus enticing a strike 3) It will keep the bait from burying in the grass or shell. The flicks are more of just whipping the tip of your rod from a 10 O’clock to 12 O’clock position in a manner that only moves the bait several inches at a time (when doing this on the flats fishing sand pockets you don’t move the bait too much or you grass him up and have to recast).   Hook Set - This style of fishing requires that you feed line to the fish in a manner that he doesn’t detect tension on the line and the perfected Bass angler hook set (Bill Dancing) will lose you a lot of fish! The proper way to hold the rod and set the hook is to:   Spinning Rod 1) Hold a spinning rod at 12 O'clock with a slight bow in the line while waiting on a strike. 2) When you feel the thud of a fish drop the rod tip as the fish is taking the line, remember to keep the same slight bow in the line. If and when the fish stops running with it you must immediately (I mean immediately!) flick the rod tip back to the 12 O’clock position and be ready for it to come back, which it usually will! Sometimes you have to do this 3 or 4 times before he really swallows the Croaker or Piggy and makes the longer run. 3) Reel up to set the hook and when you feel the weight of the fish firmly lift the rod back to the 10 O’clock position. 4) Keep good pressure on the fish to get him up to the surface and into the net, Trout like to shake their heads and regurgitate the bait and if you are fishing the rigs there are a lot of snags if you let the fish stay deep.   Bait Caster 1) Hold a bait casting rod and reel at about 10 O’clock position with a slight bow in the line and be ready to free spool during the run (works better for this type of fishing). 2) When you feel the thud of a fish drop the rod tip as the fishing is taking the line keeping the same slight bow in the line. If and when the fish stops running with it you must immediately (I mean immediately!) flick the rod tip back to the 10 O’clock position and be ready for it to come back, which it usually will! Sometimes you have to do this 3 or 4 times before he really swallows the Croaker or Piggy. 3) Reel up to set the hook and when you feel the weight of the fish firmly lift the rod back to the 10 O’clock position. 4) Keep good pressure on the fish to get him up to the surface and into the net, Trout like to shake their heads and regurgitate the bait and if you are fishing the rigs there are a lot of snags if you let the fish stay deep.   Locations I use Croaker and Piggies when fishing the bay oil rigs, deeper bay oyster reefs, outside bay islands and channels with deep water access to grass in about 3-5 foot of water. I also use these baits on the flats in many capacities such as fishing sand pockets or even right in the grass itself. In the flats on a windy day putting a Piggy 12” – 20” under a Cajun Thunder can be killer when nobody else has had a good bite, keep the bait fresh, they don’t last long casting under a cork (expensive but effective)! I even use a cork sometimes when I’m anchored up fishing pot holes and grass just for something a little different!   Special Techniques Here are some special tips to work these baits in the areas I mentioned, after time you’ll be adding your own special touches that work for you or your fish, whatever the case may be! Double up your small baits in the flats, it keeps them from burying in the grass. Cut the tail on the bigger piggies in the flats so they don’t bury in the grass and they put off a sent. When the bite is slow try varying techniques double your bait (smaller), try piggies, try croaker. Sometimes the Redfish and Flounder love a Piggy/Croaker combo (usually smaller Piggy)! The Piggy doesn’t have to be alive under the popping cork in the flats for Redfish…but I like’em that way. I have caught some great fish on piggies big enough to keep the cork under while fishing in the deeper areas off the flats, especially on busy days that may have pushed the fish off the flats. The Piggy or Croaker have to be lively has hell in the deeper bay; they also must swim toward the bottom! After a morning of Trout fishing in the deeper bay come back to the flats to throw some of your weaker and smaller baits into pot holes for some Redfish action. This is good because they can’t bury in the grass as easy! I never really use croaker under a popping cork but I might try it one day! Use your imagination!   In closing remember that nothing about fishing is set in stone, pay attention, vary your approach and find what works! If fishing gets slow after a couple of good catches I find that the angler gets a little pumped and not letting the fish run enough!   I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and remember if you don’t eat it release it and try to release all big Trout especially over 25”…get a picture it will last longer, preserve some fish for our kids!    Fish More, Live Longer! Capt. Scott McCune ____________________________________________ Capt. Scott McCune (USCG Master) fishntexas.com with 'The Saltwater Cowboy' 361.563.TUNA(8862)cell Email: scott@fishntexas.com Web Page: www.fishntexas.com <*}}}}}>((( <*}}}>(( <*}}}>((  

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