Tackle and Techniques
I employ spinning, baitcasting, and fly equipment on my Sarasota bass fishing charters, depending on the baits we are using and angler preference. Spinning tackle is the most versatile and is used the most. Baitcasting outfits are a good choice when casting heavier plugs or in the hands of experienced clients. In both cases, braided line is used, due to the abrasion resistant qualities along with casting distance. Fly anglers will do well with a 7wt-9wt combo with a floating line. All equipment is provided but clients are certainly welcome to bring along their favorite rod!
Casting plugs is my preferred method for catching bass, as well as snook. Plugs allow an angler to cover a lot of water, elicit explosive strikes, and the hook-up ratio is good. I prefer Rapala baits and keep a wide selection on the boat. Topwater baits are productive and exciting early and late in the day and during overcast conditions, while diving plugs do best during brighter times. Spinnerbaits are also effective and are very easy to use; white is my favorite color. Soft plastic baits can be extremely productive, particularly when bass are less active and once a school is located. I primarily use the Bass assassin line of baits; they offer a myriad of styles and colors. The Boss shiner is a deady swim bait that is both effective and easy for inexperienced clients to fish.
Fly anglers are most certainly welcome on charters and will score with a popping bug, Closer Minnow, or Deceiver. This is actually fairly easy fishing with only short casts being required. A 7wt or 8wt outfit with a floating, weight-forward line is the best choice. I provide Orvis tackle but clients are certainly welcome to bring their own rods if they prefer. Most lakes are fairly shallow and bass will bite early and late on topwater poppers as well as under overcast conditions.
When fishing lakes I like to cast plugs early and late in the day, especially topwater baits. Spinnerbaits are effective during periods of bright sun and are excelent baits to locate feeding bass. Soft plastic lures are used when the bite is tough or once decent numbers of fish are located. Most of the water in Myakka Lake is quite shallow, while Lake Manatee has water up to 25' deep. River fishing is a bit different; I like to keep moving and cover as much water as possible. For this style of fishing, a shallow diving plug suck as the Rapala X-Rap or BX Minnow is tough to beat. They have built-in action and the strikes are easy to identify. Casting the Bass Assassin boss shiner can also be productive.