3 Great Artificial Baits To Catch Snook, Redfish, And More

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written by staff writer

Winter happens, even in the Florida Keys, and it helps to know what tackle to use when the days are shorter and the wind picks up.

Capt. C. A. Richardson considers the Keys a second home and he recommends three baits from a January fishing trip near Islamorada. A world-class fishing destination, the flats in the Keys can lead you to tuna, bonefish, permit, tarpon and snook among other worthy species. Is that it? Absolutely not. (Why You Should Fish in the Florida Keys)

Casting against the morning wind, Richardson liked a BTB jig from Z-Man with a twin chartreuse trailer. Their patented ElaZtech plastic gives it a lot of action, he said, but that’s not all he liked about them.

I’m not looking for the buoyancy nearly as much as I’m looking for the swimming action. When I was blind casting, this was an excellent choice.
— C.A. Richardson
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When the afternoon brought more light, he switched up to a Z-Man scented 4" Dark N' Stormy Jerk Shadz. 

This is an excellent color. Don’t overlook it.

Saving the best for last, the Captain pulled out a blue crab color TRD 4-inch bait, which he described as “what saved the day.”

You can make this bait sub walk underneath the water.
You can finesse fish by dragging it or gently hopping it along the bottom.
— C.A. Richardson

Richardson said it makes an excellent target bait that lands softly.

It looks so natural under the water the way it swims. You can let it shimmy down to the bottom of a hole and let it hop a few times like a shrimp . . . a deadly bait.
— C.A. Richardson
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Who said January had to be a depressing month? If you’re in the flats with the right bait, it can be like any other month for fishing. If your second home is in the Keys, or honestly anywhere and anytime of year.

Watch Flats Class S13:E2, “Keys Combo,” to see C.A.'s second home: the Keys. Two days fishing flats, and not-so-flats in his Hell’s Bay.

S13:E2 - “Keys Combo”