The One-Two Punch to Catch More Fish in the Summertime

the finest saltwater skiff

Hell’s bay boatworks


written by staff writer

Capt. C. A. Richardson finally links up in Anclote, Florida with a fellow fisherman he has been wanting to get on the water with for over a year. Capt. Cory Palmer is a third generation fisherman who strayed from the family’s commercial fishing routes to be a guide, about nine years ago. In this new episode of Flats Class, the two hammer reds while C.A. describes the perfect one-two punch guaranteed to land tons of fish in the summertime.

In this episode of Flats Class the redfish bite was hot. The Hell’s Bay skiff proved to be their perfect asset for fishing in very shallow water in the summer. C.A. will be the first to tell ya, “The thing that really made the difference… was to float in nine inches of water, and catch the fish.” Historically when it gets hot later in the day and you have not caught anything by 10:00am its highly unlikely you’ll catch anything. The two captains used two different techniques when the elements were working against them.

“1. Power Fishing”

The first of these C.A. calls “power fishing” which he describes as using spoons and top water baits. Richardson describes how most people have forgotten about traditional baits like spoons. “Overall, spoon fishing has become a forgotten deal. Folks just don’t spoon fish anymore.” Richardson says, “I mean so many manufacturers make these slick life-like plastics, and hard baits - people have gotten away from traditional baits that really produce, like the spoon.” He calmly states this simple fact while polling Palmer to hook up with a giant red on a spoon.

You can just ease in there, like smoke blowing under a door - the hell’s bay marquesa is really good at that.
— C.A. Richardson

C.A. says to try and find and work the mullet schools. “If you can just ease in there, like smoke blowing under a door - and the Hell’s Bay Marquesa is really good at that.” he describes how you can work the mullet really easily and the fish that are moving within that mullet school are very opportunistic. “So if you can get a spoon, or topwater, or suspending plug in there - you’re probably going to score.” Richardson and Palmer were successful with this as one of the guides would poll in the shallow water sneaking up on the tailing reds. They explain how the trick is to find an area of mullet and quietly and carefully poll around while looking for zones to cast into.

we might be a mile and a half offshore [crushing fish], and we’re in a flats boat.
— C.A. Richardson

“2. Finesse Fishing” aka “Dead-sticking”

Even though C.A. recommends using spoons as in most situations like this in the summer, when situations get really tough he recommends drop-shot baits. They used a lot of different drop-shot baits including the self deemed “Flats Class Rig.” What C.A. adds below these drop baits is a half ounce bait sinker about eighteen inches below it. This allowes him to make a much longer cast. The bouyancy of the elaztech material floats nice and level and sometimes will even tail-up. “Often times the redfish will come up, take a hold of the bait and swim away with it.” C.A. explains, “When the fish feels the drag or weight of the bait sinker through the grass, he freaks out and literally sets the hook on himself.” This finesse technique worked fantastic for Palmer and Richardson.

See how this perfect combination of having one fisherman “power fishing” and the other “finesse fishing” worked for Richardson and Palmer in Flats Class S13:E9 “Summertime”