"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Light Tackle Angling for Salt Water Fish
Copyright © 2002 by Bill Scifres

After I have taken a fishing vacation to the seashore, the questions Hoosier anglers ask most often revolve around the effectiveness of light tackle in angling for salt water fish. 

"Should I take my light tackle," Hoosiers ask me, "how about the ultra-light stuff?" 

Let me put it like this. On a recent day I stood on the rail of the Hatteras Fishing Pier at Frisco, N.C., a few yards from two ladies. I could not tell from whence they came, but they obviously were not local anglers. One used a little five-foot ultra-light outfit which she eventually broke (in a fit of poor judgment) when her bottom rig was hooked solid into something that did not swim. 

The other used a spinning rod that I would have called nothing heftier than medium-bass. 

They were baiting with smallish chunks of fresh shrimp on two-hook bottom rigs (the same as most of the other 200 or so anglers on the pier). The comparison ended there. They were caching more fish than most other anglers on the pier, including yours truly. 

Both used four-ounce sinkers which I was throwing on a light, eight-foot rod designed to handle four-to-five ounces, not counting the bottom rig and the bait. They were putting their baits out as far as I was. They couldn't "wham" it out there like I could. But by using an underhand pendulum cast, hey put their baits where they wanted them. 

So why were they out fishing me (yes, that is an admission)? Because the wave action seemed to affect their ability to keep in touch with their bait less than it did my heftier tackle and line. 

In short, they knew better than I, when they were getting a bite. 

So, YES! Do, indeed, take your light, "fish-at-home" tackle to the ocean. Sure, you will break those light lines now and again, and no doubt be a cutoff victim occasionally. But you will have a ball telling about the ones that got away. 


ON SOUND 'N SURF--For many years on my annual summer visits to North Carolina's famed Outer Banks (Avon is my choice), I have used ultra light and light bass/bluegill tackle for certain species under certain conditions. 

When the water warms in the summer, light tackle is especially good for pompano when they are in the last breaker (almost at your feet). 

For this fishing, I use a quarter-ounce jig head (the flat jig head Dan Gapen uses on his Ugly Bug is excellent for sliding along the bottom). I dress the otherwise bare hook with a piece of fresh shrimp the size of the first joint of a finger. 

With breakers coming at a rate of seven per minute (one big one), if I am knee-deep in the surf, I am often fighting a fish that is behind me. Tricky business, that pompano fishing. 

I also use my light spinning gear (with the same terminal gear and bait) for wading to the potholes and channels in the shallow sound. But in the sound, you may tangle with anything. 


All columns are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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