Planning a flats fishing expedition? Here are some tips from shallow water skiff specialists:
- Seagrass meadows: If you’re fishing in the Florida flats, you’ll be familiar with the abundant meadows of seagrass that thrive in warm shallow waters. These fragile ocean lawns are home to rich ecosystems and are protected by federal and state laws, so it’s important to prevent your boat and propeller from damaging them. Try keeping at least a foot of depth between your boat’s propeller and the top of the seagrass and stay aware of the tides as they recede.
- Fishing licenses: Different regions throughout the world have different fishing requirements, licenses and permits to catch certain fish at certain times of year. Always check with the authorities in the area when you’re in the planning stages of your trip so that you can ensure you’re getting legal access to the best fishing.
- Changing weather: Although shallow water fishing means that you’re closer to shore, the weather still plays a significant part in the pleasure and safety of your trip. Keep your radio tuned to fishing weather updates, make sure you have the necessary safety equipment for each person on board and keep an eye on the horizon. If you don’t know the area well, speak to local anglers for tips on staying weather-safe.
- Speed: Shallow water fishing is about maneuvering slowly and carefully into an environment where fish are likely to be found, so don’t power through vegetation or fallen branches. Drift or pole where you can and turn off any loud electronics to avoid spooking the fish.
- Opportunities: Sight is the most important factor in a successful shallow water fishing experience, as it’s all about spotting new opportunities. Polarized sunglasses are a must for protecting your vision and making spotting fish easier. Having a variety of baits and lures on hand is also vital for taking advantage of different fishing locations and game.