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May 09, 2011

Andy Hahn

Taking time to bridle-rig squid results in a more natural presentation, whether the bait's trolled, pitched or -- for broadbills -- drifted deep
Baitmasters of South Florida, 6911 NE 3rd Ave., Miami, FL 33138; 800-639-2248Bluewater Trolling Baits, 261 N. Alternate A1A, Suite B, Jupiter, FL 33477; 800-588-3001Calcutta Baits, 300 Dunbar Ave., Suite 100, Oldsmar, FL 34677; 813-855-3450U.S. Bait Corporation, 300 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Suite 911, Miami, FL 33131; 888-872-2481Willie's Custom Trolling Baits, 220 U.S. Highway One, Lake Park, FL 33403; 561-848-4484
A short list of natural bait rigging's must-haves.
The how-to of building a stiff rig with bonito strips.
Tampa Bay's variety forces anglers to make tough decisions every day.
"My charters typically begin just after sunset. I'll fish all night, then head back to the boat ramp when an orange glow appears in the east. Otherwise, I may turn to dust," says Capt. Dave Pomerleau, a.k.a., the "Mad Snooker." Pomerleau has been guiding the Tampa Bay area for eight years, fishing only at night because snook follow predominantly nocturnal feeding patterns. "The bigger ones are more active after dark," he says, "and I usually have the water to myself." On his best night, Pomerleau's two anglers released 133 linesiders.
It's no secret that tossing live chum into a pothole or other likely area stokes predatory instincts and puts snook in a feeding mood, making them more likely to strike lures and baits. But restricted range limits the technique's effectiveness, especially in shallow or clear water if a boat gets too close to spooky fish. After all, how far can you toss a handful of slippery sardines? Capt. Chet Jennings, tired of nursing a sore "pitching" arm, came up with a way to toss live chum farther all day without dislocating his shoulder.
Avoid the extra cost of buying black circle hooks for tuna.
Fisht your Fish, not your tackle by using the proper rod belt.
Your hook's mettle depends on its metal.
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