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tidal creek

7 Tips to Make You a Better Inshore Angler

By Mikayla St Clair

When it comes to fishing, some of us started when we were little. Others have picked up the sport over time. Reeling in that big one comes from skill and a bit of luck, and specific types of fishing, such as inshore saltwater fishing, call for extra skills. If you want to boost your skillset, following these seven tips can make you a better inshore angler on your next fishing trip.

Know Tidal Movements

When inshore fishing, you need to understand how the tidal movements affect your target species. When the tide is incoming, oyster bars and mangroves become ideal spots for finding baitfish and gamefish. However, when the tide is going out, baitfish tend to drop back into passes and channels. You'll want to be in each area at the same time as the bait because actively feeding gamefish will follow the movements of their forage. Check local tide charts before heading out and track them with your phone while you are on the water.

Use Polarized Sunglasses

Ask veteran anglers, and they'll tell you that polarized sunglasses are an absolute must to stay on top of your game. These sunglasses are produced with a special lens technology that essentially works to cut through the glare created by the sun. This is perfect for being able to spot fish below the surface and to see bait and fish-holding features like oyster bars and grass beds. Just one look through polarized lenses and you'll be sold on getting a pair for your next inshore fishing trip.

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Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper

October is About Change

October can be an outstanding fishing month, with fish of many kinds keying on baitfish congregations and instinctively feeding heavily in preparation for leaner times. Some species school during October, and topwater fishing commonly delivers major excitement.

That said, October has its challenges, with the largest one probably being the fact that conditions change dramatically during the month and sometimes from day to day. Many predator and prey species are in transition, working toward winter locations, so the location of the gamefish tends to be a moving target. As significantly, the fish’s locations and behavior can shift dramatically from day to day or even within a day when an early cold front crashes through.

Change isn’t bad. You simply must understand that change is likely and must set strategies accordingly.

Because the fish are on the move, often following forage, it’s typically prudent to spend time searching before you start fishing. Look for baitfish schools, both visually on the surface and with electronics. Whether you’re talking about shad or herring in reservoirs or mullet or bunker in bays or the ocean, if you find a bunch of bait, that is a major step toward finding the fish you want to catch. Pay attention to specific areas and characteristics of areas where you find the most baitfish.

Also think about transition zones. Because water color, water temperature and barometric pressure change quickly and frequently during October, fish make heavy use of structures like points and reefs that connect deep and shallow habitat, especially structures they can readily move up and down when conditions change. In the brine, passes that connect inside waters with the ocean are important October transition zones.

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Pop-R, One Knocker Spook Crazy Shad, Pad Crasher

Autumn Topwater

Any time you can tie on a lure in the morning and fish it confidently all day, that’s a good thing. Make that a topwater lure that prompts violent attacks, and a good thing becomes a great thing!

Welcome to autumn.

Moderating water temperatures, an instinctive drive to “feed up” before winter and shallow congregations of shad and other forage species make bass active and prompt them to look high in the water column this time of year. Surface lures get their attention and prompt strikes all day long.

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Bomber 15A Long A, Bone

Bad to the Bone

Bad to the Bone

“Bone, of course.”

Even if the words, “of course,” aren’t stated, they are implied in the answer any time you ask a Bone enthusiast what color is producing.

Strikingly simple, highly visible and fabulous for suggesting the whitish flash of many forage fish species, the lure color “Bone” transcends being a good color in the minds of many anglers. For certain applications – like waking a Bomber Long A across a slick-calm surface – Bone is seen by many as the only color.

Beyond a Long A, other baits that Bone owns among certain anglers include several classic topwater lures. Heddon Spooks in various models, Rebel Jumpin’ Minnows, Cotton Cordell Pencil Poppers and Bomber Badonk-A-Donks all have core users who choose Bone over anything else because it offers great visibility from a below in a broad range of conditions and looks like dinner (and, most importantly, because it produces fish!)

Bandit Series 100, Series 200 and Series 300 crankbaits, Bandit Rack-Its and Bomber Long Shots are among the most popular sub-surface lures in Bone.

Two brand new Cotton Cordell Red-Fin colors, Pale Perch and Bone Appetit, are painted on a Bone base, providing Classic Bone visibility and appeal as a backdrop to natural color patterns.

Bone, although productive year ‘round, works extra well during autumn, when shad congregate and migrate shallow in reservoirs and saltwater baitfish of various kinds push close to beaches, opening frenzied fishing opportunities for everything from stripers to bluefish to tarpon.

How about you? In what situations, do you insist on Bone, and what species do you expect to catch?

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Super Spook, Sonar, Bandit 200, Thin N, BOOYAH Spinnerbait, Super Spot

Shad Time


See surface dimples, scattered splashes or water that appears dark in areas from hordes of baitfish swimming just beneath the surface? You could be close to tapping into excellent autumn fishing action.

Late in the summer, shad congregate in massive schools, and as summer begins giving way to autumn, those schools begin moving predictably into tributary arms of reservoirs and eventually onto shallow flats well up creek and river arms.

Not surprisingly, where thousands of shad gather, feeding bass are typically nearby. Although some fish will continue to relate to crawfish, bluegills or other forage and can be caught various ways, there is no more dependable way to find and catch bass this time of year than to locate shad schools and use lures that “match the hatch.”

Because the shad play such an important part during fall, it is prudent to spend time searching out the biggest baitfish concentrations before making a cast. A reservoir’s largest creek arms typically attract the biggest schools, which show up first near creek mouths and work their way back as the season progresses. Sometimes you need electronics to find the bait. Often, you will spot little rings on top when the shad roll or will see the shad themselves if they are high in the water column and the water is reasonably clear. Other times, bass pushing shad on the surface will give away the bait and the bass.



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Smithwick Rogue Bomber 15A

Big Walleyes from the Bank

Better from the bank?

Many areas provide quality fishing access to anglers who don’t own boats. Often, though, these seem like bonuses, where shoreline anglers “also” can enjoy fine opportunities. The fall walleye night bite contrasts this notion. In many places bank fishing or is substantially better than boat fishing and provides outstanding big-fish opportunities.

On autumn nights walleyes push surprisingly shallow to feed. Moving tight to the shore in many lakes and onto bars at the heads of holes in river, they get in spots that would be difficult to work effectively from most boats and where navigation could be treacherous after hours. Anglers who work from the shore, or occasionally by shallow wading, but still on foot, can fish key zones very thoroughly.

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New from Norman Lures - Speed N

Norman Lures Introduces Speed N

Norman lures’ newest crankbait, the Speed N, began proving its worth before it was even released, when limited-production samples produced top 5 finishes at the 2020 Bassmaster Classic for Stetson Blaylock and Micah Frazier.

Designed primarily for cold-water fishing, with a tight wiggle and unique “pitch and roll” action that triggers strikes and sheds vegetation as it swims through developing weed beds, the Speed N proved perfect for the pre-spawn set-up at the Classic, which was held in early March on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville.

This crankbait isn’t only for cold water, though.

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