Each month I field a question from a reader and answer it as best I can, focusing on those inquiries and responses that I believe will be of general benefit or interest. I recently received this email from Dean in New Jersey, who asks: “John, I’ve been fishing for striped bass for most of my life, and I’ll soon be taking my first trip down to fish the Everglades. Can you tell me what kind of tackle I need to bring, and which lures to buy? I’m primarily a spin-fisherman.”
Dean, I’ve been lucky enough to fish the Cape Cod area a few times with a buddy, and I’ve caught stripers there using the same tackle and some of the same lures I use for snook and redfish down here. So, assuming you use relatively light equipment for striped bass, the tackle you own should suffice. I use 2500/3000 reels spooled with 10 lb. braided line and 6′-6″, fast action rods for most of my Everglades trips, so tackle in that rough size range will do the trick. Accuracy when casting to structure is important down here, so lighter tackle provides a decided advantage. If you have soft baits, bring ’em. Soft plastics (which are often used to imitate eels up there) work just as well on snook/reds as they do stripers and blues, though in smaller sizes. Use them unweighted and weedless. Does seem like striped bass plugs (which are designed to bring fish up from deeper, rougher water) are often considerably larger than the lures we use in the Glades, so you’ll want to downsize across the board for a more subtle presentation.
Hope that helps. I thoroughly enjoy my trips to fish the Northeastern coast, which is foreign water to this Florida native. I’m sure you’ll find the Glades equally exotic. Let me know how you do.