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 Tom, who asks: “As a retiree who has relocated to Florida, how can I get a jump-start on learning how to fish this new water?”
A great question, and an easy answer: hire an accomplished guide. Sure, you can slug it out yourself and learn the ropes in time, and yes, guided trips can be expensive. But if you’re earnest about learning how to fish Florida’s shallow salt, a guide who knows his stuff can significantly flatten out your learning curve. Good guides are patient and liberal with advice, and if you take the time to listen, you’ll leave the dock at the end of the day with a wealth of valuable insight. Just remember: fishing guides rely on hard-earned secret spots for their livelihood, so don’t return to target the areas they show you. Have the courtesy – and the personal pride – to find your own. If you can’t afford a guide or you prefer to do it all on your own, there are scores of books that do a good job of covering the basics. In fact, here at Shallowfish we’ll soon be offering “The Redfish & Snook Book”, a concise, no-nonsense tool that will cover the most important aspects of the sport, including tides, weather, lure and bait-fishing, and much more. It will make an ideal gift for aspiring skinny-water anglers.