15 Minutes with: Capt. Shaun ruge
Here’s what we learned…
Tides: Having a strong current is more important to target feeding weakfish, this helps concentrate the fish along strong currents along channel edges. Both ends of the tide will work, but fishing can be slightly better on an outgoing tide.
Approach: The most consistent way to locate weakfish is to begin searching in choke points around the mouths of salt ponds. These areas funnel current through narrow areas and concentrate fish in the drop offs along channel edges. It’s very important to make your approach to these areas quietly. This may require you to approach areas you’d like to fish by running out of the channel and reentering at a 90-degree angle. Weakfish are very skittish and the bite will shut down or the fish will move out of channels when outboards run above them.
Rigging Selection: For a shallow water jigging presentation, The 6/0 Barbarian Series Jig Heads are ideal.
Bait Selection: The Hogy® 7inch Original.
Why this bait? Weakfish feed primarily on sea worms and small bait fish. In the late spring, fish staged near the mouths of salt ponds may be feeding on herring dropping back to the ocean after spawning.
Colors: These salt pond outflows tend to be off-colored and murky; bright colors like bubblegum tend to be most productive in these conditions.
Retrieve: A slow but erratic retrieve will draw the most strikes. As noted earlier, weakfish feed primarily along the bottom so your bait will need to in contact with the bottom to stay in the strike zone.Using the rod tip, quickly bounce the bait along. This will create puffs of mud, which will get the attention of the fish. Strikes from weakfish tend to be very aggressive and unmistakable. Once you feel the tell-tale thump of a strike, quickly drive the Barbarian jig head home for a solid hookup.
Rod: Custom Medium-Fast action 7′ Spinning Rod.
Reel: Shimano Saragosa 6000.
Line: 20lb Suffix 832 Braid
Leader: 20lb Suffix Fluorocarbon