Skip to Main Content Skip to Main Navigation

Tips From the Pros

Brought to you by:

Take a Kid Fishing

Tournament angler, Host of “One More Cast” and Author of “Bass Master Shaw Grigsby: Notes on Fishing and Life”

Some of my fondest memories are of the times when I went fishing with my parents, children and grandson. As I look back on those memories, it was not the fish that I remember the most, it was the experiences.

The most important thing I have learned about taking a child fishing is to make it their day. If they get to the water and don’t want to fish, that’s okay. Allow the kids to do what they want, ride around in the boat, wade and catch little fish along the bank, or go swimming. When they are ready to fish, they will.

Once you get to fish, let them land the fish, even the ones you hook. Take a minute and look at the fish, its fins, gills and colors. Show them how to gently hold the fish, let it go and watch it swim away or take it home and let them help you prepare it for dinner.

Take time to observe what is going on around you while you fish. Watch for wildlife, you never know what you will see. Fishing is a wonderful way to introduce our children to the outdoors and to begin to teach them how to care for the environment.


Concentration adds to Success and Enjoyment

Master Cinematographer, Author of “Bass Forever”

Concentration and focus are critical aspects of being a good bass fisherman. Casting, boat position and lure selection are all important to getting the bass to strike, but once you’ve got your bait or lure in the water, concentration becomes just as important to your success. You can elevate your fishing dramatically by concentrating on what your are doing and focusing on the environment around you. This is really nothing more than living in the moment and not letting work or home distractions take away from your fishing time.

Glen Lau, one of America’s most accomplished bass photographers and cinematographers, has produced an extraordinary collection of award-winning films and still photographs of bass in its natural environment. Many of his action-packed and highly informative films are available on DVD along with art prints ready for framing from A portion of the sale supports the Florida Bass Conservation Center.


WaltReynolds.psdBass Vegetation Patterns

Bass Touring Pro (retired)

When you grab the family and head to the lake for some weekend fishing, the first question to enter your mind is “where to go.” The hardest part of ensuring a successful trip is finding fish. When going to new waters or areas, unless you have local help, you must be able to read the conditions and available cover to determine where fish are holding that day.

Grass is the prevailing cover in many Florida lakes and knowing the different grasses and why they grow in certain places will go a long way towards finding fish. Most fishermen know that Kissimmee grass, reeds, eel grass and pepper grass are good cover for finding fish. But did you ever wonder why fish seem to like theses grass varieties far better than other grasses? I believe it has more to do with the bottom composition than the actual grass. Bass like a hard, firm bottom rather than a silt or muck bottom. These particular grasses grow only on a hard, sandy or shell bottom. Even though cattails hold fish sometimes, because they often grow in mucky areas, bass will often avoid them.

On your next trip to the lake, notice what aquatic plants are growing in your area, and fish around those that grow on a hard bottom. You will see more fish brought to the boat that way.

RobertMontgomeryMateos 2-08 052 - Copy.psdPatience

author of Better Bass Fishing and Senior Writer for Bass

Be patient. I know that’s difficult to do when you see a spot that’s likely holding a bass. But if you cast all around the area as you approach, you might catch the bass, or, just as likely, you might frighten it and make it more difficult — or even impossible — to catch.

That’s why you should wait until you are in perfect position to make the perfect cast. You want your first cast to provide you with the best opportunity to catch the fish, when it’s just sitting there, waiting for a meal to swim by.

DonMinchew.psdBig Cats

Catfish Tournament Organizer and angler

Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish are now one of the top predator fish in the river system. In order to catch them during the day, I recommend fishing close to structures or mouths of sloughs and creeks that dump into the river. For late afternoon or night, fishing off sand bars is usually the best. I prefer fishing with a 3/0 to 4/0 reel and a medium to heavy rod with 4 to 8 ounce lead rigged Carolina style or a 3-way (grouper rig) and 40 to 60 pound test line. To catch larger ones, I use hand size live bait with a 4/0 to 6/0 hook. Smaller ones can be caught on worms, crawfish, shiners, or other live baits.

Blue Cats

The blue cat is a scavenger catfish. I recommend you fish current breaks and mouths of sloughs where you have multiple streams of water coming together. Cut bait is my bait of choice. I prefer mullet entrails or the head and entrails of an oily type bait fish, such as freshwater skipjack, shad or bream. I use a 2/0 to 3/0 reel with a 7 feet long medium to heavy action rod, along with 30 to 40 pound test line, 1 to 2 ounce sinker and a 3/0 to 6/0 hook based on the size of the bait.


Roland Martin FLFW.psdClear Water Crankbaits on Heavy Tackle

Legendary Angler and TV Host

In clear water, you’ll often need light line to attract bass when crankbait fishing. To most people, this means light tackle. During the last few years, however, I’ve developed a system of fishing crankbaits combining light line and heavy tackle. I know that sounds strange, but I don’t always do conventional things; you can fish 10-pound line on gear other than light tackle. With enough practice, you’ll develop a feel for fishing light line on a big 71⁄2-foot flipping stick with a high-speed reel, for example.

This setup gives me several advantages over the lighter type of rod used by most crankbait fishermen out there. The longer rod allows me to make longer casts than more conventional, shorter casting rods and the flipping stick enables me to set the hook faster and harder from a considerable distance. If you’re using a 5-foot wimpy casting rod and a 5-pound bass hits your lure from about 70 feet away, it’s a real chore to set the hook: that wimpy rod will only give you about 2 pounds of pressure and the line will have some stretch to it. Under those conditions, you can’t control a 5- pound bass at all. Again, with enough practice, you will develop a feel for just how much pressure you can apply with the big rod to the light line without breaking off.

Return to the home page
Brought to you by:
Conservation Partner Advertisements: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission allows appropriate advertising in its annual regulation guides in print and online, in order to defray or eliminate expenses to the state, and support enhanced communications with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Constituents. Through a unique partnership with J.F.Griffin Publishing, LLC &, ‘Conservation Partners’ have been established that pay for advertising in support of the regulations both in print and online. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission neither endorses products or services listed or claims made; nor accepts any liability arising from the use of products or services listed. Advertisers interested in the Conservation Partners program should contact J.F.Griffin/ directly at 413-884-1001,
This is not the full law. Consult the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for further details. All persons are reminded that the statutes, code and regulations are the legal authorities.
JF Griffin Media
J.F. Griffin Media reaches 9,000,000 sportsmen every year through our print and digital publications. We produce 30 hunting and fishing regulation guides for 15 state agencies. For advertising information, please visit: