The term plug refers to hard body bait that is tied to the end of a line. As we say it Plug fishing is second to none in the backcountry during the low light hours, especially top water plugs. We use certain plugs such a Lucky Craft, Rover, Mirror Lure and the infamous Heddon. I believe all saltwater fly fishing guides are also plug fisherman. (Or should be) It is so productive at first light and the hours leading up to sunset. It’s one of those things that you have to see to believe, the aggressive strikes that insure from the imitation of a wounded baitfish get the blood boiling early! Just like fooling a big game fish with fibers tied on a hook, I love fooling them with plugs and they seem to be irresistible sometimes. My consistent trophies still come from big plugs and you can cover a lot of ground with them as well. Sometimes we throw them in areas to see if the fish are active and we switch to the fly when we see the strikes occur.
All types of fish will readily eat a plug in South West Florida. Snook, Redfish, Tarpon, Trout, Jack, Bluefish will all eat a top water plug at any time. For me watching a Redfish “shoulder” up on a plug in shallow water is the best sight there is when it comes to plug fishing. Their mouths are designed down to be grubbers and they have to bring their whole face out of the water to eat a top water bait, it is very explosive! A top water will also get a tailing redfish’ attention sometimes when nothing else will. Tarpon will take a plug and we have hooked them when we least expect it!
For me Snook is king when it comes to top water plug fishing, the sound a big snook makes when he strikes is like a 20 gauge shotgun going off. There have been some real trophy snook taken while plug fishing; just come see me in turtle bay in the spring…monster snook. Snook just slam it off the top and most of the time you don’t even know they’re on it until the take. Their mouths are designed for plugs, they are designed to eat up and attack food when it swims by…hence the great plug quarry.
Plug fishing is such a great and underrated saltwater sport, I absolutely love it. It does not take as much involvement as fly fishing does and can be nice when you just want to relax with friends…or when we’re trophy hunting! Come see us any time of year for the plug experience of a lifetime!