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SBF Tips: Shallow Water Casting Techniques

SBF Tips: Shallow Water Casting Techniques

By Pete Rosko

It was the first week in March, in the Florida Panhandle, when I was invited to bank fish for largemouth bass. I was advised by my guides that the very best lure was a six-inch plastic worm for this shallow lake, which had a maximum depth of just four feet. I loved fishing plastic worms in my younger days.

However, these younger days are long gone — and I fish much differently now. My three fishing partners all fished plastic worms and I went with my trusty Sonic BaitFish (SBF) 1/10 oz. When the day came to an end, the SBF caught more fish than all of the plastics. I stopped counting after forty bass, ranging in size between 2- and 4-pounds, plus one almost two-pound bream (bluegill).

There are several distinct advantages to casting a Sonic BaitFish as opposed to a plastic worm. The SBF covers more water for one, but there’s also no swallowed hooks and a greater variety of fish are capable of being caught. Despite its small size, the 1/10 oz. version of the SBF can catch large fish because of its flash and vibration.

How to increase your catch rate when casting in shallow water

These are my time-proven tips to dramatically increase your catch rate when casting a Sonic BaitFish in shallow water from the shoreline, in a boat or to fish near surface in deep water. Once the angler becomes proficient with this shallow water casting technique, no other technique will be so consistently effective, especially in calm, clean water for a great variety of fresh and saltwater species.

Shallow water casting equipment

  1. This is a finesse technique that requires finesse equipment. This means no heavy lures, line, rods or reels. And as always, be sure to keep a sharp hook point!
  2. Use the smaller (lightest) lure to effectively reach your target fish or structure. Lighter lures sink slow than heavier lures. You need the lure to be fished closer to the surface with the slowest possible sink rate. Some of your fishable water depths will be as shallow as one foot.
  3. Only fish with braided mainline, not monofilament, as it will increase sensitivity and casting distance. Using 6- to 8-lb. braid is an excellent choice when fishing a SBF 1/10 oz.
  4. When it comes to rods, spinning rods that are lightweight, durable and sensitive are the best to use with this technique. An excellent choice is a 6-ft. Mag-Light G. Loomis spinning rod. Another choice is a 6-ft. medium-action spinning rod with a fast-action tip. Whippy (“noodle”) rods are a poor choice for fishing artificial lures.
  5. As for reels, match your spinning reel size to the size of the rod — lightweight with a smooth drag. Saltwater reels will serve you better in saltwater.
  6. With leaders, you’ll want to use 1 ½- to 2-feet of fluorocarbon leader attached to your braided mainline with a double uni-knot*. A wide bend duo-lock snap is then attached to the leader’s terminal end. Longer leader can be used for rods longer than 6-feet. Maximum leader strength should not exceed 14-lbs. when fishing 1/10 or 1/6 oz. SBF.

    * Since line twist is usually not a problem with braided line, eliminate all extra hardware by not adding a swivel between the leader and the mainline.

Three Sequence Casting Technique in shallow water

The Three-Sequence Casting Technique with the Sonic BaitFish is most effective with casting with the snap attached to the nose of the SBF.

  1. After casting, do a slow and steady retrieve as soon as your lure hits the water with rod held high, especially in shallower water. The Sonic BaitFish swims naturally like a live minnow.
  2. After casting, do a fast and steady retrieve as soon as your lure hits the water. The lure should be swimming, and gurgling, as it’s skipped over the surface. This is deadly when fish are active near the surface, especially just before dusk.
  3. After casting, swim-jig the lure on the retrieve with your rod held high in the shallow water. Don’t let the Sonic BaitFish strike bottom if it’s snaggy. This is a deadly imitation of an injured shad as the SBF flutters backwards.

Effective Sonic BaitFish colors and rigging for shallow water casting

A Sonic BaitFish 1/10 oz. Silver/Blue is a very effective lure for this shallow water technique during bright days as light flashes off its shiny body. Switch to Chartreuse/Glow White on darker days.

Larger Sonic BaitFish are used for longer casts to active near-surface fish over deeper water.

Never attach heavy line, or heavy leader, directly to the SBF. This will reduce the lure’s action. Use the wide-bend duo-lock snap, which comes packaged with the SBF, or use a loop knot instead.

When windy, always try to cast downwind to eliminate a bow in your line for better feel and control of your lure. Strong winds make finesse fishing with small lures very difficult. Calm winds work best to product good results.

As always, thank you for being a subscriber to the Mack Attack Magazine. I hope some of these Sonic BaitFish tips lead to more productive and enjoyable trips when fishing shoreline water.

— Capt. Pete Rosko

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