Over the years, the number one feature that I have relied on with my GPS is the charts themselves. I’d often put GPS points in where the head of a channel is, we would save our runs in when we had low visibility. Through the years it has constantly been improving and now we have Florida Marine Tracks. There is so much detail, every marker in the Everglades, every detail in the shallow water and they have even drawn in running lines.
One of the key elements to having a soft, dry, comfortable boat ride on the water is trimming your boat efficiently. Starting off the boat is trimmed all the way down, that will help us get on plane quickly. Once we get up to about 30mph we will start to trim the motor up and there is a sweet spot there when you get the trim perfectly.
As a fishing guide you have to really protect yourself from the sun - if you are outside every day you have to be very careful. It used to be Zinc-Oxide Sunscreen, you would see guides cover themselves completely with this stuff to avoid sunburn. But one time I was guiding and I had a customer come and say his wife bought him this thing and he let me try it on. It was a Buff Multifunctional Headgear and within minutes of putting it on I know it was a game changer.
Towing our boats all around the Keys and all over the US. Over the years we have had some issues with our trailers and recently we found Ameratrail and they really take care of our most expensive toy. They upgraded this year and made their great product, even better. The axel has sealed ball bearings which is guaranteed to be maintenance free for 5 years.
If you only had one reel to fish with, what would it be? When fishing for redfish, snook, bonefish, small tarpon and jacks I have a go-to outfit. I use a 3 or 4000 size reel, the 4,000 with more line capacity and the 3,000 for a lighter outfit. What I usually look for it one that will be durable and stand up to all kinds of abuse. On a charter boat the reels are going to get stepped on and dropped, they will get salt all over them.
Braided line has revolutionized inshore saltwater fishing. The thin diameter and extreme strength enables us to use lighter tackle to cast farther and fight bigger fish than ever before.
Over the years my preference for braided lines has changed as technology has continued to evolve. I am confident that the new Daiwa J Braid is my favorite braided line to date. The line is made with eight strands braided together to form a perfectly round profile. This is important to the performance as it really seems to help avoid tangles while being able to cast farther. In addition, this line seems to be the strongest line per diameter that I have ever used. Check out this chart from the Daiwa J Braid Website that compares traditional monofilament diameter and strength to J Braid:
10 lb test braid is the diameter of 2.5 lb test monofilament. 15 is the same as 4 lb and 20 is the same diameter as 6 lb test mono. The diameter is important to me because I can cast farther than ever before. I can also use much smaller reels and much lighter tackle than it used to require to fish for the same fish. For situations that I was using a 5000 size reel I am now quite confident in using a Daiwa Saltist 3000. The difference in weight and castability is big for me but a game-changer for a little kid. Tackle that is easy to handle and lightweight results in kids being more comfortable in fishing situations and they tend to stick with it longer.
I like that the line comes in several colors. Traditionally, I have preferred dark green, but I am coming around to the light blue shade. I like to think that our inshore saltwater fish may think it looks like the sky. I guess if cast properly, the fish would never see the line but I am confident in the dark green as being pretty invisible and from my experience lately, the light blue seems to do an equal job.
The most common question I receive is about knots with braided line. “How do you tie braided line to fluorocarbon?” I find that all my favorite knots work just fine with Daiwa J Braid and I haven’t needed to alter anything.
Here are videos of my top 3 braid to fluorocarbon knots:
Let me know if you have any other questions about braided line. Happy to help, and feel free to leave a comment.
If you are interested in purchasing Saltist reels, I suggest going to Bass Pro. Here is a link for easy reference:
See you on the water,
St Croix is known the world over for producing some of the highest quality rods on Earth. Did you know that they also produce some of the best fly rods?
The new St Croix Sole is a unique idea in fly rods. It is a 2 piece fly rod, but the breakdown is unusual. The tip section is where the rod breaks down and the rest of the rod remains a one piece. This is a cool concept for the fisherman that fishes both fly and spin because when you break down the rod, the one piece portion is the same length as all the spinning rods. It is easily transported along with all the other rods.
As a charter guide you need a go to spinning reel. A battle-axe that can handle anything but is durable enough to stand up to the abuse that customers can sometimes inflict when the equipment is not their own. A spinning reel like this has to also be affordable because charter guides are going to routinely buy a bare minimum of 6 and most guides have about 20 in rotation.