Rig. Punch. Swing.

CovertMatt

Florida summers are nothing short of brutal. Ten hours of blazing hot sun and a likely shower or thunderstorm to top it off. Believe it or not though, you can catch some giant bass. 

Matted vegetation is a sure fire way to string together a hefty sack of fish. I'll have 5 rods on hand at any given time during the summer months. Three of which specifically rigged for pitching and punching. Two other tools that come in handy are a Toad or weedless topwater bait and a Texas rigged senko. 

I'll be sure to hit the sparse cover and outside edges of mats with the toad and follow up any short strikes or misses with the senko. As for punching goes, i prefer multiple setups to cover all my needs. Matted vegetaion wont always be the same density; therefore, having several rods rigged is a must. 

ill always have three rods on deck. first, a 7'6" heavy action Halo paired with a Shimano Curado and a 1oz tungsten weight from Mathead Tackle. (matheadtackle.com). Next i have a 7'11" heavy action Omen Black again paired with the Curado and a 1.25oz. Lastly, i have the meat stick- a 7'6" extra heavy Halo and a 1.5oz. 

Bait selection will vary but keeping it simple seems to work the best. A black/blue creature bait is a good start. 

Riggin' for Lunker Largemouth

Carolina Rigging soft plastics is one of my favorite ways to catch bass. The great thing about it is you can employ this technique year round, in all depths of water, day or night, in any water clarity, on any body of water. Selecting the proper equipment and making the rig is key to one’s success when using this presentation.

My go-to setup for this technique is an Omen Black 7’3” heavy casting rod, paired with a Shimano Curado HG geared in 6.3:1. Line diameter will vary but as a general rule I fish 15-17 lb Seaguar Fluorocarbon. 

The added length in the rod helps with longer casting distance as well as being able to handle a long leader (as much as 4 feet in some scenarios). On a long cast, a lengthier rod will make for a better hook set as well due to the fact that more line is moved with a single swing of the rod.

CaptainMattRigging.jpg

The high speed reel helps to gain control over the fish on those long casts, especially with the stretch that fluorocarbon has when compared to braid. It’s merely personal preference, but a 7.2:1 or similar will also work efficiently.

As for terminal tackle goes, I run quality tungsten weights from matheadtackle (matheadtackle.com), a Spro barrel swivel and an ultra sharp 3/0 round bend hook from Gamagatsu. The Palomar knot, or better yet, a Doubled Clinch knot will secure these components.

There are many exceptions to weight selection; current, line diameter, finesse approach, water depth, etc., but in most instances 3/8oz-3/4oz will work effectively.

I prefer a tungsten bead compared to glass. Glass tends to crack and form sharp edges. That’s the last thing you want rubbing on your line! 

Leader length will vary upon conditions, but most of the time 16-24 inches will do the trick. In moving water the longer the better. Sometimes a 3 or 4 foot leader is needed allow the bait to swing through the strike zone more freely. 

Bait choice is easy… texas rig your favorite soft plastic! I prefer all variations of the floating worm, ribbontail, creature bait or craw style baits. 

This presentation is deadly on a shellbar or along a grassline. Luckily, Florida natural lakes tend to have plenty of both! 

So, if your ready to add a new technique to your arsenal, tie up a Carolina Rig and give it a try. The more you fish it, the more you won’t be able to put it down. 

Until next time, tight lines and good fishin’

-Captain Matt

Hooked

Back in 2013 I attended an inshore fishing seminar where I watched a fly casting demonstration for the first time.  As I watched the presenter simply carry line through the air, I became mesmerized.  He made the line dance back and forth and finally released his cast, the fly landed so softly.  I immediately thought about the spooky redfish in the Lagoon.  The wheels in my brain started turning.  I didn’t know anyone who cast a fly rod, I didn’t know where to begin.  I immersed myself in every written word online, every image, every video I came across about fly fishing. I couldn’t get enough information, there weren’t enough videos for me to watch.  I was hooked before I had ever held a fly rod in my hands.  I put together a used setup for myself. I was so excited to get out in the field and learn a new method of fishing.  I couldn’t wait for the workday to end so I could run back to the house and grab my new rig.  I arrived at a church yard close to my home, assembled my rod, stripped out some line, started my back cast it wasn’t pretty, and the subsequent forward cast was even worse.  I spent the next few hours becoming more and more frustrated.  I placed that fly rod down in the corner of my living room and that’s where it sat for a month or so, mocking me every time I would look in its direction.  That’s where my rod would stay collecting dust, as I tried to figure out how I was going to solve this problem. 

I watched more videos, I read more and more, anything I could get my hands on.  It seemed to all come down to finding a certified instructor and taking some lessons.  My local fly shop was able to point me in the right direction, I called the instructor and made an appointment, that day wouldn’t come fast enough.  Within forty five minutes of my first lesson the majority of my casting dysfunction had been resolved.  It was such a relief to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  I knew that if I could keep at, practice regularly, one day I could be a proficient caster.  I left my first lesson with some knowledge and techniques to learn, given some homework and told to practice frequently.  The next afternoon I was back in the church lot, picking up and laying down, picking up and laying down, forward cast and back cast.  Occasionally, I was carrying line for short amounts of time, it was all starting to come together.  I couldn’t get enough.  It felt so good to watch the line carry smoothly through the air.  Watching the loop tighten as I was able to generate more line speed.  Practice, practice, practice I knew was the key.  I picked up a micro practice rod so I could cast in my house.  That little rod came with me everywhere, I would cast it any time I had the chance.  In time, my casting was getting better and better.  Two lessons from the instructor and lots of time in the field, all of my practice was paying off.  Shooting line, learning to double haul, the mechanics of the sport were coming together.

I moved from the field to the lake behind my house.  I didn’t anticipate that the wet line would behave differently while casting.  I had not taken into consideration the resistance that the water’s surface tension would play on the line’s movement.  I now felt as if I was starting off again close to scratch.  Slowly though my casting came back together.  Every afternoon I was wading in the lake, casting, carrying, hauling, and shooting at imaginary targets.  Boils in my head that would one day be those Goon redfish that had been eluding me.  Casting, casting, casting hundreds if not thousands of times.  Working on different stripping patterns, slow, fast, two handed, bumping poppers along the water.  Eventually all of the practice turned into production, picking up a couple speck or little bass every week.  Happy accidents at the time that turned into learning a proper strip set.  Putting all of these pieces together have been some of the most gratifying moments I’ve had while fishing.

Cover Pro Nate Weber with  a beautiful Redfish boated via fly

I gauge my days on the water differently now.  Could I find fish, did I have any shots, how was my casting, did I make a presentation, how well did I set the hook, was there the opportunity to bring a fish to the boat?  All of these questions fly through my head when I have the chance to look back and think about a day on the water.  Another new pleasure I’ve taken is sharing fly fishing with my buddies.  Watching their interest and skill in the sport grow.  I’ve been working on learning this now for a little over two years, I don’t see the learning ending any time soon.  I’ve fished all over Florida.  I’ve only caught a handful of game fish on the fly, but they have been the most rewarding catches of my life.  The fly rod has a unique way of connecting you with your prey, unlike any style of conventional fishing I have ever been a part of.  My fly rod has set the hook in me for life. I can only hope to be so lucky as to be able to participate in this sport for the rest of my days. 

- Authored By : Robert Worthington

No Longer Unsung Red Drum

Cooling Performance Light Blue

As the seasons change and the waters begin to warm in the Gulf of Mexico, anglers on the west coast of Florida break out or break in all of their inshore gear and tackle. Personally, this has meant spinning up a pair of 8ft custom rods, having a casting platform built, and installing a 6ft power pole on the flats boat. So it goes without saying, here at Covert Fishing we are very excited for Redfish Season! Whether you're a seasoned tournament fisherman, recreational angler, or charter captain, the hunt is definitely on for big bull reds in the Gulf. I wanted to take a moment to "tip my hat" or "show some love" to a species that I yearn to fish for. Believe it or not, Redfish was once considered a trash fish that was undesirable to eat and not really considered a game fish. The red drum has come a long way in that regard. These days you can find guide services, restaurants, artwork, fishing tackle, and entire clothing lines that stem from or heavily lean on the Redfish for their inspiration. It might be a face only a mother could love, but at Covert Fishing we think mama was right.

28 inches inches means freedom in Florida

28 inches inches means freedom in Florida

A game fish with all the accolades and respect it deserves, the bite or "strike" from a Redfish can range all over the spectrum. It can be as subtle as a lazy flick of the tail with a slow turn to inhale a soft plastic or rigged shrimp, to a dynamic full speed charge of your spoon or spinnerbait. They can be very aggressive and seemingly fearless at times, where you can throw almost anything and get hooked up. While other times they can be extremely wary and discerning, charging your bait only to give it a once over and think better of it, or spooking from the shadow of your lure flying overhead. The Redfish will make you change your tackle and strategies all day if it wants to, keeping you on your toes and making you second guess yourself. Am I in the right spot? Are my soft plastics the right flavor? Do I need to scale down my leader? Is there enough cloud cover to keep throwing this topwater? Is there enough sunlight to throw this spoon yet? This is why fishing for Red Drum doesn't get old.  

After a long fight in skinny water make sure to revive your catch so someone else can enjoy your catch again

After a long fight in skinny water make sure to revive your catch so someone else can enjoy your catch again

I've had the opportunity and good fortune to fish for, and catch, a handful of wonderful and highly touted game fish over the course of my life. All are unique in their own way. The hook up and fight of each fish has its own nuances, from the tackle and bait, the ideal conditions, time of year, and even the financial burden to arrive at "the spot". Every game fish species offers up different challenges and logistics. My point is, "dollars to doughnuts" there is nothing quite like seeing a Redfish rise up out of the water to get its downward facing mouth wrapped around a topwater plug! Enjoy the water this season everyone, and tight lines!

Catch and release on the Big Bend Brought to you by Covert Fishing

Catch and release on the Big Bend Brought to you by Covert Fishing

The fishing nirvana that is Tropic Star Lodge

When we talked about CovertFishing as a brand and what we wanted it to be, we knew we had to go all in. While in the 'all in' mindset, we looked for where we would go for our first set of promo shoots. What sort of place would make the proper version of a starting pistol for what we wanted to say, who we wanted the world to know that we were? We decided unanimously on one place... Tropic Star Lodge in Panama. 

Sure we knew the fishing would be good, we had no way of being prepared for how good. 

Covert Serge with his first Black Marlin of the trip

Covert Serge with his first Black Marlin of the trip

The term "you wouldn't understand until you see it for your own eyes,"  was invented for this place. It was a paradigm shift in fishing as an activity. Have you ever worked on a math problem or a tricky project and just banged your head against a wall until someone comes along and says "why don't you try it this way" and all of a sudden you see the thing in a new way? That's what TSL did for me with fishing. 

Ryan's first Sail of the week.

Ryan's first Sail of the week.

The pace and laser precision of this place was like nothing I'd ever experienced before and I'm not exaggerating here. Let me give you an example. I'm pretty sure most people are like me in that they were taught that fishing is a thing you do with one hook to catch one fish (unless you're casting a net but I'm talking about pole fishing here). So, when we set out on the first day and they put the lines in the water for bait fishing everything seemed normal. We were looking for Bonito which I had caught before and having just woken up about 40 min earlier, I was looking for a light fight to get the trip going and the juices flowing. When the line went out and I started reeling it in, I was more than a little surprised. Were these some super bonito?! What was going on?! As I got to the leader, I realized what was going on... At Tropic Star Lodge, they are so efficient at catching fish that they catch their bait 2 at a time. So this day, I had woken up, gotten on the boat, ridden out 20 min and caught 2 fish with the line in the water for all of 8 minutes. It was officially the best day of fishing of my life and we hadn't even gotten to the good stuff yet. 

The view back to TSL a couple of hours into the day. 

The view back to TSL a couple of hours into the day. 

Of course it is fishing and we were there for a week so we did have a slow day, but on the way in one of my buddies says some of the truest words I've ever heard: "A day fishing in paradise is better than a day doing most anything else..."

The sunrise behind us as we set out on the bait grounds.

The sunrise behind us as we set out on the bait grounds.

Now there is plenty more where all of this came from, we have tons more pictures and video, so much video. So stay tuned and the Covert Team will work as hard as we can to get you the best quality gear and info. Until the next one, tight lines everybody. 

CovertBlackE1