Exploring Backwater Creeks & Coves Deep In The Little Manatee River

We’re out on a SUNNY and CLEAR day exploring backwater areas in the Little Manatee River!!

The weather has been up and down so we decided to fish around deep structure near the back of the river and see what would bite.

This is my FIRST time ever fishing way up inland like this!!

Exploring Backwater Areas In The Little Manatee River [VIDEO]

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Equipment Used:

Deeper Water Setup (more than 3 ft)

Skipping Under Mangroves Setup

On-The-Water Action

Heavy winds and a slight chill in the air created the opportunity for me to fish way up the Little Manatee River for the first time.

The excitement was building from the second we hit the water and stayed throughout the trip!

Our first stop was at a bridge crossing looking for deep structure.

No bites there so we pushed further inland.

Visually, it was so cool to see the mangroves change over to oaks and pines the deeper inland we went.

First and foremost, we were looking for signs of life and didn’t really see much until we noticed a lonely dock.

Along the entire expansive shoreline, this was the ONLY dock so we had to stop and check it out.

There was no action there and none even as we worked along the shoreline.

So we pushed on another 5 or so miles inland still seeing ZERO signs of action.

All the while, we stopped off in areas that I felt should have held some fish.

Out of the corner of our eyes, we thought we saw a tarpon but it was actually a garfish which meant it was time to shake things up.

We steered our way back out of the river towards the Gulf in hopes of saving the skunk trip.

It was not until we reached the final spot that we finally saw some legit signs of life.

Tony hooked into a solid snook and then a trout using a weighted hook and the Mulligan.

So I tossed on the same and sure enough hooked into a small trout.

All in all, it was a super fun day checking out new waters, but it was tough trying to find any action.

Core Lessons & Takeaways

  • Importance of Moving Around

It is critical to keep moving around and try different areas. This was an abnormally slow day that required us to cover A LOT of water. We ended up traveling 15 miles on the water and if we spent too much time in one area, we might not have run into those fish. Try a spot for 10-15 minutes with your confidence bait and if there are no bites, move on to another spot.

  • Look For ANY Signs of Life

Especially on those tough, slow days, you have to keep your eyes peeled for any signs of life. Look for the THREE B’s (Birds, Bait, Boils). My personal favorite bird to keep an eye out for are egrets. They are bright white and usually sitting right on the shoreline. They can be a great indicator of bait or feeding fish in the area.

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Finding The Fish Help

In order to help make sure that you are targeting the right areas based on the latest feeding trends and upcoming weather forecasts, make sure to use the following 3 resources because they will save you a ton of time.

1. Weekend Game Plans (updated weekly)

These regional game plans will show you exactly what types of spots to target in under 10 minutes… just click the video to start, and you’ll be informed on what to do on your next trip.

➡ Weekend Game Plan Lessons

2. Smart Fishing Spots Platform (updated every 15 minutes)

This exclusive software literally shows you where the most fish are likely to be feeding based on exactly when you’ll be fishing. It factors in the tides, wind, and weather to help you quickly see which areas to target throughout the day.

➡ Smart Fishing Spots App

3. Community Reports (live feed)

The Insider Community platform is what you can use to see what is biting near you, and you can get to know other members who fish in your area. Plus, you can use it to keep a log of your catches so you can use past trips to help predict future catches.

➡ Community Platform 

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Joseph Young
11 months ago

I enjoyed the video. Especially because I live up river by the Ft. Hammer Ramp. Your video is pretty much right on, no birds, no fish. That is the bottom line. There are some exceptions from time to time, but rare. When the birds are there, you can catch Snook, Reds, Jack’s, Ladyfish, Trout, Tarpon, and who knows what else. The water is brackish at the ramp, but as you go up from there, it turn fresh, where you catch fresh water bass, I am told. I personally haven’t caught any, but I haven’t really tried to either. I like to fish at Jiggs Landing or in the ponds in for fresh water Bass.

You can catch Trout by the power poles in front of Woody’s. Some days yield tons of Trout. Many are too small, but patience will provide enough keepers when they are in season. There are several Gators near where I USED to wade fish a little down river from the bridge, lol. When the bite is on, I use the Slam Shady with Jighead or weedless if I am under the docks. They work just as good as live shrimp. They work best skipping them in or near the mangroves, and especially on all points. The tides are negative quite a bit now, so a little caution is required. Six hours would be a long time to sit in the river up here if it’s hot or the bugs are biting.


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