How To Catch Big Redfish, Trout, & Snook In Clear, Shallow Water

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Some of the biggest fish I catch are in clear, shallow water.

They’re in this skinny water hunting for an unassuming school of baitfish or foraging for crustaceans, so they’re usually looking to eat.

However, because the water is so clear and shallow, they’re on high alert, so they’re easily spooked off.

In this video, I’m going to give you five tips to catch fish in these conditions.

You’ll learn:

  • When the best times to fish shallow water are
  • How to be more stealthy (so you don’t spook the fish off)
  • The best lures to use in these conditions
  • A recent change I made that helped me catch the big trout pictured above
  • And more

Plus, I’ll also show you these tips in action with a clip from one of my recent fishing trips where I caught a really nice speckled trout.

Check out the video below!

How To Catch Fish In Clear & Shallow Water [VIDEO]

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Here are five tips to catch fish in clear, shallow water:

Tip #1: Fish at dawn and dusk.

When the sun is low, it’s hard for baitfish to see predators, so gamefish come up into the shallows to feed at this time.

But it’s not just baitfish that have trouble seeing — the predator fish will have trouble seeing you, so you’re more likely to sneak up on them.

Tip #2: Be stealthy.

Just because they can’t see very well doesn’t mean they can’t sense you.

They can feel pressure changes in the water with their lateral lines, so if you’re paddling, don’t make big, strong pulls with your paddle.

And if you’re using a trolling motor, keep it on the lowest setting.

Tip #3: Make long, accurate casts.

The farther you are from the fish, the more likely they won’t be spooked, so long casts will let you put your lure in front of them without letting them know you’re there.

And speaking of long accurate casts…

Tip #4: Use light line.

10 lb. braid (or even 8 lb. braid if the fish are very finicky) is best in these situations.

It allows for long casts, plus thinner line makes less vibration in the water than thicker line.

Also, you might want to scale down your leader, too.

I used 15 lb. leader on this trip (I normally use 20 lb. leader) and I was still able to land that nice trout.

Tip #5: Use a stealthy lure.

Paddletails, topwater lures, or other lures that make a lot of vibration in the water are more likely to spook off a fish in these calm conditions.

Instead, use a stealthy lure like a jerk shad or artificial shrimp.

I’ve been using the Alabama Leprechaun recently and have been catching a lot of fish with it.

As far as hooks go, I like to use a 1/16 oz weighted hook here, but you could even use a bare hook.

Conclusion

snook fishing

When you’re targeting big fish in shallow water, the name of the game is stealth.

These fish are easily spooked, so be as quiet as you can, make long casts, and scale down your tackle and lures.

Have any questions about catching big fish in shallow water?

Let us know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who wants to learn how to catch big fish, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Oliver Clarke
6 months ago

I yak fish gin clear glassy shallow flats frequently in Tarpon Bay backwaters, Sanibel. I really appreciate this advice!! I’ve been using paddletails a bit too much in these steathy situations.

Pat Ogletree
7 months ago

Great video Tony!

That tip on downsizing your leader is money! I believe that alone has increased my catch ratio.

Tanner Schultz
7 months ago

So how about when you are in a honey hole and you’re working one specific area that they just keep biting in? Every time you have one on the line they are changing the water pressure by thrashing and shaking as you are trying to net it. Why do they continue to bite if the pressure keeps changing?

And if we are going by that logic, shouldn’t we be continuously moving after catching a fish in an area? It all makes sense, but I’m just curious because I feel like that doesn’t always apply.

Thanks,
Tanner

Jonathan Fortune
7 months ago

Fantastic tips Tony and what a beautiful trout. Not sure if I missed it on the video but why the 3ft leader? Also currently don’t having a trolling motor so I use a push pole I will definitely try these tactics this Sunday.

Ben Brucia
7 months ago

Hey Tony, great advice, thanks. Under those conditions what tide would you favor, an incoming or outgoing?

Gary Rankel
7 months ago

Couldn’t agree more, Tony. Here’s hoping the lagoon over by you is recovering from all its problems.

Greg Von krumreig
1 year ago

Hey Tony! Great video. I know its a bit old but hopefully you still see this response :D. I am going to try to employ some of these tactics beach fishing for snook on Fort Myers Beach. Currently im using the 3 inch slam shady on a 1/16 weighted hook, with 30 lb leader. Fish mostly just seem to get spooked. Whats the lowest leader line you think i could get away with targeting big beach snook? Also does color of the jerk shad matter when fishing clear water? Thanks!

Greg Von krumreig
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Appreciate it man! What about retrieval? We have no current here on Fort Myers Beach so they are very aware of vibrations. Also should i try wading out to keep the lure in the strike zone for the entire retrieve? I usually stay about 5-10 feet off the waters edge and cast mostly diagonally. Also, Since we have no current, Which tides do you think are best? Am i better off just fishing twilight times regardless of tides?

Last edited 1 year ago by Greg Von krumreig
Delbert Young
2 years ago

I always enjoy your videos Tony. I haven’t had any luck with the Alabama Leprechaun. It’s good to see it working as I’ve purchased a few packs. Thanks again

Steve Oravets
2 years ago

Tony,
Thank you, Your presentations set the bar high.

Stan Mitchell
2 years ago

Thanks Tony excellent video. As always good stuff man.????????

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