How To Consistently Catch Redfish, Snook, & Seatrout [FREE PDF Guide]

By: Luke Simonds on March 27, 2016
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how to catch more redfish, snook, trout

Can a single fishing tip PDF change the way you fish forever?

Seems rather crazy doesn’t it…

That a single report could literally alter how many Inshore Slams you catch for the rest of your life.

But I am here to tell you that it’s entirely possible because I’m living proof that it can…

I just wish I had my hands on this report (that I am about to share with you below) 15 years ago.

Below you will find the 3 inshore breakthroughs that I learned the hard way over many years of trial and error (and thousands of dollars of wasted money on fishing gear that wasn’t effective).

Best of all, it addresses the fact that live bait is NOT required for catching quality redfish, snook, flounder, and trout…

In fact, I personally catch more quality inshore slams per hour with artificials compared to live bait.

And if you would have presented that statement to me when I began inshore fishing ~15 years ago, I would have told you that you are CRAZY!!!

But I have personally undergone a significant transformation in regards to how I approach inshore fishing over the past 5 years that has allowed me to consistently catch more (and bigger) redfish, snook, and speckled trout than I ever thought possible for a weekend warrior… even to a point of me consistently placing in tournaments against 30+ other avid fishermen (and a handful of professional guides).

And I’ll be 100% transparent in my hesitation to post this Inshore Fishing Manifesto online for all to see.

In fact, I wrote it a while back and kept it hidden in our private inshore tips section so that I could control who saw it and could easily pull it back if the feedback was negative.

However, it has been downloaded by over 20,000 of your fellow inshore anglers and the feedback has been awesome, so I decided to go ahead and take it live on our site so that it could be helpful to more anglers.

Note: This is an abbreviated version of the Manifesto, so make sure to request the full report below so you can get the entire Manifesto and read it when time permits (see yellow box below).

Want to have this entire 7,000+ word article emailed to you in a nice PDF that you can save, download, read, and reference whenever you want?

AND watch the video training where my brother Joe and I talk through each of the three breakthroughs while we share our screen?

AND get the audio download for the training?

Then Click Here to have the full PDF, video, and audio emailed to you instantly.

My Brief Fishing History

luke simonds snook

Before the transformations discussed below, I was a typical inshore “Weekend Warrior” angler that could consistently catch at least a few fish that I was targeting, but I was only as good as the live bait I was able to catch (or sometimes buy) that day.

Worst of all, I sometimes even had days of only catching catfish… which I despise given their venomous barbs and nasty slime that gets all over everything it touches (the slime even coats your leader line).

But after the three inshore fishing breakthroughs (that I am about to share with you), my approach to inshore fishing significantly changed, and I’m now consistently catching more redfish, snook, and big trout per hour of fishing time than ever before.

More importantly, I have been able to use the breakthroughs I am going to share with you all over the state of Florida… from the Florida Keys up to Jacksonville on the east side, all the way up to Apalachicola on the west side of Florida.

In fact, I have even used these secrets to catch more largemouth bass (and so have a few other freshwater anglers that shared their testimonials with me after reading this Inshore Manifesto… pretty funny).

And since teaching is another passion of mine, I felt compelled to write this Inshore Fishing Manifesto because I know it can help other passionate saltwater anglers become more efficient and consistent in their fish catching.

More importantly, I believe it can help bring family and friends closer together because the techniques discussed are all designed to empower you to catch more fish in less time, which will enable you to get out on the water more frequently and have more great memories on the water with your loved ones.

Long story short… I wish someone had passed this information on to me years ago, and I feel like it is my duty and calling to pass these tips on to you.

But before I reveal them to you, can I ask you a question?

Are you catching good redfish, snook, and trout consistently (as in catching at least one of them every time you wet a line)?

My guess is that if you are reading this, then the answer is probably a big “NO”.

But don’t worry, I was in the same boat (pardon the pun) for years.

And I realized pretty quickly (once I discovered these breakthroughs) that it wasn’t my fault.

And it certainly isn’t your fault either.

We have been led to believe that we can just emulate the pros on TV (who have such an advantage over the weekend warrior by being on the water every single day that it isn’t funny), and we can simply catch consistent fish like they do by simply copying their tactics…


We have also been led astray by so many of the advertisements for the “newest and hottest sizzler of a lure” that seems to be popping up constantly in every magazine, TV show, and even YouTube ad that you see. We’re forced to believe that our catching will improve if only we had that magical lure or piece of fancy fishing equipment…


Of course, the negative side effects of this misinformation and misguidance that sadly goes on in the fishing world all too often are as follows:

  • Wasted MONEY testing out all of these new lures (You don’t even want to know how much my brother and I have spent over the years testing out lures, hooks, line, etc).
  • Wasted TIME chasing around live bait, trying to find new spots, and hopping around aimlessly some days (and if you are a weekend warrior like me, time on the water is super limited, not to mention it is the one that we can’t get back or make up).
  • And even worse, my fishing “Street Credit was ebb and flow like the highest of tides and lowest of tides. I had no Consistency at all. And I am not too proud to admit this…but I absolutely HATE coming back to the boat ramp or marina after a day of blanking on the water. On the other hand, there is nothing that feels better than coming back and showing off pics (or a live well) of trophy fish, amazing fish stories, and high fives when you have one of these awesome days.

And if you are anything like me, if I am wasting time, wasting money, and sometimes looking like a rookie in front of my friends and angler peers, then something has got to change!

And change fast!

Before you dig in this “Inshore Fishing Manifesto”, please know that some of the strategies that I’ll address may be very different than what you’ve been taught so far, and some may even seem a bit controversial to some people… especially owners of large fishing equipment companies.

But please know that these tips have proven to work for me, along with countless others that I have shared them with, time and time again…

And not just in one area that has inshore fishing either…

These tips and breakthroughs have worked all around my beloved state of Florida…and I know they can help you too.

And these tips aren’t just for Florida waters. In fact, here’s a message that an angler from South Carolina sent in recently:

“Thanks for all the tips. I was able to fish this weekend and helped my little brother and nephew have the most luck in one trip than we’ve ever had. You’re awesome, keep up the good work.” 

That all being said, there is one thing that I possessed during my transformation that I simply can’t pass down… no matter how well I write today…

The burning desire to JUST DO IT.

Meaning, if you don’t have the drive to actually implement the tips and strategies discussed in this report, then you’ll undoubtedly not see the same results that I and others have realized.

Now let’s get into it and have some freaking fun. And please kindly ignore grammar errors… I’m a fishing addict, not an English teacher or journalist.

The Cardinal Rule = Know Thy Target Fish

how to catch redfish

You must first know this before you can fully grasp the 3 secrets revealed next.

The Cardinal Rule with inshore fishing: Know thy target fish.

Sounds obvious, right?

But what I’ve seen from all too many anglers is a lack of thought about exactly what your target fish both WANTS and what it FEARS.

These “wants/needs” and “fears” of course, are the dominating factors that determine where you’ll find certain fish and how you’ll catch them.

Yet most anglers don’t take the time to think about it.

It’s probably a safe bet that most people don’t consider what redfish, snook, and/or trout fear while deciding where to cast, how long to stay in a particular spot, or which spot to fish next.

For example, a top fear of redfish, snook, and trout is getting seen by a dolphin while away from protection… dolphin are incredibly fast and smart predators that actively feed on them, so even the sound of a dolphin breathing will often shut down the bite because the fish are immediately driven into self-preservation mode.

So it’s typically best to leave to another spot if you see a dolphin working a shoreline that you’re about to fish… or at least give them 20 to 30 minutes to settle down.

Overall, the good news is that knowing thy target fish really isn’t difficult… a fish’s main want to get its next meal, and it’s primary fear is becoming a meal to something bigger (dolphin, bigger fish, bird, or human).

Knowing this, it’s fairly easy to understand why redfish, snook, and trout often hold close to structure like docks, mangrove roots, oyster bars, etc.


Because all of these structures provide cover from their predators… while also providing ambush points for catching their next meal.

Also, it’s important to know that healthy grass flats provide redfish, snook, and trout with a tremendous amount of food given that so many shrimp and small baitfish seek cover in the grass.

Although there is not much protection from dolphin or birds on a flat, many redfish, snook, and trout roam grass flats for food and they often hang around schools of big mullet which act as spotters of predators.

The mullet schools also provide assistance in finding food given that they often scare shrimp and small fish from their hiding spots while rooting around in the grass.

So now that the basic “know thy fish” rule has been addressed, here’s the first breakthrough that I found which started my overall transformation.

Want to have this entire 7,000+ word article emailed to you in a nice PDF that you can save, download, read, and reference whenever you want?

AND watch the video training where my brother Joe and I talk through each of the three breakthroughs while we share our screen?

AND get the audio download for the training?

Then Click Here to have the full PDF, video, and audio emailed to you instantly.

Inshore Fishing Breakthrough #1

how to catch redfish

Learning How to Use Aerial Maps

After years of watching fishing shows where the host would catch tons of big fish with some local guide, I was forced to believe that having consistently good success was only possible for anglers that were out on the water all the time and could personally check out every inch of water in their areas for good fish.

Since I’ve always been into fishing (and all my friends and work associates know that it’s a favorite hobby of mine), I remember feeling embarrassed when I had to report that my weekend trip was a bust.

In fact, I still remember how terrible I felt one day at work when I was asked by a colleague in a Monday morning team meeting how my day on the water went… and shortly after informing him of the “slow bite” with others listening, another person was showing pictures to the team of some huge redfish they caught that very same day.

Given my very competitive and studious nature, I then started buying maps that showed fishing tips for the regions I like to fish (including guidance on specific areas to catch particular types of fish), and I’d intently study them prior to going out on the water to select the spots I’d visit.

The problem I found with this strategy was that the listed areas for catching fish were often very large, and it would take forever to effectively fish it with the live bait that I was accustomed to using.

I’d often spend an entire morning trying to assess a single area that was marked as productive, and often would end up with nothing to show for my time except a lousy catfish or a just some tiny trout.

Worst of all, I’d get back to the docks and see others cleaning really nice fish that I had previously told myself simply weren’t biting that day.

Next, I started analyzing aerial maps on the Internet to get a bird’s eye view of the fishing grounds that the other maps highlighted as being productive.

My theory was that it sure would be nice to see exactly what the bottom contours looked like without having to take my boat or kayak over every square inch of water. This way, I could more efficiently find the actual spots that held fish inside the big areas that the maps highlighted.

After just a few months of using the aerial images, my results steadily improved.

Best of all, I felt that I was finally in control of my results.

I even started making myself plan out a series of at least 3 spots that I’d fish based on the wind, tide, and target species for the next day as I was analyzing online satellite maps the night before trips.

This eventually allowed me to start finding trends on the exact types of spots that hold fish on given tides and weather conditions throughout the year. Best of all, these trends have proven to be consistent over time on both coasts of Florida (I have lived in Melbourne Beach and Tampa over the past 8 years, not to mention I have fished countless regions from up in the panhandle to Islamorada).

Currently, I use free online aerial maps exclusively for scouting out new areas (no need buy any of the others), and I’m catching more and bigger fish than ever before.

Note: Helpful tips on how to use online maps are below in this post.

Best of all, I am now fully confident that I’ll catch my target fish on any given day out on the water as long as I have 20 minutes of internet time the night before… even if it’s in an area I’ve never fished and I’m only taking my three favorite lures with me.

For example, I moved to Tampa a couple of years ago and had previously never fished the upper Bay (closest to downtown).

But after referencing free Google and Mapquest maps for ideas on where to go, my very first day on the water consisted of me catching 4 redfish (1 in the slot, 1 over-slot, and 2 rats) and 3 trout (a 23-incher and 2 small ones)… all on artificial baits… and I was back at the boat ramp before 1:00 in the afternoon.

Needless to say, these results in a new area with only artificial baits is something I would never have dreamed happening to me just few years earlier.

So let’s dig into the types of things I look for in the online maps… here are some detailed examples:

Unique Bottom Cover/Structure – Grassy Point

how to catch redfish, snook, and trout

This is an image from an island that caught my eye when scouting out new areas to fish prior to entering an inshore tournament series in Sebastian, FL.

The thick grass at the tip of the island with streaks made from current seemed like an ideal place for redfish and trout to feed… and we ended up bringing in the biggest fish (7.61lb trout) of our first 40+ boat tournament from this spot… and placed many others in the following tournaments, too.

Things to look for when fishing a flat like this:

  • Birds – always good to see wading birds along the edges of the flat and/or diving birds diving on the flat
  • Bait – back to “know thy target fish” rule… the next meal is what’s on their mind, and their main focus is on being near bait, so a flat without bait is likely one without your predator fish (I personally like to see schools of big mullet on a flat… redfish and big trout often hang out in those schools)
  • Mud Boils – when fishing shallow flats, I always look for fish to make sure that I’m in a productive area because typically, when a flat has one good fish, there are many others nearby. A key sign of good predator fish is a big plume of dirt on the bottom because predator fish most always are on the bottom in search of food and will leave that dust cloud when spooked… unlike big mullet, which cause a lot of commotion on the surface without disturbing the bottom. 

Protected Deep Water Trough for Winter Hideouts

how to catch redfish

During winter, the drastic cold snaps (yes, even in FL) from fronts can be hazardous for snook, trout, and redfish, so they often seek shelter from the cold in deeper pools that are protected from wind/waves (the calmer and deeper pools hold on to their warmer temperature much longer than shallow or wind-prone area).

Also, an important element for winter fishing after cold fronts is the fact that areas with darker bottoms (or darker water color) warm up faster than clear water and/or light color bottoms… and a mud flat will maintain heat longer than sand.

As you’ll see in the picture above, this particular spot is a textbook winter-time fishery because it is a deep trough (5ft marked by the arrow) surrounded by islands and/or a shallow grass flat (0 ft to 1.5 ft depending on tide levels)… and the area to the right of the trough is a dark muddy bottom with patches of grass.

Another important winter tip… the coldest snaps in FL most often contain a strong/cold wind coming from the north, so the fact that the north (top) section in this location is protected by a mangrove line is a huge bonus.

Knowing that redfish, snook, and trout seek protected and deeper water with dark bottom after cold snaps makes an area like this an ideal place to catch fish on the ugliest of days… and this spot has proven it for me over the years.

In fact, my best day back there was right after a nasty cold front on a cold and dreary day with 15+ mph winds from the north.

Hidden Saltwater Lakes

how to catch more redfish, snook, and trout

My absolute favorite use of aerial maps is to find spots that require some creative exploration to get to.

I’m referring to the types of spots that require a kayak or paddleboard to access… and having to carry across land or follow narrow mangrove tunnels is an added bonus to the thrill of finding fish that are completely wild and have likely never seen a lure.

The pool shown above is an image of a spot that I was particularly proud of finding. It was shortly after my move to Tampa and I wanted to take my paddleboard out for some exercise and to scout out some new fishing grounds.

So I went online to check out the areas surrounding a park that I planned to launch from and noticed a lake that was tucked away back in the mangroves. It appeared to be deep given the water color, but it didn’t have any large openings… just one very small channel to the left that is too overgrown even for a kayak to get through.

So I noted the part of that thin shot of land along the northern part of it and simply found a small opening in the mangroves and hiked back until I saw the lake. Best of all, it’s fairly easy to carry a paddleboard/kayak into and it’s full of snook along with some redfish… and I’ve never seen anyone else back there.

Here’s a video from one trip back there so you can see it in action:

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Note: I’ve been back there many times since finding hidden lake and still have yet to see anyone fishing it… it’s still holding plenty of fish making for a lot of fun.

Inshore Fishing Breakthrough #2

how to catch redfish inshore fishing manifesto

Simplify Your Tackle

Now that I was finally finding good spots and having some better results with understanding how to effectively use free aerial maps to scout out fishing spots, I was pretty darn pumped.

There is just nothing like being able to find new honey holes every month.

Just imagine that feeling you had the first time you found your favorite fishing hole… and then imagine finding another spot just like it consistently.

But there were still some issues with my fishing game…

The problem was that even though I was finding good spots much quicker, I was still feeling held back by the time and energy required to get good live bait.

On some days, I’d spend the first couple hours loading up the livewell (you know the feeling I’m guessing)…

And I am a guy that likes my sleep, so that 5:00 am alarm clock going off was like someone punching me in the face…

But I had to do it just to make sure I had enough time to catch bait.

However, there were still some days where I just couldn’t find live bait, and by time I was fishing, the sun was already shining bright… and I had completely missed the best bite.

Even worse, all that cast net throwing (I mostly use a 12 foot cast net) was tough on my back and it always got loads of grass, dirt, and small fish in every nook and cranny of the boat… which required added scrub time when cleaning the boat after the trip.

So I knew that something had to change.

I was spending way too much time catching bait because I was just your average weekend warrior that didn’t have a daily pulse on the best bait spots… and I was waking up WAY too early for my taste… and to top it off, my back hurt from that darn cast net and bending over to scrub the boat once back home.

So what did I do?

I did what I had heard stories of other successful inshore anglers were doing… I started testing out any and all artificial lures that I either saw on fishing shows or heard from friends worked well.

Sadly, I ended up realizing that most of the shows out there only pitch the type of bait that they are sponsored by, and the vast array of ideas I got from friends and peer anglers put a huge dent in my bank account.

Worst of all, I ended up with a ton of baits but didn’t have much of a clue how to work them properly, so my fish catching plummeted… and I have a spare bedroom that’s full of old lures, line, hooks, and other flashy baits that I was suckered into buying to remind me of my mistakes.

However, I finally had a breakthrough with artificial lures… and it was not at all what I had expected.

My luck actually started turning around when I focused almost solely on one lure type thinking that it’s best to get really good with one lure than to be decent with a box full of them.

I chose soft plastic jerk baits to be my lure to perfect because they were cheap, they casted well, and they could be used in really shallow areas as well as deeper potholes and ledges in the ~ 1 to 5 ft depth range, which was what I typically fish.

Over time, I started catching more and more quality redfish, snook, and trout as I began to learn how to most effectively work these jerk baits to entice strikes.

Most shockingly, I began realizing that I did my best when I simplified my approach in regards to color selection.

If you only take one thing away from this manifesto, let it be this…

SIMPLIFY Your Tackle = You Catch More Fish

online inshore fishing course

Here is what I did to really get more consistent fish “catching” results (even in tournaments where I was winning money)

I’d simply take a light color and a dark color out on the boat with just two sizes (3-inch and 5-inch)… just two colors and two sizes… nothing else.

And the catching got better and better.

After the first year of focusing on soft plastic jerk baits, I realized that the lighter color performed best during the summer, and the darker color (with a smaller body) did best during the winter… and spring and fall were a mix between the two.

I ended up choosing Zoom jerkbaits as my go-to brand after trying out tons of options, and these (shown below) were the styles that worked best for me during my first couple years of intense experimentation with artificial baits.

zoom jerkbaits for catching redfish

The picture above shows my favorite two lures during first couple years of intense experimentation.

NOTE: Although I still like these Zoom jerkbaits, I’ve now moved on to better options… see below for specifics.

Now that I was only using artificial lures, I thoroughly enjoyed the newfound freedom of no longer having to waste time with live bait, and I was able to spend more time actually fishing, and less time prepping/cleaning.

Most importantly, I was able to cover/explore a whole lot more territory given that I could now fish non-stop while on the water.

I started seeing a ton more fish every trip and soon began to notice that the biggest trout were most often hanging out in the really shallow grass flats among the mullet schools… and that they were extremely finicky.

How I started catching MONSTER Speckled Trout

how to catch speckled trout

Now it was time to figure out how to cast further so I could get to those big trout before they spooked…

This is actually what finally prompted me to switch from my beloved mono to braided line.

And the switch from mono to braid, I immediately had an extra ~20 ft of casting distance given its smaller diameter and its lack of loop memory compared to the mono that I previously loved.

Not only was I casting further, but I also had a much better feel of the lure compared to mono given that braided line has almost zero stretch…

I could now even feel the really small pinfish that had the guts to attack a lure bigger than them.

At this same time, I also discovered the swim-bait style hooks that have a small weight attached to the shank of the hook along with Gulp jerk baits, and my ability to catch the really big trout (along with redfish and snook) skyrocketed.

best hooks for redfish

This new hook style allows for your jerk bait to swim much better in the water because the weight on the shank makes the bait stay upright in the water (weight side down), while the previous style with the normal worm hook often gave the bait an unnatural spin when it wasn’t perfectly rigged.

Also, the small weight allows for the jerk baits to be very effective in depths from 1 ft to 4 ft, while the non-weight style wasn’t able to cover the 3 ft to 4 ft depth range very effectively.

Further, the twist on feature allows for many more fish to be caught on a single bait… the old style worm hook would typically tear through the plastic at the head, which would then make the bait unusable.

Before these latest gear and lure modifications, I had only caught a few trout over 24 inches.

After these breakthroughs, I was catching the 24+ inchers on a consistent basis all year long on the Indian and Banana Rivers.

Best of all, my trips over to the Gulf side resulted in more 24+ inch trout as well (just not quite as often as in the Indian River).

Further, my slam catches (at least one snook, redfish, and trout in a single outing) dramatically increased on both coasts as well because of the increased territory that I now can cover in a day given that there’s no more wasted time from catching and maintaining live bait.

Gear Tips

Here’s a quick list of gear that I’ve found best results with for fishing the flats and/or backcountry with soft-plastics (in all parts of Florida):

  • Lures – 3 to 5-inch soft plastic jerk baits (both split and paddle tail styles)
    • Just one light color (light green is my favorite) and one dark color (root beer with chartreuse tail or new penny)
  • Hooks – [1 ft to 3 ft depth] – 3/0 size with 1/16th oz weight on shank
  • Jig Heads – [3ft+ depth] – 1/8 oz or more depending on depth
  • Line (main) – 10 lb braid
  • Line (leader) – 20 lb fluorocarbon for reds & trout (25 to 30 lb for snook)
  • Rod – 7’6” medium to medium-heavy fast action spinning rod
  • Reel – Go as small as possible (I use 3000 size or smaller Shimano spinning reels… no need to go bigger unless you’re fishing inlets with really strong currents… for example, I’ve caught multiple 40+ inch redfish and even an 80lb tarpon on the flats with a 3000 size reel with 10 line braid)

Rod vs. Reel Tip:

My theory is that the rod is much more important than the reel given that your rod is your core tool for casting, retrieving, feeling bites, and hook setting… and all a reel essentially does is retrieve line and provide drag (once the rod first does its work).

For example, I can easily catch the same amount of inshore fish in a given day with a cheap reel on a nice rod, but I wouldn’t have a chance to compete if using a nice reel on a lousy rod. 

Inshore Fishing Breakthrough #3

how to catch redfish and snook

Fancy Flats Boats Are Not Necessary (But they are certainly nice to have if you can afford one)

I used to always think that I had to be out in a nice boat to consistently catch good inshore fish.

I remember thinking… if only I could afford that nice boat with all that fancy equipment so I can finally catch fish like they do on the fishing TV shows.

Wow, was I wrong!

And I can say this with experience as I now have one of those “nice boats” that I craved growing up (click here to see some amazing footage of my 17ft Maverick)

However, I can catch just as many fish (and sometimes more) from simply going out on my beat up paddle board that isn’t even designed for fishing… no rod holders, storage bins, etc.

Best of all, there is huge time savings benefit when going via paddle board, kayak, or wading because there’s no boat to clean afterward!

Once I figured out how to effectively find good spots that are accessible via paddling or wading (using online aerial maps), I began to be able to go on a lot more trips because I now could simply load up my kayak and one rod after work and have an hour+ of prime fishing time before dark during the summer.

Best of all, weekday fishing with no boat traffic sure is rewarding in the fact that it’s more relaxing and the fish feel less stressed and are more prone to strike.

Here are some tips for maximizing results from kayak and paddleboard fishing:

  • It’s typically best to hop out and wade so you don’t get pulled over a school of fish once you find them, and so the wind doesn’t take you over the area too quickly, so make sure to bring wading boots.
  • Bring 5 to 8 ft length of rope so you can tie the kayak or paddle board to you allowing for you to always have your tackle close by and so you don’t have to walk back across the flat to retrieve your vessel once finished
  • When paddling from one spot to another, always look for mud boils on the bottom because that’s a great sign that predator fish are in the area… this is a huge benefit of paddle-fishing.

Here is an example of an awesome spot ideal for paddlers…

how to catch redfish

The blue arrow points to a public park with parking spots only 15 ft from a sandy riverbank and the red arrows show a range of healthy grass flats spanning an island where I caught a ton of good reds, snook, and really big trout while on short after-work excursions.

Conclusion (And One Final Fishing Tip)

how to catch redfish, snook, and trout

Hopefully now you not only realize, but feel fully empowered to catch redfish, snook, trout, and other inshore species quicker than you ever imagined (without having to rely on a cast net or live bait).

After years of going back and forth from live bait to artificial lures, I began to realize that, as a weekend warrior who can only fish a couple days per month if lucky, I can consistently catch more quality fish per hour when I only go out with artificial lures than I can with live bait.

And what has been most surprising to me is that my best results came to fruition once I simplified everything and focused on just being really good at using one or two lures…

I believe it’s better to become really good at presenting one or two lures than it is to be decent at presenting a store-full of them.

So you’re likely wondering how in the world can my claim about artificial catching more than live bait possibly be true… because “Everyone knows live bait catches more fish than artificial lures, right?”

And I completely agree that if a single redfish was under a mangrove limb, the odds of catching it are at least 5 times higher with a live bait compared to an artificial lure… even if the lure is presented perfectly right in front of its face.

However, I’m 100% confident that I can overcome that setback simply by getting my lure in front of a lot more fish in a typical half day trip compared to what I could do when fishing with live bait… which completely puts the artificial option in the winners circle.

For instance, I’d of course rather have a day of catching 20 out of 100 fish that saw my lure compared to 10 out of 10 fish that saw my live bait.

The reason it’s possible to get in front of so many more fish with artificial bait is because artificial lure fishing allows you the luxury of immediately being able to fish (not having to go in search of live bait), and you can continually (and quickly) cover ground until finding exactly where the largest holding of target fish are located…

No more wasting time catching and maintaining live bait, no more having to wake up at 5am, and no more having to scrub weeds, mud, and tiny critters from all corners in the boat from the cast net throwing when you get back home after a trip.

However, before feeling like I’m saying that everyone should be focused on artificial lure fishing, there are a certainly a few scenarios where live bait is clearly the better option:

  • If you’re brand spanking new to fishing – artificial lure fishing requires that you’re able to effectively cast a lure and confidently present it to your target fish. The proper cast and retrieve is of course something that can be quickly learned, but it won’t happen if you don’t get proper guidance or spend a lot of time on the water testing out your gear and presentation techniques.
  • If you aren’t able to efficiently and quietly cover ground – the big benefit of artificial lure fishing is that you can move around quickly until you find where the most fish are located. But if you’re unable to move around due to not having a trolling motor or not having a paddle vessel, then you’ll be better off with live bait.
  • If you’re out on the water all the time (like a full-time guide or professional captain) and know exactly where the bait and where your target fish are located – because as you decrease the time it takes to get bait and to find your target fish, the live bait option of course gains ground. On multi-day trips, I always spend the first day with artificial, but then sometimes will go to live bait if I see that most of the good fish are concentrated in a single area on day 1.

Overall, I highly recommend giving artificial lure fishing a shot when pursuing redfish, snook, and/or big trout on the flats or in the backcountry.

It is such a great feeling to know that your success is not dependent on the quality of live bait you have in the live well.

Most importantly, the ability for you to catch more fish in less time will enable you to get out more often and enjoy the outdoors more days than you otherwise could… fish catching doesn’t have to be reserved only when an entire day is open.

I made my transformation in a few years while having to learn everything the hard way.

This article alone would have saved me many trips of getting skunked with a feeling of no control over my ability to get better.

Now earlier I told you about my struggle with catching my targeted fish consistently.

And after receiving such awesome feedback from anglers who took our private online courses so far since launching Salt Strong, I truly believe that I was put on this earth to teach people how to catch more fish…

So I went ahead and made an online course that shows every single tactic and strategy that I’ve found to generate the best results in catching slams throughout all season. It’s called the Inshore Slammer course, which consists of a series of short videos that cover everything you need to know to consistently catch inshore slams without having to rely on live bait.

The 3 core sections of it are:

  • Essential equipment
  • Top lures and how to use/rig them
  • Finding the top feeding grounds for redfish, snook, and big trout in all seasons based on free aerial maps and tide tables

Best of all, you’ll have 24/7 access to this course forever after placing your order… and we even guarantee that you’ll be 100% satisfied with your purchase to ensure that anyone who truly does want to catch more inshore slams has no reason to not give it a shot.

Click Here To Take Advantage Of This Special Offer

What is the Inshore Slammer Course?

  • It’s a video-based online course that you can take at your leisure (total time is roughly 3 hours)
  • And if you somehow feel that you didn’t get enough value or don’t think without a doubt that you can catch more inshore fish, then simply email me and I will gladly refund your purchase with no questions asked
  • Let me repeat that because it begs repeating: If you aren’t 100% satisfied and 100% certain you can catch more redfish, snook, and trout after taking this course, then you get all of your money back. No questions asked. No haggling.
  • So I have taken 100% of the risk off of you and put it on me.

What are you waiting for? Sign up now to start saving money, saving time, and catching more inshore fish!

Yes, I’m ready to start this Risk-Free Online Fishing Course!

Fish on!

Luke Simonds
Salt Strong’s Chief Fishing Addict

P.S. – If you think your inshore angler friends would like this, please Tag them or Share this with them. It would mean a lot to me.

Want to have this entire 7,000+ word article emailed to you in a nice PDF that you can save, download, read, and reference whenever you want?

AND watch the video training where my brother Joe and I talk through each of the three breakthroughs while we share our screen?

AND get the audio download for the training?

Then Click Here to have the full PDF, video, and audio emailed to you instantly.

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Luke SimondsRobbie JohnsonVaughn HatleyLee SnyderBrian Hoffstetter Recent comment authors
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Robbie Johnson

Luke that is a lot of information thanks for all you do and Joe planning getting out next weekend in the kayak Father’ s day weekend a lot of refreshing thoughts and now I need to apply them thanks a lot oh yeah Iam saving a lot of money not donating all those Bass tournaments no more I want to get better at a new game thanks again SALTSTRONG

Lee Snyder

Does anybody else have trouble with the free pdf manifesto link? I hit it and nothing happens.

Vaughn Hatley

Yep, happens to me also!


I know you guys must have seen these weird lines just S. of Sebastian Inlet in the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge visible on Google Maps…What are they?


Too much writing and not enough fishing lol

Ronald Bishop

Luke, I’m new to Salt Strong and I would say based on the amount of time I have fished salt that I am a beginner. I am trying to learn the inshore fishing to be able to teach my young boys. I am currently in the US Navy station on the MS gulf coast. I don’t see much about the MS area. I realize that tips for catching inshore fish are pretty similar but climate/weather can be different. Is there a plan to involve a little more of the MS/AL area? Thanks in advance for any tips.

Eddie Weaver

I’d like to gain more knowledge about fishing around oyster bars in real shallow water (big bend area) especially with these crazy tides. I’d also like to be educated on top water lures. I have not yet be able to land a fish using a top water plug; Cotton Cordell, Rapala, Live Target, etc..

George Winn

One of the things I seem to see a lot is – that we get caught up trying to cast up by the mangroves from our boat, the boat is probably in about 4 feet of water and I keep the boat at distance that makes it a pretty far cast (so we aren’t spooking the fish). But it seems like we’re pushing fish around with the boat and they aren’t necessarily up next to the mangroves. I quite often feel like we need to fish in the area just offshore where we normally position our boat. Any thoughts? Do you think that has to more to do with water temperature this time of year?

Capt Dave Sipler
Capt Dave Sipler

Gulf coaster, right?

Azarias Hernandez

Hey Luke, what oz jighead do you recommend?

Roy @ Capt.Roy\'s bait and Tackle
Roy @ Capt.Roy\'s bait and Tackle

‘Cotee’ jig heads Rule! 1/8 to 5/8ths maybe 1/16 too.I like the 1/8, the 1/4 and the 3/8 for the flats and deeper Dredge holes! Cotee has a grub holding barb on the head, and big molded/painted. realistic eyes! Great Colors, And they can be bought in “Weedless” style! covers you from 2ft to 4 ft and deeper shallower water, and I use the jerk baits luke mentioned. I use jerk baits in deeper water too! Put your favorite curl tail grub 3″ on the jig. I like white or Chart.


Hello anglers!


Would it help to use a water tempurature laser ? Seems the fish like a certain temp.

Tony Stoner

awsome read! Ithink I should have clicked the advanced angler though.