After being a fishing guide for more than 20 years, Capt. Craig Lahr needs a perfect storm to get fish biting in unique places.
“I enjoy that type of fishing a lot more than some of the other stuff I do. I’m a light tackle enthusiast and love it.”
While most people were concerned with how they would stay dry during Hurricane Hermine, Lahr was out enjoying the rain with fishing rod in hand.
“Wednesday was the best day. It had just really started raining and with the moon having an early incoming tide around 10 in the morning it was the ideal timing,” said Lahr.
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He put on his rain gear, hopped in his car and drove to areas where most people wouldn’t imagine snook, tarpon, and redfish live side by side with largemouth bass. He fishes areas where saltwater dead end into freshwater. When the tide is extremely high with rain and wind just right, it creates areas of retention ponds or runoffs where the salt and freshwater meet
“The last two hours of the incoming tide around the new and full moon and beginning of the outgoing are the best. I go everywhere looking for spots, trying to figure out where the fish are and how they move. Areas with pipes that mix the salt and freshwater together usually will have fish. You find snook, redfish, and tarpon that get landlocked in there.”
On Wednesday, Lahr found himself hooking up with prized fish in confined quarters. He estimates catching four tarpon to 12-pounds, 19-snook, seven redfish, countless jacks and ladyfish, and four largemouth bass in the same spot. His best spot was on a golf course where the rain and tide pushed water into freshwater retention ponds.
For bait, Lahr uses light tackle and tries to match the hatch. Small jigs between 1/16 to 1/4 of an ounce with dark soft plastic seemed to work best, such as dark green Saltwater Assassins. A new favorite is the Voodoo Mullet.
Lahr explains that fishing like this is something he always looks forward to.
“You can look on your phone and find spots using Google Earth, and then a lot of the fun is trying to figure out how you’re going to fish it. It’s cool because you don’t know exactly where it is and you have to find a way there. It’s all about timing and it’s when we have the big tides that’s the time to go.”
Around Manatee County he said there are many hidden spots from golf courses, to the side of highways and in residential neighborhoods. But he cautions people make sure to know the area they are visiting.
“You have to be careful of getting kicked out of private communities and not trespassing,” he explained.
Source: U.S. Naval Observatory data