It's been a heck of a winter with the best lure fishing ever. The Trout and Reds have been an absolute blast. The Rapala XRap twitch bait has been a major game changer in my artificial bait regiment.
Our last few trips out we took a gamble and went strictly with XRaps and used them as our search bait instead of our usual Slayer SSB soft plastics. Neither me our my buddy Jonathan wanted to take one for the team and work a jig. The twitch bait addiction is deep seeded in both of us at this point. We fished a number of deep water banks and the fish are either at the bottom of a drop off or suspended higher in the column. Luckily, the fish were suspended and we wore them out. We could have worked right through a fishy spot and missed out with them being on the bottom. The 4" Rapala XRap runs 4-6 feet and we were fishing water deep as 12 feet. It wasn't all luck though, we found them in the same depth in the past.
One thing I've noticed about Trout, especially larger ones, they move around, a lot. We'll often be on them and the bite will die off suddenly. I'll move the boat down the bank 30 or so yards, start fishing and be right back on them again. Often if they aren't at the first move, we'll move back to the other side of the first position and try there. They move but usually not very far.
The fish from the trip with Jonathan, were solid! The two biggest Speckled Trout were 25" and 24". I caught the largest Yellow Mouth I've ever seen at 24" and almost 6 pounds. The Rest of the Trout were barely in the slot at around 18-19 inches. We released a mess of fish over 20 inches. The Reds were most just over slot and the keepers were right at 26 inches. Catching big upper slot Reds on hard baits, especially a subsurface twitch bait is serious fun.
Jonathan prefers a light baitcasting set-up with a medium/light 7 foot Shimano Claris Rod. He runs 15 pound braid and 20 pound mono leader attached to a 4" Silver Mullet color pattern Rapala XRap.
I use something a bit lighter, a 6.5 foot St Croix Eyecon, light/ultralight Rod paired with a Shamano Stradic 1000 reel spooled with 10 pound Spider, Ultracast Braid. I run a 3 foot, 20 pound mono leader. I use a number of 4" Rapala XRap color patterns. The colors that produced for us both days were the Blue Sardine, Glass Ghost, Bunker and Silver Mullet.
Florida inshore charter fishing. Jacksonville fishing charters. Mayport fishing charters.