Lures over live bait , why ? I struggled for four years putting that question to the test . I was not a guide at that time and was not even thinking about making a living fishing but I wanted to win a fishing tournament . Live bait caught fish , lots of small fish and I usually anchored fishing a small area never exploring the rest of the water world around me . Lures and a trolling motor forced me to move over vast stretches of water and with a depth finder I was not just floating over the bottom I knew what was down there. Lures caught big fish and that was the single big drive. There was no limits in lure fishing and if you did not like the way a certain lure was made you could change it or make one yourself . Once I figured out patterns on what fish liked times of year, tide changes , and bait forage . Things became easier and it was only a matter of time before something big was going to happen.
This holds the key to my development as a Angler
Those learning years between the fall of 95 and 98 required long hours on the water and averaging three to four days off a week working as a truck driver seemed like a perfect time in my life for this to happen. I had fished as many tournaments as I could but the best placing was a 6th place in the Governor’s cup ( redfish, trout ) held in August of 98 at the conch house in St. Augustine. I remember when everything changed that fall in 98 while fishing a IFT championship . That late afternoon in the tournament I had lost a big trout and a little later a good redfish. I was beat but not beat down because I had a chance , I was in the game and later that week me and Chip decided to team up for next years local tour , this time lures only and all the time. There was only one Angler at that time who was really good at this and his name was Rick Thacker of jaw jacker jigs. Most other Anglers backed up their lure trials with live bait and were not fully confident at that time to go the distance in a tournament with lures only and tournaments allowed the use of live-bait.
A captain’s license is what’s needed by all guides to take folks fishing and though it is not easy to obtain one it can cloud the real expert resume that one may be asking ,” what makes this guide a better choice than others. All guides have a license but there are things that separate guides as far as pure fishing knowledge and experience. As we take this journey of my story and what I have done in fishing. You will learn just what separates the best from the rest and what I specialize in to give you the best enjoyable day on the water. My school started with the trolling motor and since that day I first fished with Chip I spent a great deal of my time using this tool to give me a personal knowledge of the Jacksonville river system and beyond. I had no wise old fisherman who took me under his wing and tell me about areas where fish were ,I learned the hard way and worked for that knowledge and as you will hopefully further your read and figure out I got rather good at this very challengeing sport of fishing for redfish , trout , and flounder.
That single day started a want to learn everything about lures and which ones would trick the fish I was fishing for. The 52m mirrolure is probably the toughest lure anyone can use. Building confidence can only be had by constant practice. You see the 52m is a sinking plug with treble hooks and has no lip for easy cranking action. Most people would cast this lure out and quickly lose confidence or get hung up and lose the lure. The fact is this lure drops on the fall horizontal and with a feel for the speed of the sink rate and knowing how and when to twich the lure makes this lure a strong chess piece.
Steep drop offs that drop to 8 ft. of water are where this lure shines. I later incorporated the 51m and 7m two other mirrolure plugs that work in much shallower water and my chess pieces grew. More famous was the secret 72m mirrolure , a larger profile mirrOlure that I discovered in catalogs focused more for tarpon or large snook. You will not find one guide who knows this lure more than I in this northeast Florida area and only a handfull of anglers out there who are confident in using this big trout bait. Chip Davis today replies that in those early learning days that he created a Monster and that is Captain Roger Perry Bump.