wct

How to fish an estuary?

Rate this topic

15 posts in this topic

Newbie here hoping to get some advice.  A river outlet has a lot of bait fish moving out in low tide and looks like bluefish are feeding in shallow water. Tried throwing  metals but couldn’t catch any. Any idea what to do to catch them? Would you use popper or chunk bait? Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fish about 4 hours into the drop. The water level will be below the banks an spartina grass, the bait will have nowhere to hide and be swept down current. This will attract the predators, and the more gathered to feed the easier they will take your lures. Current and competition mean they've got to grab their food quickly or lose it, and can't hesitate and look it over. Try casting across and slightly up current with plastic swimmers or unweighted soft plastics if they'll hit on top. Let them swing across the current. Let out a little more line and repeat, so you cover more water. If they're not taking on top put those soft plastics on jig heads or keep those lipped swimmers on a tight line so they dive.  Try casting some poppers over the adjacent deeper water. Bluefish may be feeding deeper there (you see the ones in the shallows, but won't see these unless they hit something on the surface) and they often have trouble ignoring poppers. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could try cast netting some of those baitfish and live Lining them or as cut bait. I was on the local bridge the other night on the outgoing and couldn’t buy a bite right after the tide started to go out the bait started coming out, so I ran to my truck and grab my cast net and nailed some nice size peanut bunker and giant spearing. The minute I switched over from artificials to  bait I immediately started hooking up with nice size schoolies and 2 to 3 pound blues.So you never know, what makes a good angler is being able to match the hatch and adapt to different techniques in any given situation to consistently catch fish. EA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, ExcessiveAngler said:

You could try cast netting some of those baitfish and live Lining them or as cut bait. I was on the local bridge the other night on the outgoing and couldn’t buy a bite right after the tide started to go out the bait started coming out, so I ran to my truck and grab my cast net and nailed some nice size peanut bunker and giant spearing. The minute I switched over from artificials to  bait I immediately started hooking up with nice size schoolies and 2 to 3 pound blues.So you never know, what makes a good angler is being able to match the hatch and adapt to different techniques in any given situation to consistently catch fish. EA

I hope you weren’t in Connecticut as cast nets are illegal in CT. Tax you to death and regulations galore.  That one makes no sense to be. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

Besides the advice above, I'll add some caveats since I almost exclusively fish estuaries.

  1. Scout out the place in your kayak at low tide and go into the very shallow spots.  Note all the channels and little "creeks" that move water out of the eel grass and off any mud flats.  These are your ambush spots.  Note this in a detailed log bookl
     
  2. High tide kayak provides no intel, and in most estuaries is the WORST tide to fish.  That being said, constantly fish a particular estuary may get you some reasonable high tide spots, as I've found, but it's still my least favorite tide.  Once again do the research.
     
  3. Don't discount early incoming tide fishing, however this takes some extended research.  For example, I figured out that fish like feed in a small, mud-flat cove by me and positioning myself in the little channel that feeds water into this cove has provided me with my largest fish in both of the last two seasons.  Remember bass only need as much water as you need to paddle a kayak to get where they're going.  On the flip side, when the tide in the cove is dropping to less than 2', fishing this same spot is also productive.
     
  4. When you're fishing skinny water, smaller floating plugs and poppers are most appropriate.  The bait tends to be smaller and there isn't much water, so bombarding the water w/a 2 oz popper will scare the fish, not lure them in.  Even with a 3/4 ounce popper, my weapon of choice, I'll see a huge V-wake take off away as a particularly noisy cast hits the water from time to time.
     
  5. Since you've scouted your places in advance, you'll not need your fish finder on if you have one.  I NEVER use mine after one "learning experience".  I was in "the spot" at "the tide" at "the time" and fish were just swirling around my popper with no strikes.  I was trying to figure out WTF was going on and looked at my sounder, saying to myself, "You're anchored and you know your in 6' of water.  WTF do you even have that on?"  I flipped it off and the very next cast got pounded, as did the next 6 in a row.  To complete the experiment, I turned it back on and the hitless swirls resumed.  Guess who no longer uses his fish finder once he sets up in the estuary?
     
  6. Obvious, but I'll say it anyway, "Stripers", especially in an estuary, along with "Sleep" are two mutually exclusive words that begin with the letter "S".  Some of my best spots turn on 30 min before sunrise and shut down 30 min later, and that tends to be independent of the tide.  Of course if you tidal sweet spot overlaps that daylight window, Poseidon smiles upon you...
Edited by Roccus7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

 

1 hour ago, fishoninct said:

I hope you weren’t in Connecticut as cast nets are illegal in CT. Tax you to death and regulations galore.  That one makes no sense to be. 

Depends on where you are. 

Marine Dist. You can use it. Inland Dist you can't. 

 

Screen shot of the DEEP site

Marine dist. 

Capture+_2021-10-10-06-36-44.png

Inland Dist6162c34117e14_Capture_2021-10-10-06-40-28.png.4d8915e74af01e9fafc9227137c9b5b8.png

Edited by PSegnatelli

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, PSegnatelli said:

 

Depends on where you are. 

Marine Dist. You can use it. Inland Dist you can't. 

 

Screen shot of the DEEP site

Marine dist. 

Capture+_2021-10-10-06-36-44.png

Inland Dist6162c34117e14_Capture_2021-10-10-06-40-28.png.4d8915e74af01e9fafc9227137c9b5b8.png

Thanks for the correction. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All good advice, I'll echo pencil poppers, pencil poppers and more pencil poppers. Never to shallow to try. I've taken some really nice bass and blues in estuary type water in 2' or less. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/10/2021 at 6:25 AM, Roccus7 said:

Besides the advice above, I'll add some caveats since I almost exclusively fish estuaries.

  1. Scout out the place in your kayak at low tide and go into the very shallow spots.  Note all the channels and little "creeks" that move water out of the eel grass and off any mud flats.  These are your ambush spots.  Note this in a detailed log bookl
     
  2. High tide kayak provides no intel, and in most estuaries is the WORST tide to fish.  That being said, constantly fish a particular estuary may get you some reasonable high tide spots, as I've found, but it's still my least favorite tide.  Once again do the research.
     
  3. Don't discount early incoming tide fishing, however this takes some extended research.  For example, I figured out that fish like feed in a small, mud-flat cove by me and positioning myself in the little channel that feeds water into this cove has provided me with my largest fish in both of the last two seasons.  Remember bass only need as much water as you need to paddle a kayak to get where they're going.  On the flip side, when the tide in the cove is dropping to less than 2', fishing this same spot is also productive.
     
  4. When you're fishing skinny water, smaller floating plugs and poppers are most appropriate.  The bait tends to be smaller and there isn't much water, so bombarding the water w/a 2 oz popper will scare the fish, not lure them in.  Even with a 3/4 ounce popper, my weapon of choice, I'll see a huge V-wake take off away as a particularly noisy cast hits the water from time to time.
     
  5. Since you've scouted your places in advance, you'll not need your fish finder on if you have one.  I NEVER use mine after one "learning experience".  I was in "the spot" at "the tide" at "the time" and fish were just swirling around my popper with no strikes.  I was trying to figure out WTF was going on and looked at my sounder, saying to myself, "You're anchored and you know your in 6' of water.  WTF do you even have that on?"  I flipped it off and the very next cast got pounded, as did the next 6 in a row.  To complete the experiment, I turned it back on and the hitless swirls resumed.  Guess who no longer uses his fish finder once he sets up in the estuary?
     
  6. Obvious, but I'll say it anyway, "Stripers", especially in an estuary, along with "Sleep" are two mutually exclusive words that begin with the letter "S".  Some of my best spots turn on 30 min before sunrise and shut down 30 min later, and that tends to be independent of the tide.  Of course if you tidal sweet spot overlaps that daylight window, Poseidon smiles upon you...

Going to try Point #5. Never thought of that......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/10/2021 at 5:11 AM, fishoninct said:

I hope you weren’t in Connecticut as cast nets are illegal in CT. Tax you to death and regulations galore.  That one makes no sense to be. 

Cast nets ARE legal in CT. Just can’t use them on inland waters.  And you can’t take more than your daily allowed limit of 50 bunker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.