First, the best all-around rod and reel is a medium-to-fast action spinning rod in the 20lb class. If you are fishing offshore in deep water or near heavy structure rig accordingly.
There are few things that are a must wherever you fish in Florida. One key item is to have an assorted variety of fluorocarbon leader. It is costly, but well worth the price. You are paying for its properties of being nearly invisible to the fish. On average I would start with 25-pound fluorocarbon leader, but you should also have 20, 30 and 40 pound fluorocarbon leader with you.
Depending on the type of structure you're fishing and the species of fish you are targeting, you will need to alternate leaders. An example would be if you're fishing for trout in a grass flat, you only need 20-pound fluorocarbon leader. Another example would be if you're fishing for Snook around docks, you would use a 40-pound fluorocarbon leader. You should have a lot of jig heads in the range of 3/16 ounce to a 1/2 ounce. The color of the jig head does not matter as much as the quality of the hook. I like to stick to redheads and whiteheads, for my jig colors.
You can place any plastic bait on your jig head hook. Here are a few that I highly suggest. Berkley Gulp 3-inch shrimp in the color of New Penny. DOA shad tail, in three varieties: Arkansas Glow; Root Beer with chartreuse tail; and a straight glow color. Another thing which is really excellent instead of a plastic lure on your jig head is a live shrimp. This combination of jig head and live shrimp is probably the No.1 way in Florida to catch multiple species of fish.
Other lures that you should have would be a Mirrolure Mirrodine in all three sizes. That would be the mini size, the midsize and the XL. These are suspending twitch baits and mimic a scaled sardine, the most popular live bait for Snook, redfish, trout, tarpon and cobia. The colors should be in these numbers: 49, 18 and 21.
The last two lures that I would make sure are in my tackle box are the Zara Spook Jr. in the bone silver color, and a Spro bucktail jig in white-and-green. These would be in jig head sizes of a 1/4 to 3/8th oz. These lures will catch fish for any land-based or kayak angler. Something that land based anglers and kayak anglers don't do enough is chum. Chumming is an effective way to catch more fish, and for many species of fish.
A great way for you to chum from land or your kayak is a frozen chum block. Easy, fast and pretty effective. But the best way to chum is to buy live shrimp or even fresh-frozen shrimp. Chop the shrimp up into little fingernail sized pieces. Then throw those pieces up-tide from where you're fishing and let them drift into the area you're targeting. Then take one live shrimp on a 1/0 hook ( sometimes you will have to add a split shot according to the tidal current and depth of water that the fish are located in) and cast it up-tide exactly where you threw your chum. With your bail open, let your shrimp drift freely just behind the chum. You will be pulling line off your spool by hand to keep your bait naturally drifting with that chum. Do not lift your rod to get line off your spool -- it just jerks your live shrimp in an unnatural way. This will spook the fish. You will be surprised how many more fish you will catch with the hand-spool technique.
Whether in a kayak, fishing a bridge, or on a beach, you should always have a sabiki rig to catch whatever live baitfish is present in the area you are fishing. Scaled sardines, Threadfin Herring's, Pigfish, Pinfish etc., are all excellent to have free-lined on a 1/0 hook while you are casting your artificial lures. The baitfish that you catch in the area you are fishing is what many of the fish are eating.
Thank you for sending in your question to The Online Fisherman.
Captain David M Rieumont
The Online Fisherman Inc
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