Hard Baits for Fishing the Shallows

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Hard Baits for Fishing the Shallows

It was January 2021 here in Jacksonville Florida and I was on the hunt to find large redfish. By large, I mean top slot, 27-inch redfish. As an inshore charter captain and a tournament angler, I use various baits to search for fish. The water was shallow, maybe 1-foot deep and I was in the mood to throw a hard bait, so I had to choose between the proven Yo-Zuri Pencil walk the dog style lure and the Yo-Zuri Surface Minnow, which is a bait that swims from the surface down to approximately 6 inches. I went into my tacklebox an pulled out a 3 ½-inch Yo-Zuri Surface Minnow hard bait. Most anglers would choose a soft bait or a top water walk the dog type lure in these shallow conditions, but I wanted to test the waters with this Surface Minnow bait.

The tide was low here in Northeast Florida exposing oyster bars up on the mud flat I was scouting. I tied on this 3 ½-inch Surface Minnow. My choice of line is 15-pound braid and a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader approximately 3-feet long. I slung the Surface Minnow out onto the flat. As I retrieved it in a slow manner, I watched it create a nice wake across the surface, while providing a nice wobble. Bam! There it was, a nice top slot redfish. The stainless-steel treble hooks were set and the drag was ripping. I landed the fish and thought ok, we might be onto something here. I also thought to myself shouldn’t I be throwing a soft plastic here? Most would! So, I thought let me try this again. As I trolled along the flats and threw the Yo-Zuri Surface Minnow at the oyster bars, it produced multiple fish, including redfish, trout and believe it or not, even a flounder. The flounder was a nice surprise but I wasn’t shocked given the 3D prism finish that sends out flashes of light along with the ability to be able to fish this bait along flats where flounder tend to hang out.

The Yo-Zuri Surface Minnow is an incredible inshore bait for targeting redfish and trout. It has a tough, durable finish, creates a nice V wake and is able to be fished in shallow waters where most wouldn’t consider throwing a hard bait. It is nice to have an option to use a hard bait in shallow conditions and it is simply a game changer for the inshore angler. I always have a Surface Minnow tied on whether I am scouting, guiding clients or tournament fishing. It is a great bait for finding and catching fish! Speaking of tournaments, I caught many 7-plus-pound redfish on this bait producing 1st and 2nd place finishes. It is always nice to have second option when fishing a spot and this bait gives you just that. It comes in a variety of colors from Chartreuse, Real Mullet, Sardine, all the way to my favorite, gold black. Check them out a Yo-zuri.com. Pick your favorite color, tie it on and throw it in the shallows so you too can see the benefits of using a hard bait on the flats!

By Capt. Frank Risk – Feel It N Reel It Charters, LLC

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