What does a fishing guide do when he has a day or two off? You guessed it, more times than not he goes fishing. Recently, having a few days off allowed me to travel out of my area to do a little fishing. I always enjoy fishing other areas and seeing what they have to offer. I journeyed south to fish the areas near Ft. Pierce and Stuart. I had the great privilege of fishing one day with Mark Nichols, owner operator of D.O.A. Lures. We fished, philosophized, and generally just had fun.
What a great trip, Mark acted as the guide and I actually got to fish all day with only myself to take care of. Needless to say, I picked up a few pointers on how to fish the various lures Mark is famous for. The main lures we threw during the day were the D.O.A. Shrimp, The D.O.A. C.A.L. series jerk bait (with and without the Chug Head), and the TerrorEyz.
We headed out around 6:30 for a spot Mark often visits for tarpon. We made a few casts and observed the area before deciding the tarpon were not there on this occasion. We moved to another likely tarpon spot and were greeted by rolling juvenile tarpon. We cast to the rolling fish with several different lures and color combinations, only to be rejected by the silver kings. Mark responded to the situation with one word. “Next!”
Another short boat ride placed us on a beautiful grass flat full of gorgeous pot holes. This area had produced good trout and snook fishing for Mark in the past. I fished a C.A.L. jerk bait in the rainbow trout color. I had several strikes and a couple of near hookups but missed them all. Mark was fishing a glow shrimp suspended under a Clacker float in the oval style. You can actually buy these already rigged in what they call the Deadly Combo or you can buy the Clackers separately and rig them yourself. Several quick strikes and a slot sized trout had me thinking about changing to the same rig. It was about this time Mark says, “I probably have another Clacker somewhere.”
That was the only invitation I needed. I accepted the offer and he dug out a cigar shaped Clacker. I rigged up with about 18 inches of 30 pound fluorocarbon between a glow shrimp and the float. If you were just trout fishing 20 pound would be fine but in Mark’s area you have to be ready just in case a snook shows up. If you are spooled with braided line you might want to include a short piece of leader material between the braid and the Clacker before attaching the main leader.
I began working the new rig as Mark instructed. A quick jerk or two and then let it rest for up to 30 seconds before jerking again. He says you can vary the number of jerks between rests. When you jerk the Clacker makes a noise and a commotion in the water that attracts the fish. The glow shrimp will rise towards the surface on the jerk and then float lazily back to the depth controlled by the length of the leader. I was in the process of a quick deliberate jerk to “work” the rig when a flash comes from right to left as the glow shrimp rose near the waters surface following the jerk. The big trout’s back came out of the water before the fish and the glow shrimp disappeared below the wind rippled surface of the water. A few minutes later we were viewing a seven pound spotted sea trout along side the boat. A quick photo was taken and the big trout was returned to the river to grow some more.
We fished several more hours on one of the best weather days of the spring season. By days end we each caught more trout on the Deadly Combo. Mark fished the same rainbow trout jerk bait I mentioned earlier, only rigged with the Chug Head, to catch several more trout up to four pounds. I caught a few more trout on the jerk bait rigged on a 1/8 ounce white C.A.L. jighead.
Nothing beats being on the water with a friend, sharing stories, and catching a few fish as a bonus.