By RICK FRAZIER
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 8, 2001
Though it's winter, this is one of the best times to introduce youngsters to fishing. First, it's not blistering hot, and second, the ladyfish and silver trout are everywhere. Kids will have a ball catching fish until their arms are too tired to hold the rod.
The same rod and reel can catch either species. Nothing fancy is required. A 6-foot rod and a medium spinning reel with 10-pound test and 20-pound leader will do. A 6-foot rod will be much easier to handle than a 6-6 or a 7-footer. Casting distance isn't that important. Simplicity is.
Bait is also easy. A one-eighth--ounce jig dressed with a chartreuse or hot-pink curly-tail is it. Have plenty of soft curly-tails because they'll definitely go through a bunch. To make things even more interesting, tie on a tandem jig rig. The look on the kids' faces when they pull in two fish at a time is worth it.
Silver trout are all around the Redington Long Pier. If you're in a boat, drifting is the key. Just drop the jig or jigs behind the boat and let the lure bounce along the bottom as the boat moves. If you're on the pier, have the youngster cast the jig out and reel it in slowly. Ladyfish are along the grass flat edges and easily can be found. Look for brown pelicans diving from heights. They'll lead you right to the poor man's tarpon. Have the youngsters cast out and reel their bait in quickly. In either case, it won't take long!
- Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters in St. Petersburg. Call (727) 448-3817.