Once the beach toys, swimsuits and sunblock have been packed, remember to load up your bass fishing rods and stock a tacklebox with a few lures. Just because you don’t own saltwater gear doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of some downtime during your beach vacation by stretching your bass string with some inshore fishing. And unlike bass, most saltwater species will not be as negatively affected by the all-too-dependable February cold fronts.
Whether you book an inshore fishing trip with a guide or visit a tackle store to get tips on hot spots, most bass fishing tackle will do an adequate job on redfish, Spanish mackerel, flounder, speckled trout, bluefish and even small sharks. Medium-heavy baitcasters and spinning outfits will get you through the lion’s share of inshore species. Pack along a heavy action flippin’ stick if you are headed to a locale that boasts monster redfish.
Lure selections also easily cross over from freshwater to saltwater fishing. Throw topwater chuggers or walking baits, such as a Heddon Spook or Pop-R, for speckled trout and redfish. Crankbaits are a good choice for reds, with the Mann’s 1-Minus a popular choice. Speckled trout are goofy for jerkbaits at times, and soft plastic minnow-imitations are killer.
Color selection might require a tweak, although you won’t have to go too far. Natural shad colors — pearl with a black back, or chartreuse with a black or green back — for topwaters and crankbaits will perform. Some anglers prefer specific shades, such as the popular Texas Chicken, or baits with pinks, oranges, limes and purples that have a pattern of dots or lines.