LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.– Decorated professional angler Shaw Grigsby visited Walt Disney World Resort in Florida recently to meet with Disney Fishing Guides. Naturally he did a little fishing while he was here. Grigsby has competed in more than 300 B.A.S.S. tournaments and totaled nearly 9,000 pounds-worth of catches in his career.
The Bassmaster Elite Series pro who is from Gainesville, Fla., shared his Top 5 tips for fishing with a family at Walt Disney World Resort:
- Whenever you take kids fishing, make sure it is about their fishing day. Don’t make it a day about your fishing. I generally bring snacks, things to do, a small net, towels, bathing suits and lots of sunscreen. Point out any wildlife you see and talk about what you see and what is happening. Whenever I hook a fish, I let them reel the fish in and then help them land the fish, only if it is necessary. If the fish comes off, don’t make a big deal about losing it. Celebrate what the fish felt like and how exciting it was. Be open to what kids want to do and let them explore. My daughter would get bored with fishing and would dip a small net in the seaweed. She started catching seahorses and I never knew they were there! Remember their attention spans are much shorter than ours, so just make it fun and enjoy being outdoors.
- Whenever you are fishing with kids, I highly recommend using a braided line. Braided lines have little to no stretch, which has a number of benefits. It is much easier to feel the bait’s movements and the fish strike. When kids set the hook with a braided line, they get a much better hook set and catch more fish. Braided lines are more durable and line twist does not affect them as much as with other lines. My choice is a lighter braid, 10-15 lbs. The diameter is so small it will not affect the number of strikes. If necessary, a fluorocarbon leader can be attached for use in ultra clear water or with finicky fish.
- Walt Disney World Resort lakes are typical Florida vegetation lakes that lend themselves to fishing with weedless lures. I like to use soft plastic baits in a variety of techniques. The drop shot technique is one of the easiest techniques to catch a fish at Disney. It is simple for anyone to use, especially kids. I use a Trokar TK110 wide gap worm hook in a 1/0 size. After tying it on, I take the tag end (about 6-8 inches long) of the knot and run it back through the eye, pulling the knot slightly inside the hook eye. This allows the point to stand up. Generally, I use a 3/16-ounce drop shot weight attached to the tag end of the knot. The hook can be rigged with a variety of soft plastics, as long as it is rigged weedless. My first choice for the Disney lakes would be a 6-inch Finesse worm in a watermelon red color in the clearer water and junebug in the stained water. The great thing about the rig is that there is no bad way to fish it. Just throw it out and drag it around. Because of the small, light, wire hook, you can get hooked up very easily.
- The Walt Disney World Resort lakes are tremendous top water lakes. Whether you are using the walk the dog type, a hollow body frog, a soft plastic toad, poppers, propeller baits or buzzbaits, they all are very effective and extremely exciting. I like to throw all of these on braided line because it is strong, but more importantly, it floats and it has great hooksets. The braid will also give you longer casts, which is important in a clearer water situation. One thing to remember with the traditional top water is off time. Walk or pop the bait three or four times and then let it sit five to fifteen seconds, then start working it again. That off time, especially in Florida, is when a fish will strike. With the buzzbaits and toads, it is a constant movement but adds a few brief twitches. With all top water baits, hesitate slightly before you set the hook. Generally, less than a second of hesitation will allow the fish to get the bait in its mouth before you set the hook.
- Being able to feel a fish strike a bait will make a huge difference in your fishing success. It is important to be able to feel the movement of the bait during the retrieve. When a fish strike occurs, you may feel the movement or maybe a total lack of movement. A lack of movement will occur when the fish gets the bait and swims toward you causing slack in the line. The only clue you may have when a fish strikes and swims toward you is that you don’t feel the bait as you normally would during the retrieve. Learn the way your bait feels on the first cast or two. When that feel changes, you may have a strike. There are a couple of ways to increase your sensitivity. First is to hold the rod gently but securely. If you hold the rod tightly it is harder for any movement to be transmitted through the rod. Second is to get direct line contact. With a bait caster it is easy – simply hold the reel in your palm and place your index finger in front of the reel where the line can touch your finger. A spinning reel is a little harder; when you are fishing a soft plastic or something with a slow retrieve, pick up the line with your index finger so that it runs over your finger as you retrieve the bait. Gaining a little sensitivity will allow you to catch more fish and make your day more fun.