• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On December 13, 2016
  • Comments
  •  7

With the winter season on our doorstep, Nick Honachefsky provides a timely fishing checklist for traveling anglers heading south to Florida’s warm waters.

Snowbirds from the Northeast looking to escape the winter wonderland head south to Florida’s boundless East, West and Keys coastlines to fish, but the key to a happy trip is to be properly prepared for productivity. From clothing to tackle, be ready to tackle all aspects of weather, conditions and species of fish. Weather wise, even though its usually swelteringly hot, mornings on the water do get chilly and bright, always remember to pack Costa polarized sunglasses, Grunden’s Stormlight windbreaker and a pair of Columbia wading shoes.

Whether you fish from bridges, shorelines or via boat, you want to cover all angles of tackle for a variety of species and environments such as snapper on the bridges, speckled trout in the channels, tarpon rolling off the bulkhead, snook off the docks, etc. Fill a Plano 3700 series Tackle Bag with practical gear first, including a Headlamp, Calcutta Pliers and scissors, and a simple bait knife. Pack a variety of leader material Trik Fish 40 to 60-pound mono or 20 to 60-pound Seaguar Fluorocarbon. Grab a couple Plano 3700 pro-latch storage boxes and fill them with basic terminal tackle to cover everything from livelining to chunking, including Gamakatsu or Owner Octopus and Baitholder hooks size #8 to 8/0, 75-pound barrel swivels, 50-pound TA Clips, bobber floats, and bank and egg sinkers from ½-ounce to 4 ounces. There are countless options when it comes to artificial lures to throw, but I usually pack lures that will cover popping, plugging and jigging including Bomber A-Salts, 1 to 2-ounce Crippled Herring and Williamson Gomoku jigs, Storm paddletail shads, 3/8 to 2-ounce white or chartreuse bucktails, Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows, Creek Chub and Tactical Angler poppers, ¼ to 1-ounce Kalin’s leadheads to tip with Berkley Gulp! New Penny Shrimp, Swimmin’ Minnows or soft rubber baits 4 to 5-3/4 inch Bass Assassins and Fin-S fish.

Finally, for my travel weapon of choice, I’ve tested and believe in a St. Croix, TIS70MHF3 7-foot three-piece travel rod rated 10 to 20-pound, matched with a Shimano Stradic 5000 reel, spooled with 30-pound Power Pro braid. Phew! That’s a lot of info there, but believe It or not, it’s a basic rundown on what to bring to battle any Florida fish you may come across. You never want to be underprepared when breaking away for a few hours from the resort to wet a line. This checklist should be a good jumping off point this winter to get any traveling angler heading to Florida in the game.

Gear Used


Shimano ST4000XGFK Stradic FK Spinning Reel

The Shimano Stradic FK Spinning Reels are designed for anglers who demand toughness and durability in their tackle. Shimano’s Hagane reel design allows for these reels to be long lasting through your many fishing trips.


St. Croix

St. Croix Tidemaster Inshore Spinning Travel Rod

The new handcrafted Tidemaster Inshore Spinning Travel series rods are made with premium SCII graphite for strength and durability. Batson Forecaste hard aluminum-oxide guides feature new 316 stainless steel frames for dramatically improved corrosion resistance, especially compared to 304 stainless steel frames.Tidemaster rods are meticulously finished with two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish.


Costa Del Mar

Costa Del Mar Fantail Sunglasses

The Costa Del Mar Fantail sunglasses are very similar to the Costa Del Mar Blackfin sunglasses. The only difference is that the frames are slightly smaller. For those anglers who prefer a smaller lens. The Costa Del Mar Fantail sunglasses feature a lens size of 59mm. The frame is also co-molded. The frame of the Fantail is made from nylon material, making the Costa Del Mar Fantail sunglasses comfortable, durable, and ready for any angling or water adventure you have in store.


Berkley Gulp!

Berkley Gulp! Saltwater Shrimp

Looks, feels, and smells like live shrimp! Rig and fish using any technique appropriate for live shrimp. Extremely durable and long-lasting.



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