By: Ty Hibbs “Coast to coast like French bread and toast”. Words a wise man once told me. Maybe meant as more of a joke, but little did I know those words would pertain to this trip as much as it did. I woke up to a call on a Wednesday morning from Chas telling him to meet him at his house in an hour an we’ll head east looking for some fish armed with only a some Matrix Shads, Vortex Shads and Golden Eye Jigheads. The plan was to first head to Perdido Key, Florida and sightfish some flats with the sun high in the sky. As we arrived we launched the boat at the nearest launch which happened to be in the ICW. Which happens to be the same ICW that runs by us back home in Louisiana. The wind was light, and sun high. We headed for Big Lagoon and immediately got on a couple flats and took advantage of some crystal clean water and bright sunlight. After seeing a few fish in a couple hours and not getting much of a reaction out of them, we the started slinging our Matrix Shads as far as we could. Bomb casting seemed to be the trick on the flats after catching a few fish. Not long after, the deep water we know best got the best of us and we just had to go jig it. Jigging the deeper boat docks yielded a nice a lot red that definitely was no where near to as fat as redfish are back home by us, but it definitely still looked great in that clean water. After fishing all day, Chas and I decided to fish some lights off of the ICW that night. As we pulled up to the first light, the water’s surface was filled with explosions left and right. After casting many times on the edge of the light, catching lady fish and blue fish, we creeped closer to the light and started to jig some really nice specks from under the light using the Magneto Matrix on a quarter ounce Jighead. Once we figured out how the specks wanted the bait presented to them, it was game on and we caught our Florida limit of quality specks in no time and could have kept catching and releasing them all night. It was pretty cool to catch so many, it was even cooler to know that we would have a meal to eat for the next couple nights since our coast to coast plan was to just fish every hour of the day and bringing hardly even bread to eat everyday. The next destination to fish was Pensacola. The first thing we noticed about Pensacola were the many bridges built just like our causeway bridge back home. We shot straight for the bridges at first and found lady fish and a few other fish that either broke us off or we didn’t fight long enough to tell what they were. Pensacola was pretty tough, but once we found some really deep water, around 30 feet, we began jigging and found loads of white trout and then I lost a pretty big speck at the boat. The way the numerous bridges were set up was just incredible. We figured if we came and jigged them in the fall, they would be on fire. As the sun got higher in the sky, we decided to then pick up and head on over the Destin. Destin was a pretty awesome place. We fished areas in the bay and in the gulf that were like nothing I’ve ever seen before back home. Two mornings in a row, I woke up early and ran to some flats we had been fishing the past couple days. I sightfished them and seen some of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. The water was crystal clear and allowed me to see monster speckled trout and a ton of reds from hundreds of yards away. As I creeped up and down these flats for two days, I noticed that these fish were extremely spooky. I through just about everything at them and even tried topwaters. I ended up breaking one red off on a Magneto Matrix Shad on some extremely light line and got a couple follows by trout and reds on the fly, but that was about it. Those fish are really smart in that crystal clean water. Some of the most consistent action we had, was on one of the buoys right outside of the Destin bay pass. We pulled up to that buoy one morning and noticed there were thousands of hard tails underneath the rig. I immediately grabbed the mini spin with one of the prototype Mini Matrix Shads and casted. It was every cast on those hard tails for as long as you wanted to sit there. Those fish were loving the new bait. It was pretty awesome to get our first look at the action of the new bait and how the fish like it. One of the other really cool things about Destin Bay were some of the really cool fish we caught in the deeper parts of the bay. One day when were running across the bay, we noticed a captain that was just sitting out in the middle of the bay. We knew he had to be up to something. Not too long after we had seen him catch a pretty big fish on a really big rod. We put that spot in our mine and made to run over there the next day. When we got out there the next day, we headed to that spot and started searching on the depthfinder. All of the sudden, we noticed there was some trash on the bottom at around 35 feet. As we jigged around we didn’t have that much action so we looked on the gps for another obstruction or other wreck and headed that way. As soon as we pulled up to the next one, both of our cast had our rods bent over with some really nice sized fish. Chas got his up and it ended up being an undersized grouper and after fighting mine for about 10 minutes, I felt my self tangled around all kinds of junk down on the bottom in which I never could the fish out. Florida was a pretty incredible place. In the time we were there, we learned tons of new ways to fish and that the same techniques we use at home work just as well in Florida. One of my favorite things was seeing all of the monster trout on the flats. One of these days I’ll sightfish one of those extremely spooky monsters on those flats with the Matrix, you can bet on that. If the Matrix Shad worked that well in the heat of the summer when most people aren’t even fishing, much less even throwing plastics, I can only imagine what the fall will be like with the Matrix and our newest Vortex Shad colors. Be on the lookout for our news Mini Matrix Shad soon as well. It will be great for pan fish and also I think it will be great for fishing the lights as well as for spooky fish. If your around the panhandle area soon, stop on in to J&M Tackle, Grays Tackle, or Destin Marina, grab some Matrix Shads, Vortex Shads and Golden Eye jigheads and get catching!
Author: Chas Champagnehttp://matrixshad.com
Capt. Chas Champagne is an avid angler, located in Slidell, LA. Capt. Chas owns and operates Dockside Bait & Tackle and also manufactures his own tackle producing the Matrix Shad fishing lure and the Golden Eye jig heads.