The “hot ticket” for inshore fishing this spring is the Rapala® Floating Magnum®, says George Poveromo, host of World of Saltwater Fishing on NBC Sports.
“They’ll hit that plug like a ton of bricks,” he says. “They’re really incredible for trolling.”
While tarpon and snook are among the inshore saltwater species known to smack a Magnum, the Gag Grouper of Biscayne Bay have been Poveromo’s target lately. When Gags group up around rocky outcroppings in the Bay’s channels, Poveromo will troll two Floating Magnums about 6 miles an hour in eight to 10 feet of water, letting the baits back far enough to cruise about two or three feet off the bottom.
“We’ll get that plug right to the bottom, but when we feel it bounce bottom, we’ll crank it up about two to three feet,” he instructs. “Then we keep the plug positioned in that depth and troll over rock piles that are deep in the channel, where these grouper like to hide. Then all of a sudden, bam! They smack it.”
Built of tough African Abachi wood, Floating Magnums feature a tapered-lip design that imparts Rapala’s legendary wounded-minnow action at any speed retrieve. Perma Steel hooks and rugged rust-resistant hardware ensure premium performance.
Proper rod position helps keep the Floating Magnum in the strike zone when trolling. “Hold your rod tip right at the water’s surface, to decrease the line’s angle of entry into the water,” Poveromo instructs.
Because he’s targeting fish in rocks, Poveromo relies on a main line of 50-pound braid. He adds a Bimini Twist before tying on a barrel swivel and 5- to 6-foot leader of 50-pound-test fluorocarbon. He ties his Floating Magnum to the leader with an overhand loop knot, “so there’s a little bit of a loop that that plug can swim around on.”
Sufix 832 Advanced Superline is available in strengths up to 80-pound test. Sufix 100% Fluorocarbon Invisiline Leaders are available in strengths up to 150-pound-test.
Although bait colors are often of great importance, Poveromo’s productive Gag Grouper bite appears to rely more on the Floating Magnum’s action and running depth. “There’s really hasn’t been a standout color,” he says. “The critical part is making sure that lure is fishing within three feet above the bottom. If it’s trolling too high, those fish aren’t likely to come up and eat it.”
Poveromo and guests on his boat have hooked up with big Gags on Floating Magnums in many color patterns, including Red Head, Gold Fluorescent Orange and Green Mackerel. Other color patterns in which the Floating Magnum is available are: Dorado, Firetiger, Mullet, Silver and Silver Mackerel.
As much fun as Poveromo’s been having trolling for Gag Grouper, the Floating Magnum has produced some additional memorable moments, including catching a 100-pound-class tarpon while filming an episode of his show. “It’s also excellent for snook,” he says.
And it’s excellent all year, for all three species.
“It’s something that has no real time frame on it,” Poveromo says.