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Ask SWS

Our experts answer your most burning questions.

September 21, 2007
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Better Boat Shoes
Q: What type of boat shoe is best to wear when fishing: leather shoes, sandals or boating sneakers?
— Kevin O’Dell,
Greenwich, Connecticut

POVEROMO: Ask three fishermen what they look for in a boat shoe, and you’ll likely get three different answers. I wear sneakers, and ask my crew to as well, because of the safety factor. Sneakers more than adequately protect my feet from hooks, gaffs and fish.

Sandals leave your feet exposed to injury and can be quite dangerous in serious fishing situations.

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Boat shoes are great for a relaxing cruise, and I also wear them quite a bit when I’m not on the water. However, when I’m fishing, I look for safety first and comfort a close second.

When in the market for fishing sneakers, I look for heavy cushioning to help absorb the pounding and vibration associated with running a boat, especially in rough seas. Sneakers go a long way in preventing sore knees and backs. Make certain the soles are designed for boating, since grip will be of utmost importance.

Marlin Strategies
Q: I fish the canyons of the Northeast for tuna and usually troll spreader bars and lures, but my spread has received only passing interest from white marlin. Should I switch to rigged baits from now on?
—Tony Pagliari,
Wildwood, New Jersey

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CAPUTI: Whites will hit plastics and even spreader bars on occasion. But having fished with some of the top marlin skippers in your area, I think a spread of rigged ballyhoo and mullet fished on lighter tackle is unbeatable. However, rigging baits is somewhat of an art form. Feeding them to a fish in the spread requires good eyes and a steady hand. And figuring out the conditions that white marlin prefer means there is a learning curve that comes with switching from targeting tuna to catching billfish. Once you put all the pieces of the puzzle together you will find there are many more white marlin in those canyons than you ever thought.

Reds On Top
Q: I’ve always thought of redfish as bottom feeders, but I notice many people using topwater plugs. Can you recommend some?
— Brad Davis,
Beaufort, South Carolina

DIBENEDETTO: While redfish are primarily bottom feeders, they will often rise to topwater plugs. In fact, the action of a topwater lure can even attract redfish from a distance. If the water is choppy, fish a plug that throws some water, like a Creek Chub Knucklehead popper. Otherwise, try a lure with a seductive walk-the-dog action like a MirrOlure Top Dog or a Heddon Super Spook.

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George Poveromo
SWS Editor at Large; host of “George Poveromo’s World of Salt Water Fishing”

Gary Caputi
SWS Offshore Editor with extensive fishing experience throughout the world

David DiBenedetto
SWS Editor; author of On the Run: An Angler’s Journey Down the Striper Coast

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