Anglers need tough tackle to pull hooked fish away from oyster bars. Barrera uses 20- or 25-pound leaders on his 10-pound braided line and 7-foot-6inch G. Loomis E6X inshore rods when fishing in Texas bays. He upgrades to 30- and even 40-pound fluorocarbon leaders when fishing oyster bars.
“A 32-inch snook will pull you into the oysters,” he says. “I tell my clients to try to keep the fish out of the bar as much as possible. As soon as I see it in the bar, or they feel it, I tell them to open the bail, and I’ll use my trolling motor to go up to the bar and get the line out of there.”
If you do hang up on a bar, “point your fishing rod at it, grab the spool and pull back slowly, and you’ll usually roll over the oysters, then the hook comes free,” says Sanders, who outfits his southwest Florida anglers with 7-foot rods with 3500 or 4000 spinning reels spooled with 20-pound braid and 40-pound fluorocarbon leaders.
Todd uses a 7-foot medium-heavy rod in the Panhandle, with a 4000class spinning reel spooled with 20-pound braid and usually a 25-pound fluorocarbon leader. When he’s targeting bull reds around deeper bars in 6 to 8 feet of water, he ties on 30- or 40-pound fluorocarbon leaders.
Low tide is a great time to learn the lay of the land, so to speak. As the tide lowers, exposing oyster bars, make visual note of the structures and how long they remain submerged.