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Capt. C.A. Richardson

Press Release: Flats Class TV partners with Smith Optics

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Press Release: Flats Class TV partners with Smith Optics

Tampa Bay, FL- Flats Class TV is pleased to announce a brand new partnership with Smith Optics, one of the most respected optics brands in the industry since 1965! Smith Optics is based out of Ketchum, Idaho and is a dominant brand with an unmatched following in the Western U.S. and extremely popular with the skiing, surf, and fly fishing communities. But now, Smith is ready to tackle the world of saltwater angling with the assistance of Flats Class TV and the launch of their new proprietary ChromaPop Lens.

Here at Flats Class TV we are excited about this new relationship with Smith Optics! The introduction of ChromaPop is a real game changer for shallow water anglers. This new lens technology, that is exclusive to Smith Optics only, delivers sight fishing enthusiasts a significant advantage! The ChromaPop lens gives anglers a pair of optics that create maximum color contrast and definition by eliminating color confusion. Now, an angler can quickly distinguish a single bonefish over sand, a tarpon under a school of bait or a speckled trout suspended over turtle grass in an instant; this allows for quicker more accurate presentations and ultimately better hook up ratios. How does Smith Optics accomplish this result? Simply by blocking color wave intersections as they pass through the lens, ChromaPop is able to eliminate color confusion so your brain is recognizing true color and contrast faster with much more clarity. That’s the Smith advantage!

Smith Optics also has a reputation of superior quality! Their new lenses are super resilient to scratching and crazing. Plus they use a film-free polarization process that eliminates delamination issues that plague other sunglasses brands! In addition, I have found that the Smith Optics frames are lightweight and durable decreasing the fatigue factor when I’m on the water extensively… day after day. Quality and style is just the beginning at Smith!

By in large, Flats Class TV is identified as a “true to its roots”inshore television program, the new relationship with Smith Optics and their ChromaPop technology is a natural fit for us. I hope our fans are as excited about this new relationship as we are here at Flats Class and see the real advantages that Smith Optics brings to all of those who truly enjoy flats fishing.

By C.A. Richardson, FCTV

Why Lure Color Can Make Fish Bite!

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Over the years, I consistently am asked one question over and over from viewers and students. “What lure color should I choose”? In my opinion, there is truly no one homogenized answer to this relatively simple question. Of course, most anglers roll with the consensus, that light colors work in clear water while darker colors tend to fair better in off-color water conditions. But, I tend to answer this question with a little more in-depth perspective.

I generally consider five pieces of criterion when trying to determine lure color; target species, preferred seasonal forage of target species, water clarity and temperature, plus light penetration. Naturally, different geographic regions tend to have “tried & true” color favorites that have been popularized by guides and lure manufacturers over time but that thought process can be a counter productive on occasion if anglers don’t factor in all variables.

Your target species will play a significant role in choosing lure color because species such as Sea Trout and Snook tend to be more visually oriented predators that ambush prey and take advantage of low light scenarios. So with that in mind, colors that silhouette or contrast (two tone baits for example) might be solid choices at dawn and dusk. Whereas, Redfish likely utilize olfactory and lateral line senses to a greater degree and feed with their eyes looking into the sea bottom. That makes earthy organic colors more preferable especially during daylight hours for “forage rooting” redfish. This mindset lets you play to the strength of these target species when lure color matters!

When I’m speaking of the preferred seasonal forage, I’m actually inferring to the “match the hatch” theory. Throughout the year, there are going to be periods when shrimp are overly abundant or a major baitfish hatch has taken place. These natural phenomenons may dictate lure color choices because gamefish get locked in to a particular color tone and profile during these periods. An example, might be an area where the fiddler crab population is relatively dense. The redfish that feed in that same zone should respond positively to lures that incorporate colors like New Penny or Rootbeer Gold because they (the redfish) associate those color hues as a primary food source.

Water clarity is the one common denominator that most anglers can agree on when making lure color decisions. It’s long been accepted that clear water has most inshore anglers reaching for natural or translucent colors. Meanwhile, turbid or tannin water often bring fluorescent or darker colors out of tackle bags. But there is another factor to contemplate in the water clarity equation… such as water temperature. When the water chills down over the flats most of the bait fish evacuate the shallows, leaving only crustaceans and creatures that live near the bottom for fish to feed on… darker colors prevail here regardless of clarity in these scenarios. The inverse is true, in regards to warmer water temperatures, that frequently flood many shallow flats and bays with thousands of baitfish. This rise in water temperature and presence of minnow bait, by and large,means that lighter colored lures,such as white, silver or bone, are more likely to incite strikes over darker choices. But,predominantly water clarity is still the principal element when selecting lure color!

2014124redAnother essential consideration is available light. Light penetration is dependent on several components like the angle of the sun, cloud cover, water clarity, depth, and even wind! It’s typical and wise for anglers to select darker, fluorescent or two-tone colored lures when available light is very low, or in choppier sea conditions that diminish light penetration. And on those days when the sun is high and the sky is blue, which is often the case in post front conditions; it’s then more conforming to tie on natural colored or translucent baits in smaller profiles to ensure success. The role “light penetration” plays in fishing also has an effect on feeding behaviors of certain species. Many predators are able to adjust visually to changing light conditions much faster than their prey; this happens primarily at dawn & dusk and gives predators such as “gator trout”a tactical advantage.

It may seem like an awful lot of circumstances and information to interpret just to choose the perceived correct lure color. But, for those anglers willing to educate and adapt to conditions where color can leverage an advantage… it’s worth the time invested!

Just another great tip from Flats Class and please remember to keep conservation and ethics in your future fishing adventures…

By Capt. C.A. Richardson

Tide Height & Gamefish Relationship on the Flats?

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troutTidesThe height of the tide is one of the most critical factors when it comes to locating gamefish consistently. Ask yourself this simple question; where is my favorite fishing area and when does it produce the best for me? Is it high tide, low tide, or somewhere in the middle? Once you understand this elementary concept of “fish positioning”you will be well on your way to patterning gamefish based off the height of the tide… and likely duplicating your success in your “favorite fishing hole”in new areas.

In many of my experiences, “high water” often sets up good fishing along mangrove shorelines, oyster bars, pockets in coves, and points where structure is present. I believe these high water zones are regular gamefish producers because prey such as mullet, glass minnows, and a variety of crustaceans seek refuge in these habitats during the higher water phases. What can be challenging about targeting the higher water phases, is that gamefish can spread out over a large expanse so it’s best to develop a secondary pattern (windy or lee shorelines for example) to have more steady results.

On the other hand, “lower tidal” phases concentrate game fish in areas such as: the deeper zones & edges of a given flat, deep creek mouths,and any large sandy troughs, basins, or potholes within the grass flat itself. This lower tide height scenario is by far my favorite as a shallow water skiff guide. Simply due to the fact, that the gamefish that I’m targeting are much easier to locate and generally catch since they’re all bunched up. If you avoid the lower tide phases, because you are concerned about being stranded or trapped on the flat… you are missing out on the best opportunity of all the tides you could fish!


Click image to enlarge.

Lastly, the “middle tidal” movements can be a little trickier to figure out. The reason why,more or less,is the familiarity on how the game fish access the flat from the low tide zones to the high tide zones and vice versa. If you look at a satellite overlay of a typical shallow flat, you will invariably notice deeper egresses where gamefish can comfortably traverse from the edge of a flat to the crown of the flat through the middle tide phase in either direction. When you discover these pathways within the flat, you greatly put the percentages in your favor! At this point it’s just a matter of finding the secondary pattern (what they eat) and your results should be predictably good.

Examine the satellite map image above and notice the typical high, middle, and low water tide height zones plus also take note of the pathways that gamefish might utilize to move about the flat.

Bottom line, if you are not taking “tide height” into serious consideration when surveying a shallow flat, you just might be putting yourself at a significant disadvantage.

Another great tip from Flats Class!

The all new Flats Class Workshop is here!

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The new “Workshop” version of the popular Flats Class School series revolves around a more hands-on approach. Students will be doing a variety of bait rigging, be exposed to how baits work in the pool/tank, and viewing an array of casting demos. In fact, some students will be called on to even participate and learn skills such as utilizing a bait caster for plug fishing, practice skipping a lure, and rod tactics to master casting accuracy. All of these skills will be demonstrated poolside to maximize visualization!

We also will cover lure and color selection scenarios through a Power Point program designed by Capt. C.A. Richardson based on various scenarios. And additionally cover topics about how to effectively fish tides around flats, mangroves, beaches, and docks!

Also, we will raffle off some fantastic door prizes that include the new Falcon LowRider Salt Series Rod, a Mirrolure tackle box with hand picked Flats Class favorites, a Z-Man tackle pack with a variety of profiles, a pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses, plus every student will receive a student bag with several baits from the participating partners of Flats Class TV…

This is a great value for only a $59 tuition fee…but the class is limited to only 50 students. So do not hesitate to register now before all the seats are gone!

The first “Workshop Class” will be held at Bill Jackson’s Adventure Store on October 19th, 2013 from 10:00am to 2 pm! Bill Jackson’s Adventure Store is located at 9501 U.S. 19, Pinellas Park, FL and is a perfect venue for this type of fishing school.

To register now for $59, please email me at for an early reservation. Late registration at door will have a small service fee ($5) attached.

Look forward to seeing some of our loyal Flats Class fans there at the new “Flats Class Workshop”until then catch’em up!

Capt. C.A. Richardson
Flats Class TV

Product Review: Falcon Rods launches new “Backcountry” 3000 & 4000 spinning reels!

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When I left the 2013 ICAST Show in Las Vegas last July, I left armed with a new advantage from Falcon Rods. It was the latest addition to the Falcon spinning reel line-up, the new “Backcountry”. What separates the “Backcountry” model from its predecessors the “Volt” and “Moxie”, is that it’s been specifically designed for the inshore light tackle angler. My mission this summer was to field test this new Falcon spinning reel and make sure it would measure up to some of the fiercest predators cruising the shallows.

The first venue I challenged the new “Backcountry” spinning reel in was the marshes of Louisiana. There I had my clients land over 450 fish in just 30 days; many over 20lbs. This extreme tackle test really impressed me with the overall durability factor of this new reel. More or less, because I did not anticipate an economically priced reel, such as the “Backcountry”, to perform at such a high level when pitted against marsh monsters like big black drum and hefty redfish in the Bismarck class!

The next big test was to go down to Everglades National Park and evaluate how the “Backcountry” would handle the blistering runs of South Florida snook. I traveled down there with an old friend and fished two long days and caught several snook and nearly a dozen redfish skipping soft plastics underneath the low hanging mangrove limbs. Close quarter, guerrilla fishing that would max test any drag system on an affordable spinning reel. And yes once again, the “Backcountry” reel answered the challenge!

After putting the reel through the rigors of charter fishing in some of the harshest conditions… I’m convinced the Falcon “Backcountry” reels are going to remain a staple in my guide business for years to come. The “Backcountry” 3000 comes with an extra shallow (braid) spool that’s designed for the angler who does not want to use mono backing, which I really liked. This new offering is also very smooth featuring 11 stainless bearings plus one roller bearing… giving the reel a silky feel even discriminating anglers can appreciate. The reel body is sturdy, corrosion resistant and the bail hardware is overbuilt… it’s tough! It has a 5.0:1 gear ratio that gives it some teeth when the drag is locked down and the drag system is of the micro click variety for subtle adjustments. Line capacity is more than adequate, the deeper spool holds 200 yards of 8lb. line and/or 160 yards of 10lb. line; more than enough even for the hard running bonefish enthusiast.

Overall, I was very pleased with my findings on the performance of Falcon’s new “Backcountry” spinning reels during field testing. But I believe what is more remarkable is the affordable retail cost of just $109 for the 3000 model and $119 for the 4000 model… that’s a bargain in this economy. These reels should be available at retailers that are authorized Falcon Rod dealers by January if not sooner. In my opinion, a big thumbs up to the guys at Falcon Rods, they have a real winner here with the “Backcountry” spinning reels!

For more info about Falcon Rods products, please visit

Review by Capt. C.A. Richardson

Tag/Keywords: capt carichardson, falcon rods, backcountry reels, flats class, big improvement, inshore tackle, reels for saltwater.

Capt. C.A. Richardson
Flats Class TV