Talking Saltwater with Sam Heaton
By Phillip Gentry
Longtime crappie anglers will recall the days when Lake Weiss, Alabama, the self-touted “Crappie Capital of The World” was the home of one of the most prolific crappie fishing guides in the business – Sam Heaton.
When Heaton took a job with Johnson Outdoors nearly 20 years ago, the job took him to South Florida where he also became well-versed in the art of saltwater fishing. Now retired from Johnson Outdoors, Heaton resides in Stuart, Florida and has earned a reputation as a formidable inshore saltwater fishing guide.
As a long-time associate with B’n’M Poles, Heaton has lent his fishing expertise to several of B’n’M’s best crappie fishing rods – the Sam Heaton Super Sensitive rod with Bottom Seat and Touch System and the Sam Heaton Super Sensitive Spinning rod, just to name a couple.
Heaton has paired with B’n’M Poles to create a top-quality inshore saltwater fishing rod at an affordable price.
As an inshore saltwater fishing guide and rod designer, Heaton saw both a need and an opportunity to expand B’n’M’s reach into the world of saltwater fishing.
“A lot of people don’t realize the resources that B’n’M has,” said Heaton. “They think of a small crappie fishing pole company up in Mississippi, but I think this new rod shows the ability B’n’M has to manufacture a great saltwater fishing rod at an affordable price.”
The Sam’s Super Salt Series is a four rod series featuring three spinning rods and one casting rod. Designed by Heaton for inshore shallow saltwater fishing for trout and redfish, these rods will deliver everything an angler needs to catch fish for a third of the cost of other quality saltwater fishing rods.
As an inshore fishing guide on the East coast of Florida, Heaton said he’s likely to find numerous species of fish in his home waters.
According to Heaton, the rod just feels good in your hands. The genuine Portuguese cork handle makes for a great balanced rod and the exposed blank/touch system adds unbelievable sensitivity.
“I use braided line almost exclusively when inshore fishing and that’s one reason I chose the stainless guides for this rod because they are durable and the line flows smoothly on the cast and retrieve,” said Heaton. “The ¼” rubber butt cap and reinforced reel seat also helps when a 60-pound tarpon, cobia or a big Jack Crevalle grabs the bait.”
Heaton explained the rod series was designed for casting artificial baits with its fast tip and surprisingly tough backbone but was quick to add it would also handle bait fishing applications with the same ease.
“I pair the spinning rods with a Shimano 4000 series spinning reel and 30-pound braided line,” he said. “When you’re saltwater fishing in the rivers around South Florida, there’s no telling what you might catch and I’ve landed everything from bull redfish to giant snook, tarpon, sharks and even the odd Tripletail once in a while. As long as you know how to use the drag setting on your reel, you’ve got plenty of rod to do the job.”
The author used a 7-foot Sam’s Salt Series rod while wade fishing in saltwater with great results.
Heaton offered that his two favorite presentations for fishing the Sam’s Super Salt Series is 3 – 5-inch weighted plastic baits like any of the DOA series baits or a hard topwater bait like a saltwater Zara Spook.
“Like any kind of fishing, finding the bait fish is half the battle,” said Heaton. “I run about a 20 mile stretch of river on the southeast coast of Florida and the bait will move with the wind and tides as well as the season. I may be just inside the inlet at one point and later on I’m way up the river targeting man-made structure like piers and boat houses, but it all keys on where the bait is and understanding the currents and tides.”
Living so close to Okeechobee, Heaton couldn’t resist mentioning that he was very likely to have one of his Sam’s Salt Series rods in his hand when chasing some of the huge largemouth bass that call the Big O home.
“I’m very happy with where we landed after a couple of years of extensive testing of this rod,” he said. “I’m also proud to be associated with B’n’M as they make ground-breaking steps into both the catfishing and the saltwater fishing worlds.”
Wherever fishing takes you, B’n’M has been there. Check out our website at bnmpoles.com
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