by Capt Craig Lambert
Healthy Speckled Trout
As of late we have been in a mild weather pattern and it looks like we may extend fall and this fantastic fishing for a few more weeks because of it. Water temperatures are above average for this time of year and the speckled trout and redfish are eating everything in sight like it is still November. The weather is fantastic and so is the fishing so get on out there and catch some fish!!Having a blast!
Let's talk about tactics for this time of year. First of all the fish are shallow so shorelines and flats are best. I try to stay in the 3.5 to 5 foot range of water depth over some type of shell reef, grass, drop off or area of just scattered shell. One huge advantage I have over other anglers is that I know what the bottoms are like in the areas I fish. I am always testing what I can feel on the bottom with the net or my fishing pole. This is probably the most helpful information you can learn on your own while fishing. If you can visualize in your head a 3d picture of the water column and floor then you will know where the hot spots are and how to approach them. When I pull in to an area and look at the water I dont see water I see the reefs and the contours of the bottom and that is how you want to train yourself to think when approaching your fishing areas. Nothing better than happy kids catching fish!
Afternoons have been best and will continue to be even better as the water temperatures start to drop throughout the month. Since the water temperatures are still up right now it is really all about tide and although they are biting on both outgoing and incoming tides it seems like the best bite is on the bottom of the outgoing tide. Which is fairly common for this time of year. Weather patterns have not affected the fishing much the past few weeks. I have caught them best on days before the front when it is SE at 15-20 mph and they are gorging themselves on that scenario but even days after the fronts when I have expected it to be very "tough" they were still biting well. I expect this pattern to change as we cool down and a more normal pattern to occur. But so far it hasn't and they have been eating every day.Nice Red!
Live shrimp under a popping cork has been smoking them for me here lately so I have stuck with it. But dont think you can just go buy any old cork at Academy and throw a line and a hook under it and you are catching fish. Small details and proper set ups put fish in the box. So here is my exact set up and take note because it catches fish. First of all the most important part of your set up is the cork. I use a Midcoast Evolution because they have all of the qualities in a cork that I am looking for. They are durable, they cast a mile and they make a good noise or "pop". Because they are a heavier cork they work best with a spinning rod and braided line. Now that you have proper fishing line, reel and cork on the next step is your leader. I prefer a stiff monofilament leader material and not anything limp. Since I use a lot of it I just by 30 lb Ande line in bulk and it works well for me.
I always and I mean always use a 1/8 oz barrel swivel attached to my leader as a weight to hold my bait at the proper depth. You can see how I just loop it through the same hole and that way it is adjustable and will slide up or down. I typically keep the weight about 6 inches above a #6 3X strong treble hook. I have seen a lot of other guides use kahle (Croaker hooks) with a lot of success. Leader length will depend on the current environmental conditions. A few weeks ago when we had all of that rain a longer leader was a must because they were definitely holding deep. Now since we have salted up the bays again my leader length has shortened to be in the middle of the water column. If it ever gets cold this month they will hold deeper again where they will be warming their bellies in the mud. Typically you see this behavior in January and February during the coldest water temperatures of the year. Great day!
Take a kid fishing!!!