by Capt. Adam Jaynes
This solid trout fell for an Orange Fire Maniac Mullet
With this being an unusually warm winter so far it is no surprise that our winter patterns are a little behind. Birds have still been working over veracious schools of feeding trout and redfish that continue to chase small shrimp to the surface, however with this most recent front I would expect that easy bite to be coming to an end fairly soon. As the mercury continues to drop I will be looking for trout feeding on mullet in the shallows.
This oversized red must have been lost!
Aside from the obvious signs of feeding trout such as fleeing mullet, swirls, and slicks I will be keying in on shell and areas with a dark mud bottom. Both shell and areas with a dark mud bottom will warm up faster and stay warmer than other areas. Just a degree or two warmer is a very significant difference in water temperature. One way to think about how the color of the bottom can affect water temperature is to relate it to wearing a black t-shirt on a hot summer day. Wearing that black shirt is a whole heck of a lot hotter than wearing a lighter colored shirt. It's science that you learned in third grade, darker colors absorb more light resulting in an increase in temperature.
Another solid one on a Maniac Mullet
Maniac Mullet does it again
Another piece to the puzzle that I will be looking for when chasing wintertime trout other than bottom structure or type is the proximity of an area to deep water. Whether it be a flat adjacent to the ICW, a river, a bayou, or a gut trout need some sort of access to deeper water during the winter. They will retreat to deeper water when the temperature drops and return to the flats to feed as the sun warms the area.
When targeting wintertime trout I prefer to wade fish. Can we catch "big" trout from the boat? You bet we can, however, I believe wading puts the odds ever more in our favor of landing that trophy trout. It's a topic that is often discussed aboard my boat as the vast majority of my customers choose to stay in the boat rather than donning waders and hopping in the water. In my opinion there are several advantages that wade fishing offers. First and foremost it allows you to cover an area slowly and thoroughly. Even if the wind is howling
wade fishing allows you to fish an area at your own pace, that's much easier said than done if your trying to control a 24' bay boat and the wind is pumping 20mph! Wading also allows an angler to fish an area while making a very minimal amount of noise. Trolling motors running, hatches closing, fish flopping around in the bottom of the boat and waves crashing against the hull will spook fish in a hurry. The other biggie for me is the knowledge one can gain from wading an area. No matter how many electronics you have on your boat the best way to truly learn the ins and outs of an area is to get out of your boat and walk it. Wading an area will give you the ability to learn where the transitions are, depth changes, where humps and guts are as well as finding shell patches.
There are a few certain lures that I consider must haves when getting out of my boat to begin a wade for wintertime trout. In my wade box you will always find Corky Fat Boys, Maniac Mullets, the Flush, Kick A Mullets and Super Spooks. Slow sinking and suspending type baits are absolutely deadly when targeting trophy trout during the colder months. I have the most confidence in my topwaters such as the Flush from TTF and Super Spooks when the water temperature is sixty degrees Fahrenheit and up but have caught trout on topwaters in water as cool as fifty degrees Fahrenheit.
This oversized redfish inhaled a Super Spook!
Ken Chaumont with a solid specimen on a Kick A Mullet
Another solid wintertime trout
There is no disputing the effectiveness of a Corky Fat Boy; it has earned its reputation up and down the coast. However, for the average every day angler a Corky can be a very difficult challenge to fish effectively. There were a great number of anglers that figured that out after the Corky rush when Paul Brown sold to MirrOlure. There is no silver bullet when it comes to catching trophy trout, granted some anglers will get lucky but for the vast majority of us being successful requires persistence and skill mixed with some blessings. In my opinion a Maniac Mullet or a Kick A Mullet from Egret are both easier to fish for a less experienced angler while still giving an exceptional opportunity to get that trophy trout to bite. Also, neither the Maniac Mullet nor the Kick A Mullet require the tweaking that a Fat Boy does after catching a fish or two. However, I will reiterate the fact that the Fat Boy is absolutely deadly for some wintertime trout, it is however a more technical lure to fish, requiring both skill and patience to fish. For those of you that have yet to experience the results that you desire using a Fat Boy or any other type of suspending or slow sinking lure don't be discouraged. Continue to work and inquire to achieve your desired results. No one will ever know all there is to know about this wonderful sport of fishing, to me that is what is so addicting.
Limited edition line from Sarge Customs
I would like to thank all of my customers both new and repeat for an excellent 2012, I look forward to 2013. I wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year! I would also like to thank all of my sponsors for their continued support, especially Pro-Cure Industrial and Golden Triangle Industries Inc. Please visit http://www.gtindu.com/news/fishing/gti-fishing-team/
to learn more.
God Bless and have a Merry Christmas!