November 19, 2012
As many of you already know, trout tend to become somewhat inactive during cold weather periods, and they’ll do their level best to not exert any more energy than absolutely necessary whenever they’re looking for their wintertime food. How many of you have tossed a lure all day long for a couple, or even just one, strike from cold-water trout during winter months? I have. And I can tell you that doing so can certainly make for a very long day, but for a day that can also turn out to be very rewarding if you’re successful at hooking-up with that single strike of the day. I can’t help but think that you can swing the odds in your favor should you decide to throw some of the larger-sized mullet imitation baits during the colder weather months. Why? Because it’s my belief that a cold trout would much rather catch and eat one large meal instead of having to hunt and chase several small morsels throughout the course of each day – but that’s just my opinion.
Baitfish activity also slows somewhat during the colder parts of the year. It’s for this reason that I will almost always stop to fish along a shoreline whenever I see even a lone mullet jump. There’s a reason that the mullet had to jump, and chances are great that something was chasing after it. Other things I like to see in an area I’m thinking of wading during wintertime are a muddy bottom mixed with either grass or shell, nearby access to deeper water, and protection from the wind.
Once I’ve selected the place I want to wade, I make my way out of the boat and I immediately begin to test the various levels of the water column using dark-colored plastic baits. I’ll begin at the top of the water column by casting the bait and then by starting a brisk retrieve just as soon as the bait hits the water. If I find the bite really close to where my bait first hit the water’s surface, then I know it might be profitable for me to walk a top water bait across the surface. However, if I don’t find the bite to be near the top of the water column, I’ll then toss my plastic bait and will wait for it to completely settle to the bottom, whereby I will then proceed to dredge the bay floor at a very slow pace so as to entice a reaction from any hungry trout that might be hugging the warm mud in the lower one-third of the column. But if there aren’t any takers near the bottom, I then explore the middle one-third of the column by changing my retrieve and my rod tip action so as to facilitate a little quicker retrieve. Naturally, performing this ritual can be effective for locating the bite during any period of the year, but it has particularly proven very successful for me while casting in many different directions in search of wintertime trout.
There are also other topographical and structural characteristics I like taking into consideration when attempting to decide upon a wintertime fishing location. I often prefer to focus on large area drains, or creeks, that happen to connect the back lake areas to the waters of the main bay system. And like I mentioned earlier, I’m partial to fishing out of the wind along a protected shoreline, so for this reason I look for drain and creek areas that are sheltered from strong north winds during winter. The creeks are popular for me because they’ve produced for me in the past. It is creeks like this that tend to dump mud and silt out onto the main bay system. The silt settles at these exit points and forms depressions and ridges along the bay floor that may alter the height of the bay floor anywhere between a few inches to a foot or two deeper than their surrounding waters. Cold-water trout are sometimes found hanging out in these depressions because the water is a bit deeper and may even be a little warmer, and because these small channels provide a path of travel into, and out of, the marshy backlands for baitfish. Muddy locations like this are my primarily targets this time of the year as mud is darker than sand, and therefore readily lends itself to soaking-up and holding the sun’s warmth much more rapidly over that of a sandy bottom. It is during cold periods that the trout will always be on the lookout for that one opportunity to relocate and position themselves in adjacent water that may only be a degree or two warmer over that of their current domain.
We hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday. Additionally, we want to remind everyone of the 2013 Winter Fishing Special for the months of January, February, and March when you and your guest(s) can fish at Bay Flats Lodge on San Antonio Bay and receive the 2013 Winter Fishing Special package at a tremendously discounted rate. In years past these dates have moved fast, so call 1-888-677-4868 to inquire or to book your spot early. Remember to practice CPR, “Catch, Photo, and Release”, whenever possible on trophy Trout and Reds…Guide Chris Martin, Port O’Connor/Seadrift region. www.BayFlatsLodge.com …1-888-677-4868
Congrats to Captain Jason Wagenfehr for winning 1st Place catch this Saturday with a group of 26 guests. The lodge welcomes a 6- boat schedule Monday and Tuesday. Reports to follow!