Had been off the water since 1/16 getting things done (life happens ya know). So come Friday, 1/27 I was ready. Now of course 1/17 thru 1/26 we had a record setting warming trend and my fishing network buds from St. Augustine to Savannah were raving on the great bite that had been going on. So enter the cold front on 1/27 All good, we are fishing come hades or high water.
Friday I was completely blown out and managed only 4 trout and a couple of reds, all fish 14-15 inches. All fish caught on a suspending Spro McStick. One of the trout I caught had all three trebles stuck in him, and it took me a few minutes to unhook him. As I was operating on him, I noticed a small shadow fly over and looked up to see it was a bald eagle. I think he really wanted me to chunk him this trout. He flew right back to a dead tree we usually see him in and continued to watch me. Pretty cool.
Saturday the wind layed down and Michelle and I got to get out. We fished Brunswick, and the bite was tough. We did manage 9 trout between 14-16” and a few shorts. All fish today on the Bomber Long A, and a D.O.A shrimp crawled slowly on the bottom.
Sunday, I got to fish with my daughter Kelcey and the wind blew something fierce. Just like Friday, I am pretty sure we know where they are but the wind just blows the place out (Hint, hint, open area close to the ocean). We managed a few short trout and moved to the creek at dead high tide-- my least favorite. A couple more short trout and it’s pretty darn cold too, so one last stop to chunk some flukes into the trees. Had one good fish break off, then got a lower slot red and a real nice over slot.
Today, armed with the knowledge of Sunday’s fish in the laydowns, I had a couple of hours after lunch to make it happen. I ran to the closest laydowns I could find and started back with soft plastic jerk baits with weighted EWG hooks or unweighted worm hooks with a small bullet. The bite was pretty good and I ended up with 2 over slots, 3 slots and 2 fish I never got out of the bushes before they broke me off. I went thru 7 EWG’s before I ran out due to cut offs. You WILL lose some tackle in the trees. Headed over to some docks and ran into some of the shortest trout I have seen this year, and plenty of them. I used a 1/8th oz jig head with a C.A. L. minnow, barely crawled on the bottom. The water was clean everywhere we went, even though Friday it blew against the tide and smoked it up a bit.
These next three days ought to be REEL good for those that can go, and then another cool front will move in for the weekend . I gotta tell you though; the highlight of the weekend was to be able to fish with my awesome fiancée Michelle and the oldest of our wonderful kids, Kelcey. Thanx girls, I you let me know how blessed I am everyday! Sorry to ramble, I get a little crazy if I don’t wet a line for more than seven days!
Monday, January 30, 2012
Monday, January 16, 2012
Headed out this a.m. to do some boat work, and of course the river beckoned. Had a good low tide so I figured the deep structure plan was in order. A couple of over slot reds showed up at the first dock, and could only manage a couple barely keeper trout and shorts throughout the whole creek. What to do? So I put away the D.O.A and headed out towards the sound with the trusty lip diver. Once I got there, it was a LOT of wind and a LOT of cast. I finally figured out that after twitching the bait, a longer than usual pause was needed. It was kind of hard to get a good hook set this way and I pulled the hooks on some GOOD trout. Funny how treble hooks manage to get stuck in everything upon contact, but that darn trout can come unbuttoned so easily! I plugged my way to a nice mess when all was said and done though. The water everywhere I went today was clean and green!
Monday, January 9, 2012
A plastic shrimp. Never work. That’s what I thought until I met Mark Nichols about 20 years ago at the old Pine Island Fish Camp in St. Augustine. Mark explained the key to this bait, was nothing. Do nothing. I didn’t completely understand that at the time, but over the years I’ve figured it out. Mark had explained that a shrimp actually moves forward at a slow and meticulous pace. That is the real magic of probably the best shrimp imitating lure on the market. I guess the “do nothing philosophy” probably needs to be explained. This bait needs to do nothing but look natural. It is the angler’s mission to keep this imitation crustacean looking “au natural”.
Here on the Georgia coast we are heavily influenced by seven foot tidal changes, which equates to current. As with most artificials, I like to bring the bait with the current. In the case of the D.O.A. shrimp, this typically means long cast up current, and counting down the descent to the bottom, while constantly maintaining contact with the bait. This bait will often get eaten on the fall, and only the faintest tap will signal the take, which is why maintaining contact with your lure is critical. Once the shrimp reaches bottom, usually just lifting or crawling the bait, with the assistance of the current is all that is needed. I will give an occasional twitch or hop, but mostly just try to keep this bait head forward, in its natural posture of movement.
Often, as with a lot of finesse baits, it is just plain hard to feel what the bait is doing-- especially with depths up to 20 feet combined with current. I try to concentrate my efforts on the couple of hours on each side of low tide. The current is slower, the bait is out of the marsh, and the predators know it. One of the main things with finesse fishing is eliminating the “bag” or “bow” or slack in your line that current and wind can cause. And we all know the wind seems to blow usually about the time you get to the hole. I try, whenever possible, to have the wind directly at my back or directly in my face. This will eliminate much of the bow in your line. Lining up with your target and wind can often be tough and sometimes impossible. If this happens, I usually drop the rod tip to the water and alter my stance accordingly--whatever it takes to maintain that straight line contact.
I know I did not mention color, because personally I think colors are made for fisherman, not fish. That being said, D.O.A. makes just about every color of the rainbow…so go with what you know.
The D.O.A. shrimp is deadly in all of the usual haunts. If you can make yourself slow down, just like the shrimp, and let it act natural, you will get bit. From January 6th - 8th I saw nearly 70 trout come to the boat in the few hours around the low tides. Nearly all came on the D.O.A shrimp…and a few on the Rapala CD 9…but that’ll be another bog. Until then, you won’t know if you don’t go.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Had a tall order to fill for Jeff Williams who is VP of the Golden Isles Chapter of the CCA. Jeff brought his Dad Jeff Sr. and good friend Wade to see if we could crack the code deep jigging with artificials for trout. Jeff and gang have corked and jigged their way to loads of fish in the typical shell and grass presentations, but this would be something a little different for winter time patterns. After the first few stops, I could almost hear those dreaded words forming in the back of my throat…”You should have been here yesterday”. We finally hit pay dirt in 14 feet of water. It was an absolute blast to watch the guys probe the bottom with the ¼ oz D.O.A shrimp. Jeff and crew varied their retrieves between hops, twitches and crawls to figure the specks out. I love this kind of fishing and at times it can be frustrating waiting for the lure to hit bottom, or even know if you are on bottom with such light presentations--and then to maintain contact in deep current, to feel that slight tap, and sink the hook before the trout lets go of the rubber shrimp can be challenging. These guys figured it out and soon began filling the box! We ended the day with just under 30 fish to the boat, half being solid 15-18 inch healthy chunks of spotted sea trout. You shoulda been here today…and yesterday. Thanks guys, I had a great time!
Monday, January 2, 2012
I had a great holiday season fishing with Michelle and her Dad, Charlie. Charlie and I started off the week on a great Redfish bite with as many slot fish as you wanted to catch and a couple nice overs as well. Michelle and I plugged our way to 30 Trout, including 3 over 20 inches, and several good Reds...but it took us three days to do it. But the greatest catch of all was Michelle. She said YES, and accepted my proposal on Christmas day! From now on, it will be my "fiance" kicking my tail on the water.
Had an excellent day of fishing with Bobby and his two sons, Cory and Logan. Although the quantity of fish wasn't overwhelming, the quality certainly was. We had a good little mix of Red & Trout, including two fat Reds at 22.99 inches! These two fish were hiding BEHIND an oyster that the boys fought expertly to clear the shell and not get broken off. For some reason, despite good conditions, the trout bite slowed for us a little. We ended up resorting to the lip divers to snatch a few good keepers though. These guys are seasoned fishermen who have fished from Chesapeake Bay down to the Golden Isles. The real story is just what a pleasure it was fishing with Bobby and his two fine sons. Anyone can catch a fish, but Bobby and his sons brought that special attitude and character that makes a great day on the water that much more enjoyable. Thanks guys!