St Simons Island Fishing Report 3/7/15

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Fishing the Tides...Winter Trout

When I first started fishing the tidal marshes I used to plan trips around low tide. I felt more confident that as the marsh drained I could find multiple spots where bait and fish were concentrated. Over the years I learned (and am STILL learning) to fish all stages of the tides. But when winter comes, I find myself reverting back to the periods around low tide. The concentration theory still exist, but water temperature and speed play more of a factor for me. I am looking for long winding creeks and rivers that have protection. Protection in the form of steep bluffs, trees, bulkheads, docks and anywhere that significantly protects these smaller, deeper tributaries. These areas will be a few degrees warmer, and that makes a big difference. When we have midday lows a couple of things happen. First, the last portion of the tide is slower, and of course shallower. This lower volume of water warms considerably more than open water. Trout are already in a stage of lower metabolism, so this little spike in temperature and the slower moving water are what I consider "prime feeding time". (This doesn't mean that right now with the temperature outside 42 degrees, wind 15-20 mph, and the marsh flooding that somebody is not rounding out a limit) The tide height on these midday low tides can definitely lengthen or shorten this feeding period. If we have a slow moving tide in the 6 ft. range, the fish may bite from mid to low and back to mid, for a 6 hour window. If we have tides where 8 foot of water has to move, the current may not slow down until the last hour out and first hour in, creating only a 2 hour window. Once a trout is found, work this area hard. The trout typically school very tight this time of year. Realize though, because of slowed metabolic rates, they won't spend a lot of energy chasing bait, and the ones that ate yesterday may not have to eat today. Concentrating on the fish that are hungry today requires slowing down your baits. Trout like moving baits, but this time of year they generally like SLOW moving baits. I will use a bigger float rig with more weight or a jig and plastic. I'll start fairly close to the bank and work down to the deepest part of the creek. With the jig, I will literally crawl the bait, or use tiny hops, often pausing a few seconds between moving the plastic.

Next time, I'll try to touch on the not so prime times  and higher water winter tactics. (aka, "the land of a thousand cast") ...for now, I am fishing midday lows if I can...

by Tim Cutting

1 comment:

  1. Howdy Tim,
    This is one of the best fishing posts I have ever read! Thoughtful, knowledgeable and logical. I like it. Thank you very much. It hads given me a lot to think about for our area where our big tides are maybe 2 ft.
    Good fishing, Mike

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