Hoping for a Big Winter Trout

Hoping for a Big Winter Trout
Well here we are, wrapping up another great year of coastal kayak fishing. Another chapter of memories for the photo album and a great list of fish tales to tell. More specifically the fall sessions are coming to an end and we are about to shift gears into winter.

The fall run has been good. Shrimp evidently did well all across the marshes this spring and summer and the reds were all over the shrimp. I've said it before and I'll say it here again, "There just aren't many things as fun as witnessing a cruising pod of reds crashing along a shoreline." I have some good footage of just such action and when I am not fishing, I regularly just replay the video recordings from past trips. I am definitely up for the challenge of searching for roaming single reds, but again, the action of an active pod is just too much fun.

As a suggestion, just because the fish are seemingly reckless and not focused on anything but getting fed, you should still approach them with caution. I try to minimize noises by settling my paddle in my lap, among other things, before grabbing a rod. I also try to get in my first cast while I am still at some distance. Most of the time, when you hook a fish the rest will scatter but, I want to maximize at least getting that first one.

I never push my luck, trying to approach them too closely for the first cast, I've had that backfire more than a few times. This statement does however segue handily into a similar topic of the need to pay careful attention every chance and learning as much as we can about the fish and their habits. Are you taking notes, at least mental, of fish patterns and habits when you are among the species?

Well, just for the heck of it, when plenty of opportunity exists for finding pods of feeding reds, you could test the waters so to speak and see just how the fish will react to your presence and your actions; i.e., how close you can get to them, how much noise you make, etc.

I will compare this to deer hunting. If you are a hunter, have you ever tested just how much movement and sound you could make before the deer noticed and became alarmed or spooked? Same principle here. Nevertheless, like with deer hunting, I prefer to err to the safe side of keeping quiet and still as possible.

So as the weather changes so will the tides and so will the habits of the fish. I will be adjusting my techniques to more open water fishing, when getting around in the marshes becomes nigh impossible. If you have followed me through any of the past few winters you know I will put in an open water drift or two. Mud/shell bottom mix seems to always be the go-to structure for finding bites. The sight-fishing opportunities may not be as frequent but we make-do as we have to. You would also know, having read my past articles, that I mention my quest of finding a big winter trout. Well, that feat has yet to be accomplished but here we go again for another wintery attempt. We will see what bumping my Egret soft plastics across that clump-shell will do for me.

Also, please keep your fellow outdoorsman in mind, I'm talking the duck hunters here. We all share the wild, so don't go pitching a fit about them boating through "your" spot. Respect them and they shall respect you. There is plenty of space for all of us. And on that note, if any of you 'yakkers also paddle for ducks I'd love to hear your tales of a kayak cast and blast. Please share.

As always, I appreciate you following my articles and please continue sending your questions, photos, and stories.