Fish Talk: December 2006

Fish Talk: December 2006
Capt. Bill’s winter arsenal.
With cold fronts showing almost weekly now and our early winter pattern in full swing, late-November and December fishing prospects are looking better each day. Cold fronts can be harsh, but for a fisherman they can also be a blessing in disguise.

Temperatures dipping into the 40's have definitely put our fish on the move. Looking back over recent weeks we've had some good catches and although we haven't had many big trout showing we've been finding decent numbers of good solid keepers. You can plan on seeing some bigger fish coming in as we creep into December.

By mid-December, most if not all of the shrimp will be out of our bays and settled in the gulf. Past records indicate to me great fishing for big trout the last two weeks of November, as well as, into the first two weeks of December. Possible reasons for this, I believe, are throwing more big top water baits like Corkies and Mirrolures and fishing ankle to knee deep mud. With the shrimp out of the bay, fish still have to feed and the only thing left is mullet, eels, and small fin fish. This is why mullet imitation plugs are so deadly during this season. As you can see in the photo, these are lure picks that work well for me on big fish.

Wading mud and shell doesn't sound too exciting I suppose, but if you are truly serious about catching quality trout put your boots on. Watch for jumping mullet as you cast your Corkies, Mirrolures, or Bass Assassins.

Plan your fishing times, if possible, before a cool front hits or a couple of days after. Monitoring the barometer is also very helpful in determining fishing times. Anything below 30-inches of mercury is good. Usually before a front the pressure drops and the fish will feed. While the front is blowing in can be a good time to fish, but after it hits and high pressure sets in, the fish will normally get the lockjaw. That's why I say fish two days after the front because by then the pressure has stabilized, the water has started to clear up, and the south to southeast winds will usually be in place once again.

At times, my clients will want to fish strictly from the boat. In these cases I will be using much the same tactics as when I wade meaning that I'll still be keying on mullet. Let your eyes lead you to slicks and jumping mullet as you drift over areas known to contain scattered shell and mud. Look for streaky green to off-colored water and try to make long drifts of half-mile or more whenever possible. Long drifts on the first pass through an area and drifting well away from the structure that is holding fish will improve your chances for success on a second drift. Using your big outboard motor over these reefs can wreck the bite.

Picking out your baits is always a personal choice but I recommend Bass Assassins on 1/4-ounce leadheads in 10W40, plum and chartreuse tail, and roach pattern. Mirrolure choices that look good to me are the 808, STTR 21, 52 MR704, and 51 MRCH. Any of these baits are good choices and my personal preferences for this time of year. Whatever you decide, wading or drifting, be safe on the water and God Bless.