Hooked Up: December 2010

Hooked Up: December 2010
Jody Norris with a solid Baffin trout – released. Caught on 5
Are the cool mornings starting to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck? If there is such a thing as a trout "rut" we are in it. December will be the kickoff for all things big in the big trout arena of Baffin Bay. November showed us signs of things to come with numerous solid catches of fish that carried solid girth from head to tail. Being lucky enough, and good enough, to catch one that carries good weight into the thirty-plus range is what we are now after, and where all of our focus is concentrated.

I'd be a rich man if I had a dollar for every time someone asks me, "What is the best month to catch a big trout?" My response always starts with, "From December through..."

December has always been the Rodney Dangerfield of months to catch giant trout, it just gets no respect. Why, you ask? Well, it is not because the trout are not available and large; they are. More of it is due to the February and March myth that has wormed its way into popular belief amongst the weekend trout fraternity. Bottom line is that folks have their "rut" on for Bambi, watching Santa fall from the chimney, and are just not out there to experience it. I'll do my part and include photos of what they have missed.

December will have us in full winter trout mode. With a little luck, the water temperature will settle into the 55-65 range. Once the trout get a sense of what is going on they will feed themselves up in a hurry to store much needed winter fat. In what will seem like a snap of the finger, the trout will go from resembling a foot long chili dog to that Butterball turkey y'all are enjoying at Thanksgiving. It really happens fast down here come December and will last until spawning begins.

December patterns are the same as we find throughout all of the colds months. Trout will show preference for soft bottom that has ability to retain some heat, small to large guts leading into these areas that also have some relevance to deepwater access, and good food supply. Areas that have ability to be one to two degrees warmer than other areas are always a key factor in holding these large fish, so if you do not have a water temperature gauge on your boat, you may want to invest in one. They are cheap and well worth the money.

It is not uncommon to find trout in an absolute feeding frenzy when ample bait is available. With the largest part of the bait supply being located somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico now, the trout will have a tendency to gorge given opportunity. If any of us are lucky enough to find this scenario, it will be a day you will never forget. I had that opportunity in December 2001 when I landed two eighty-plus pound stringers on back to back days (all released). When those days occur, just about any lure in the box will catch them, but those fish all came on the Original Corky in a variety of colors.

Top lure choices for me this December, in no certain order, will be the versatile 5" Bass Assassin on the small gap 1/16 ounce screwlock jighead or the new 1/8 ounce Pro Elite series jighead, MirrOlure's Paul Brown Original (Corky) and the Fatboy both sinking and floating, MirrOlure's Catch 5, and MirrOlure's lipped crankbait. I'll have a couple of topwaters mixed in as well, but my confidence is in the subsurface hardware versus any other. I always encourage everyone that fishes with me to bring what they are confident in using, but if you are on the fence I would encourage you to carry a solid variety of the lures mentioned in your wading belt or shoulder bag.

In closing, I would like to remind y'all to be prepared for the elements, whether it be cold, rain, or wind. Check your waders for leaks before you get here. If you are going to play the game, please don't let faulty equipment be part of your game plan. SimmsFishing.com has everything you could possibly need on the winter water, and their quality is unsurpassed.

"The man who coined the phrase, 'Money can't buy happiness,' never bought himself a good fishing rod." Reg Baird (
For what we do, a Waterloo rod would have been more appropriate.)

Set 'em Loose. -Capt. David Rowsey