Hooked Up: December 2013

Hooked Up: December 2013
The MirrOlure Fat Boy is a perfect perch imitation to coax solid trout when you know they are relating to grass.
Merry Christmas to all of my extended fishing family. I wish I could afford all of my friends a new set of Simms waders, a Waterloo rod, and Quantum EXO under the tree this year, but my good wishes will have to suffice. Unless of course, you leave this article strategically placed, with a circle around it, for the "boss" to notice.
December really kicks off my busy season. As much as I have enjoyed a little time off to play with shotguns and compound bows, the time to get dead serious about big trout is upon us. The winter seems to be rolling in, and has, so far, proven to be cooler than the last two years. That's a good thing!

Late October and early November found us in waders and having to layer up in the mornings. Although we were still transitioning into our real winter, we had some stud catches. A few memorable trips were granted to me and clients with some hefty trout exceeding eight pounds. One particular trip rewarded us with three over seven pounds and two over eight pounds. For this area and this time of year, that is pretty dang strong. Hell, what am I thinking, that is strong anytime. Those kind of days are special anytime they happen, but we have come to expect them in December through May, not so much in October and early November. I'm optimistic that it is an early indicator of a great year of catching giant trout.

I have been watching large migrations of mullet head to the beach front for some time now. The food supply for our game fish is dwindling down as it always does this time of year. Each day that we choose to clean a few trout, I always use the time to dissect their stomachs and see what they are eating. The short answer is everything, with a big emphasis on pinfish and perch. As the mullet supply declines large trout will seek out those pesky little tail biters as their mainstay diet here in the Laguna and Baffin. To keep up with their eating pattern, my pattern is shifting from the hard sand areas, where mullet once roamed, to wade-able flats that have an abundance of grass places the perch call home.

These feeding areas can be found throughout Baffin, although more sparse, and the entire Laguna Madre. The Laguna is a virtually covered with grass flats out to depths of five feet or more. It can become mind boggling at times for the untrained eye as so much of it looks the same. What you need to focus on is what looks different! In this case it is strips of sand (potholes) in a sea of grass. These areas are like fast food restaurants for hungry trout. They go in and setup for a easy meal, only to pull away and come back later for something off of the dollar menu. I cannot even begin to count the times that I have squatted on some line of sand in the grass and caught very little, only to come back later in the day and have something epic happen from the same spot. What I am about to tell you is something my client's hear all of the time. It's not only pertinent to what we are discussing now, but year round. "Big trout are just like us, they do not feed 24/7. Usually they are going to have a one big meal for the day, and the rest of the time will be filled with snack sessions and lounging around." My staunch belief in this theory is what brings me back to an area that I may not have caught them in earlier during the day, only to (usually), find success on a second try. To sum it up in mathematical terms, big grass flat divided by sand holes equals fast food for trout.

Two old favorite lures will be my top picks for these scenarios. The 5" Bass Assassin rigged on a short shank 1/16 oz jig head is my go-to for finding the fish. The MirrOlure Fat Boy (Corky) is usually the closer when we have established that there are some giants present. The new Soft-Dine by MirrOlure will also be getting some play time this year as it is just a perfect imitation of the perch that these large trout are focusing on. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you.

Remember the buffalo! -Capt David Rowsey