Hooked Up: December 2014

Hooked Up: December 2014
Merry Christmas! I hope this finds my friends in the spirit of the holidays, and anticipating boxes loaded with their favorite fishing toys. To help you guys out, I'm going to make you a list of "must have" fishing gear for trophy trout season. Careful placement of this list for Mrs. Santa to notice could make it a special Christmas for you, indeed.
  • Simms G3 Waders and G3 Wading Jacket
  • SIMMS Oceantek Wading Boots
  • Waterloo "Ultra Mag" fishing rod
  • Quantum "EXO" or "Smoke" fishing reels
  • Maui Jim polarized sunglasses in model "Surf Rider" or "Stingray"
  • Roy's Tackle gift card to pick out favorite 5" Bass Assassins and MirrOlures
  • Haynie 24HO boat powered by a Mercury 250 PRO XS (for the big spender)
I have babbled for years about how December is the kick-off to everything fishing here in south Texas. By now the cold fronts have become steady, the water temperature has dropped, and trout patterns are starting to become a bit more predictable. With many fishermen armed with rifles and bows during the south Texas whitetail rut, Baffin and the Upper Laguna will have some quiet, low boat traffic days for those of us who appreciate solitude.

The water temperatures have not dropped so much that it has forced the trout to gang up in specific, small areas, but they will be hanging out loosely in the same ballpark waiting for the opportunity to fatten up before the water temperature takes a big drop. A trout's anticipation of cooler days ahead is what can make December such a great month to be on the water for trophy fish. They are actively hunting and feeding to fatten up for the longer and colder days ahead. This makes for a perfect opportunity for us to take advantage of their gluttony.

As the water has cooled, my warm-water pattern, involving the fabled rocks of Baffin Bay, has chilled out also. At this stage of the game my concentration is on potholes and drop-offs or contour lines on the bay floor. This pattern really applies all year, but even more so now as the trout are doing their best to put on winter weight. They are using these two structures heavily during this time of year as their personal hunting grounds. Areas like the King Ranch shoreline, Hell's Acres, Meadows, and much of the south shoreline of Baffin will have the right structure. Exploring these areas and looking for the right sign will be key in finding the fish. Of course, the best sign is flipping baitfish, but it is not always visible. Take the time to shut down the engine and just look for 5 minutes or so. What looks dead while the big engine is running may look differently when things quiet down. An osprey or brown pelicans hanging out in an area are great indicators of where mullet are when there is not much to be seen on the surface. Paying attention to details above the water, can and will pay great dividends for those willing to take the time to notice them.

After mentioning potholes, I need to also mention water quality. In many areas the water quality is such that we may not be able to see a pothole in 3'-4' feet of water. We were blessed during late-summer and through the fall with some really good rain. As much as everything needs it, the runoff off has made for some brown water. This has become the standard for us, unfortunately. The water has started to clear up nicely in the Upper Laguna due to north winds pushing green water in from Corpus Christi Bay. Eventually it will make its way into Baffin and things will look good for the winter and spring season. So, all is not lost, and it has been my observation that cooling water temperatures also seem to make brown algae blooms become somewhat dormant, allowing for a quicker transition to the ideal "trout green" we all desire.

Closing out 2014 I would just like to add how very blessed I am to have so many awesome clients that make it possible for me to support my family doing what I love to do. I have made so many close friends since I started guiding, and that alone has been worth the journey. Many thanks to all of you for being, and continuing to be, a part of it.

Remember the buffalo! -Capt. David Rowsey