Hooked Up: December 2015

Hooked Up: December 2015
Starting winter with a bang!

I have a sign hanging in my man cave that says, "I love to watch the seasons change...from hunting to fishing." I still have a few good hunts left to do with close friends, and a very special hunt where I serve as a guide for the Combat Marine Outdoors. Being with those young warriors is a great and humbling experience for me. The personal stories they share so openly make you feel really small when you are banging your head against the fiberglass on days when the trout bite is slow.

December to me means time with family, celebrating the birth of Jesus, cool fronts, and the start of real winter trout fishing. From this point on, fishing for large trout will become more consistent than what the fall months provided.

Water quality this December and forward into spring, should be spectacular. Between heavy rains of last spring and early fall, we have been blessed with water clarity that has not been seen in years. The bay has received a much needed flushing and everything from predator (including fishermen) to prey will benefit greatly. I'm looking forward to sharing it with you!

I am asked this question daily, "Captain, if you could only pick one month to fish, which would it be?" In my view, that is a loaded question, and there is just no correct way to answer it. If I have learned anything about being on the water over the years it is to expect the unexpected. My best answer though would have to be, "December through May for giant trout."

The first "big time" day I ever had on a topwater occurred in December and the best two consecutive days I ever put together were also in the Christmas month, with stringers that would have went eighty-plus pounds for the best ten trout. While many are wrapping up the rut in South Texas, some of us saltier types have already begun to catch good numbers of our own version of the Boone & Crockett–giant trout.

The big advantage, and what makes this time of year special, is that what is left of the baitfish has a tendency to concentrate. With a much smaller food supply the predators will dial in on these areas in good numbers, strongly increasing your chances of catching multiple large trout. This trend will develop as the water temperatures remain in the low-60s and colder. As the water temperatures stabilizes in the 60- to 50 range, both predator and prey are going to be looking for warm places to hide and feed. By now we all know that a muddy bottom under our wading boots is a good thing this time of year. Combine that with a shoreline or island and the recipe for catching is getting pretty close to done. The Laguna and Baffin offer miles of this type of structure, so finding a starting point is not terribly difficult.

With all of the possibilities to plant your feet to wade, many can be quickly eliminated if there is no bait presence. My regular clients are well aware of how I approach a spot. I come in quiet and set the boat to drift to the prospective area and we are all scanning the surface for any sign of activity. During these colder months it does not take much visible activity for us to jump out of the boat, but no activity is an immediate red flag. Trust yourself and the signs available to you. Fishing with your eyes first can save you from long, empty wades and hundreds of blank casts.

On the lighter side of things, Christmas day is just around the corner. I actually get quite a few calls from client's wives asking what to get their husbands for Christmas. If you guys (and gals) can be tactful, find a way to leave this list in front of your loved ones so that Santa is extra good to you:

Waterloo RodsUltra Mag 6'-6" with Recoil Guides: WaterlooRods.com

Quantum ReelsSmoke "Speed Freak" or Tour MG: QuantamFishing.com

Maui Jim GlassesSurf Rider or Stingray (copper lens): MauiJim.com

SIMMS Tech GearG4 waders and wading jacket, sleeveless vest and beanie cap (both in WindStopper), half finger fishing gloves, Guide fleece bib, Axis hoodie: SimmFishing.com

LuresBassAssassin.com: 5" Shad Assassin/Shopmirrolure.com: Paul Brown Lures and He Dog topwaters.

Boat and MotorChrisMarineBoats.com(the ultimate gift) Haynie Boats and Mercury Outboards

Other than the boat and motor combination, you can find any of these top of the line products at Roy's Bait and Tackle or Fishing Tackle Unlimited.

Remember the Buffalo! Capt. David Rowsey