As the deer feeders stopped spinning and tripods came down, the boat traffic picked up almost immediately around here. Everyone seems to have trophy trout on their minds as deer and other hunting seasons have come to a close. Starting in December the big trout really started showing themselves and it has been a lot of fun to be on the water - catching quality trout always adds excitement.
By the time y'all get this article in February, we will have already released a trout over 10 pounds, not to mention a host of others over seven pounds. It is starting out kind of quick around here, and I am certain it will only get better.
February is one of the most heavily participated months among dedicated big trout enthusiasts and it is a pretty safe bet that every trip brings a legitimate shot at a personal best fish. By now, the coldest of fronts will have passed, but there will still be many cool mornings on the water, only to be followed by southeast winds to really get the bite turned on. The water in Baffin and the Laguna is so clear during this time period that southeast wind mucking it up is a blessing more than it is deterrent. This year it may take 40 mph winds to put any stain on the water, as the Laguna has more grass on the bay bottom than I have ever witnessed. The grass acts as a filtration system, and keeps the water super clear. As a fisherman, I like to see a good mix of both sand and grass, but so far it is mostly grass, and hopefully, the potholes will come.
As more and more fishermen arrive to try catch their giant, some community holes in Baffin will get a bit congested on the weekends. I understand the mentality of going back to where you "nailed" them before, but spot fishing this time of year usually results in average days at best. The bottom line is that big trout are going to be found on all structure types this month. Potholes, rock formations, muddy bottom and hard bottom are all going to produce fish. Of course we have all of these bottom types and structures down here, but one thing sets them apart on any given day - bait!
A few flipping mullet will often be the only indicator you need to let you know that you are in their house. There have been so many days on the water with clients where I have pulled into an area, shut the motor down and just looked at the horizon for signs of life, only to fire the Mercury back up and move on. "Dang, Captain, I heard ol' so and so killed them around here a week ago. Shouldn't we give it a shot?"
My reply to this is always the same…"Did the ones they caught have tails or not? Let's go find some bait."
Folks, finding bait this time of year really is that important.
The 5" Bass Assassin is still my find 'em lure and continually produces big trout for us. The Corky bite has improved dramatically over the past month and is just a lot of fun to fish when the floating grass is not too bad. Days when we find lots of off-colored water get me to reaching a little deeper into the wade box and plastic inventory. MirrOlure's Catch 5 and Lipped Crankbait (L29 MR) have been flat out nasty on some big trout when the conditions are less than ideal. The Die Dapper, also by Bass Assassin, with its oversize and aggressive paddletail has also been a huge producer for us has also earned go-to status on my lure list. Something about that vibration that turns those big girls on."Set 'em loose." -Capt. David Rowsey