I would like to thank all of you that have already booked charters with me throughout the winter, spring, and on into the summer. Your confidence in what I do is humbling and your business is appreciated more than I can express. For those of you who are considering a trip to Baffin, there are still plenty of good dates available, and I would be honored to take you for the chance at a monster trout.
In anticipation of doing some yard work today, I am dressed in flip flops and shorts, and here it is the first week of December. Winter has been warm so far this year. In fact, it has been just like the two past winters. If the pattern holds true we may have a arctic blast that pushes water temps into the 30s again. I sure hope not, but seeing diver ducks rafted up in Baffin in early October may have been a sign of things to come. We have been lucky and dodged any fish kills this far south, and the fishing after these fronts has been phenomenal, so there is some upside if it happens.
Big trout fishing was, let's say, hit and miss throughout November and early December. As far as I am concerned it has everything to do with warmer than average water temperatures. The fish just never went into full-on winter mode, but everyday gets them closer, and I expect it to be outstanding by the time this article reaches your Corky stained fingers. We have been fortunate and picked off some healthy "scout" trout that are leading the way towards winter patterns for the masses, but the biggest push will start in January. When it happens, you can expect some big days on the salty old bay. Prefrontal, and a few days after the fronts have come through will be my favorite days to be on the water. In some cases, depending on the air and water temperature, we may find ourselves leaving at midmorning and fishing until dark. This is something that I like to do when the coldest fronts make themselves present. The afternoon bite of a sunny day, following a front, can be unbelievable if you are willing to change up the routine a bit. Seriously, who doesn't want to sleep in on a super cold morning? I know the trout and I do.
I had a guide friend (who specializes in live bait) ask me the other day, "Rowsey, how do y'all catch all those big trout?"
I told him, "It is nothing more than mojo; I have a deal with the big trout. They bite for me and my clients because they know we are going to let them go."
He found the humor in it, but a more serious conversation followed with actual techniques discussed - specifically slowing everything way down. The overwhelming truth is that most fishermen lack patience and walk right past them. I swear, some days it's like trying herd up a bunch of tom cats, trying to keep my guys focused on what is right in front of them versus what might be on down the road. Large female trout know their hunting grounds well. They do not need to be porpoising through miles of shoreline to find a meal. If you are in their area, slow down and fish methodically, casting at every inch of structure from different angles, never walking through any structure, and repeating casts from different angles as you walk past a set of structure you think you have already fished out. The vast majority of the time, this time of year, the big trout are cold and move slow. Probably 90% of the time they are not in the mood to chase a lure down, but if you keep presenting it over and over, you will eventually make that magic cast that just makes it impossible for her to resist. Some guys refer to the process as grinding. I think it is just fishing smart. (I think I just quoted Watkins).
Three lure choices reign supreme for me this time of year. It will not be a surprise to most of you - the 5" Bass Assassin and MirrOlure Paul Brown Original (Corky) will both see so much play time that they will be begging to get off the field at the end of the day. Calm days (and muddy water) will call for many casts with MirrOlure's Catch 5. If you are headed my way, you would be well advised to have your wading box stocked with them.
Happy New Year and Set 'em Loose. (It really is good mojo.) -Capt. David Rowsey