Hooked Up: January 2013

Hooked Up: January 2013
Donnie Seay with a big, “chocolate water” trout – CPR!

Happy New Year to you all and hoping that you had a big time celebrating Christmas with your families. 2013 is in our laps, and it is time for the new year's resolutions (or broken promises) and all the dieting in the months that comes due the past month of holiday overeating. Being over forty now, it sure is not like it use to be, so it looks like I am going to have to start getting serious about my health if I want to continue guiding throughout the next decade. I can remember when I was in my twenties and thirties, and "older" guys would say, "Wait 'til you hit forty; it will all change." I always laughed it off, but darn if they weren't right. Moderation, moderation, moderation!

Besides that resolution, another one will be to notch up a couple of legit ten pounders for clients, and maybe one for myself. Looking back at old logs, January has been second only to March when it comes to giant trout over ten pounds. Of course, others may have different entries in their logs, but January has been a good one for those of us that have departed in no light, cold conditions to satisfy our quest for the hardest trophy to be had in Texas waters or land. Giant trout do not care about social status, bank accounts or excuses. They do care about eating and fattening up for prolonged winter blasts of cold air, and surviving. That's where we come in. In true human form, this is our chance to take advantage of their desire to eat like we do during the holidays. Just imagine January as Thanksgiving and Christmas months to the trout. Speaking for myself, I know if you throw a big plate of turkey and dressing in front of me, its going to get eaten...quickly; as the chances are it will be the only time I will get it all year. As are we, trout are gluttons this time of the year.

We have all heard the stories and theories about fishing the soft, muddy bay bottoms during the coldest parts of the year. Unlike so many fishing myths, this one is true, although not perfect. When I head out daily during cooler weather, you can bet there is some mud in my game plan, but I am typically not hitting it until the sun gets up good. We are blessed with mile after mile of undeveloped shorelines that has knee deep water right up the bank, some of it is soft, but the majority is firm. That bank has been absorbing the sun's rays all day, and as the night cools off it is radiating that warmth back into the water; or at least not letting the water there cool so fast. These early-morning, shallow water wades in the cold of winter seem implausible and go against mythical wisdom; however, it is no longer myth if you have proven it to yourself and clients again, and again, and again.

Just to make sure we understand each other, I am not saying that this is the only way to pull a giant from cooler water but it is overlooked by the masses, and a proven one that works if you desire to not be fishing within casting distance of a stranger. Seriously Cat Head can only hold so many people. (For those of you who don't know, Cat Head was once, arguably, the best big trout spot in Baffin during the winter. It has become somewhat of a community hole now that gives up a mere fraction of what it used to.)

I am back to utilizing my slow sinkers and mullet imitations this month. The MirrOlure Paul Brown Original series ("Corky" as we Texans call it) gets top dibs out of my wading box. I am especially fond of the Fat Boy when fishing shallow to crotch deep. The original Corky moves into first position as the water gets a little deeper in front of me. The original also prevails during windier conditions (faster sink rate). My number-one find 'em and catch them big and quick lure is my trusty 5" Bass Assassin rigged on a light 2/0 jig head. Others would argue, but my opinion is that if you can't catch them on this, nothing short of an explosion is going to do you any good. Topwater enthusiasts need not waste too much space in their box with surface plugs. One big and one small will be plenty if not too much. Carry more Corkys!

Remember the buffalo! -Capt David Rowsey