Hooked Up: January 2016

Hooked Up: January 2016
Big girls like diversity. Walking the edge of a flat that dropped quickly from 1' to 3' over 10 yards with about 100 yard stretch of scattered potholes.

I hope this article finds all of you with full bellies and stockings from the Christmas of 2015. As we close in on 2016, I just scratch my head in awe of how fast the seasons roll past every year. They certainly get faster as you get older. Other than joint stiffness and needing cheaters to tie a uni-to-uni knot, life has been good to the Rowsey family. A huge part of the good life is the continued support and patronage from friends and clients year after year. I am humbled by all of the new friends I have made through my charter business over the past seasons. Many thanks, to all of you. Y'all are, simply, the best!

The Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay has been inundated with high water through December. The fish we are catching are fat, but getting them on a reliable pattern has been tough with these swollen tides we have been experiencing. The good news is that the water is finally dropping out, and things are on their way to making a positive change. As we cast off into January, I am looking forward to the trout becoming more concentrated on small, specific structure, specifically mud and grass. Anyone who has ever fished here already knows that we are covered up in this exact structure, from the Upper Laguna throughout Baffin. In fact we have so much of it, one might wonder where to begin. I have the advantage of spending countless days wading through the water and, basically, making topo maps with my feet. I remember all of the small differences where there may be a ledge, drop off, long swag-depression, etc. This certainly helps clients and myself as we unload from the Haynie HO in search of a big bite. Knowing all of these specifics is great, but fish are not going to be in every spot, every time. Just like any of the rest of you, I have to narrow down my search on a daily basis. As I have mentioned many times, fish with your eyes first. As I use the Motor Guide trolling motor to approach an area that has the right structure and I am on the constant lookout for any signs of life in the water; specifically, flipping baitfish.

The other thing we have to keep in mind is how much has the area changed over the past season? What I mean by this is that the contour of the bottom may not have changed, but grass may have died off, new grass grown in to fill previous potholes, or dead grass may have been blown in to stack up and completely cover all of the structure, i.e., ledges, swags, etc. I included, we have to take the time to relearn these areas every year. Simply going back to a spot that you or a buddy caught an eight-pounder in last year is not a plan with "legs" if you know what I mean. Yes, you may get lucky and repeat, but the better plan of action is take the time to revisit and relearn as many areas as possible for each season. It will pay great dividends in the long run for you.

Lure selection during this cold season is pretty simple for me. Time has taught me to stick to the basics for successful days on the water. As most of you that read my article regularly already know, I am a 5" Bass Assassin guy, through and through. The Bass Assassin is my meat and potatoes lure. I do not believe there is a better lure to find fish quickly than this soft plastic rigged on a 1/16 ounce jig head. Besides its versatility in all parts of the water column, it is as effective at catching giant trout as any other lure on the market. MirrOlure's Paul Brown Original (Corky) is always ready to be put into action once the trout are located. The Corky has accounted for so many trophy trout (including a state record) on the Texas coast that it has a well-warranted cult following amongst hardcore trophy trout anglers. It is more of a finesse lure, but can be mastered quite easily. In fact, if you can make a topwater "walk the dog" you can become very proficient with the Corky. Use the same cadence as you would a topwater but add as many long pauses as the water depth allows. At least 90% of your strikes will take place during this fall or pause period.

Remember the buffalo! -Capt. David Rowsey