Hooked Up: June 2009

Hooked Up: June 2009
Happy Client, Brian Keifer, with a 31” 9.25 lb trout. Released.
Last month we let y'all know that the green water was pushing its way through the Landcut via the East Cut in Port Mansfield. By the time that this issue hits the shelf, we will hope that it is having some positive impact in Baffin. Rocky Slough and Yarbrough area have been much clearer than months past; however, they are a long way from perfect. If there is any upside to the high winds, it is that it acts as a driving force to move this water into our desired areas.

There is a large dredge that has been set up at the north end of the Landcut for some time now. Although a necessary evil, the timing of this could not be more inappropriate. The dredge itself is being pumped onto a spoil island, which is good, but it being the only option/pass for the fish to come through is not an ideal situation for the fish or us as fishermen. If you think an outboard makes fish turn and run, can you only imagine what a 30" vacuum hose, barge, and pump sounds like in 75 yard wide channel? I am not sure if it is the Corp of Engineer's or a state agency that permits the dredging, but I certainly wish they would be more in tune with historical fish movements, and the impact that they are having on them. Hopefully the big tide runners just swim on through it, and my concerns are moot. We will see.

June is a great month for fishing down here. Our big trout will start losing some girth, but they will not get any shorter. Water temps are comfortable for wet wading, but not so hot that the fish are seeking out super deep structure. Early mornings will find us starting out in shallower water (knee to thigh deep) with a good presence of baitfish. The trout will be on just about all kinds of structure, given that there is something for them to eat. My preference will be for combinations of sand and grass, and shallow rocks and sand. Combine those with a food supply, some deeper water to lounge in, and you will be on your way to some great days on the water.

Lure choices for this time of year are pretty straight forward. If it is calm, I generally start with a Super Spook Jr. in a color that is appropriate for the water clarity. My next favorite small topwater lure is the Rapala Skitter Walk "SW-8". If you are into larger topwaters, the full sized Super Spook is my favorite, but I strongly recommend slowing it way down on the retrieve while in shallower water with calm conditions. A good chop on the surface can dictate a more aggressive retrieve, but I still throw in the pauses for good measure.

Speaking of full sized Super Spooks (and other large three hooked lures), remove the middle treble. It is not only not needed, but allows for less action in the retrieve, picks up more grass, and, most importantly, promotes some awkward hookups that can result in broken lines, and trebles in the fishes' eyes, gills, etc.

I will fish topwaters as long as they let me, but when the bait goes down, you need to follow their lead. If I am in water that is thigh deep or less, my fist choice is going to be the straight tailed 5" Bass Assassin on a 1/16 oz. jig head. I'll stay with the same jig head even in 5' water if the winds allow me to do so, but if it does not, a 1/8 oz. jig head is suggested for more lure control.

Finfish season is now in full swing up and down the coast. The lovers, haters and debaters of them will be lined up to take pop shots at the methods, the full ice boxes, and each other around all of the marinas and internet forums. For me, the method is just another way to catch fish, and I have gotten to the point where I have no problem with the method itself. However, irresponsible harvest is another issue. Port Mansfield is having a banner year. They were cut to five fish on their daily bag limit in September of 2007, and the results have been outstanding to date. They have gone from pencil trout to solid fish in less than two years, while we have come off one of the slowest springs in many years. The bottom line is that conservation works, and needs to be practiced by lure and bait fishermen alike. If a picture is worth a thousand words, watching a large trout swim off after she has been photographed is truly priceless. If you can afford a boat or a charter to get to them, I'll bet a camera is within your budget.