Hooked Up: June 2015

Hooked Up: June 2015
Ian Beliveaux with a big 31" that was caught on a custom painted 5" Bass Assassin. Ian has shared many days on the water with me and has witnessed some huge fish caught within our circle of friends. His perseverance paid off!
Launch time comes early in early-summer. This and all-day pounding sun are tough on the captain as June creeps in. Getting up at 0400 and home around 1600 is taking its toll on the body. Clients and friends always ask me how I keep up, after starting the season in December. I sometimes ask myself the same thing–as most guides do.

The honest answer is that you had better LOVE what you do and have a brain that is capable of tricking your body into thinking it is not worn out. I reckon I'm getting pretty good at mind games as I hit the mid-40s. The most important thing to me is that I am blessed to be able to make a living doing what I love to do.

May 3rd brought the full moon. As expected the tides came rolling in right on schedule from down south, but so far they have yet to have the big green impact on the brown tide problem that we have been experiencing since 2012. Some greenish hues are noticeable on the easterly shorelines but we are a long way from trout green nirvana.

Along with the big May moon and high tides came a migratory push of new life in the form of baitfish, and predators. This is really a special time of year when it takes place, and one that will produce as much action as any other time in the twelve-month calendar. Big schools of mullet have been cruising about every known structure in the bay system. That is obviously a positive. The downside is that the brown tide hinders us from spotting all of those productive potholes and large rock piles. Making calculated, precise casts is pretty tough with such limited visibility. Expect to lose a few jig heads on snags and walking through some good structure while in pursuit. Until we have a weather event to flush the system we will just have to do our best to adjust and deal with it.

There is however some good news to come out of the doom and gloom of the brown tide. We are catching plenty of fish and have just been nailing some monsters lately. Numerous clients have broken the 30-inch barrier during this late spring and early summer. There have been a few specific days that have just left us in awe of the numbers of big trout we were blessed to catch in one outing.

How are we catching them? When I am targeting trout this time of year, my first instinct is to look to the major corridors of fish travel and then find the structure along those routes. The visible part of the equation is to locate bait and slicks. During this time I will be heavily focused on structure along the ICW and shallow flats that are located within close proximity to these travel routes. The structure could be a steep drop off of a spoil island, scattered rock piles, and potholes in two to four feet of water. Fortunately for me, I have the advantage of knowing these areas even when water clarity and visibility is poora good time to reflect on your journal, if you keep one. Add good structure to bait and slicks and you will be catching solid fish in short order.

Lure choices have not varied much but I am having much more success with topwaters than I have had in many moons. The She Dog by MirrOlure has been a heavy favorite for me and has produced some big trout of late. As always my go-to lure is the 5" Bass Assassin in a variety of colors. My top three choices would have to be Mississippi Hippie, Morning Glory and Alewife (white). A 1/16 ounce jig head is standard fare for me although I always have some 1/8s handy for deeper situations or if dealing with high winds.

If hunting redfish is the name of the game I am all about the paddle-tail line of lures by Bass Assassin. I typically rig these on the 1/8 ounce heads as I like to swim the lure more than jigging it. The swimming jig is not just for reds! We catch some smoking big trout using the same technique. Not to mention its excellent vibrating attributes in stained water. Great lure choice for the current conditions.

Remember the buffalo! -Capt. David Rowsey