Hooked Up: May 2012

Hooked Up: May 2012
Donald Smith - 8.5 pound personal best on Paul Brown/MirrOlure Fatboy - CPR. Donald had just released a personal best 7.5 pounder fifteen minutes earlier.

Wow! Crazy things going in the Upper Laguna and Baffin. TPWD confirmed there has been a brown tide bloom in the Laguna and Baffin. A few salts were denying it, and I was not sure myself as we had an open water dredge disposal going on, and six inches of rain all coinciding with each other. Taking the dredge out of the equation, in my opinion, runoff from farming has long been the culprit. The mixture of agricultural fertilizer and other nutrients washing into the bay seems to go hand-in-hand with the brown bloom. That is the bad news that affects Baffin and most of the lagoon. The good news is that, as of this writing, "Bahama green" water is moving north from the Land Cut and is currently up to Penascal Point. It is my great hope that it will be strong enough to overtake the brown algae as it has in years past. My fingers are crossed.

To this point, brown tide has not affected fishing and catching of larger trout. Although the water has a tea-colored tint it is not so bad that you cannot make out the structure in front of you. This is the key to catching versus fishing. No doubt, techniques have to change during these outbreaks, but success does not. I have dealt with bouts of this bloom recurring for many years, and the bottom line is that trout still need to eat and will modify their behavior as we will have to when we hunt them down.

Robin Shivers, the owner of Bass Assassin, will attest to the fact that I put in orders for certain lure colors and for different times of year. Within the last week I have ordered many bags of two colors, Alewife (pearl) and Morning Glory (almost solid black). There are a ton of good colors for an array of water conditions, but these two will reign supreme for me as long as this tea-stained water hangs around. Morning Glory (rigged on 1/8 Pro Elite head) is my bread and butter for early morning, late evening, and on overcast days. Alwife Bass Assassin (regardless of jighead color) jumps up to bat when the sun is high and prominent. I have lived by this train of thought for years, and have clients that have witnessed it come to fruition time and time again. In fact, most of them know not to show up without these two colors, as well as Albino Shad, and solid plum. For now, and while in brown water, black and white is as complicated as I make it.

Fishing has been pretty darn good, (as of April 06), if you are looking for fat trout or reds. Overall numbers seem to be down, but that has much to do with my parties searching for larger fish and sacrificing steady action for big bites. Brown tide or not I have been concentrating my efforts in Baffin, and will continue to do so as the green water rolls in from down south. Although the Bass Assassin has been the dominant lure, this week finally gave us some great topwater action. Bone/silver MirrOlure She Dogs have been the best color for us in the brown water, while chartreuse/silver has been a close second.

As the days come winding down at the end of the charter, we always check out a few spots in the Laguna on the way back to Bluff's Landing. The Upper Laguna is definitely where the redfish action is located and I do not foresee that changing throughout the summer. Regardless of your take on reds, to me, they are still a hoot to catch. One thing to remember is that reds and trout are eating the same thing, and it is very common to pull a big trout out of the mix. I have had three lucky clients pull this off in the past ten days of fishing. The surprise on their face always brings a big smile to mine when they realize what is attached to the other end of the line.

On a final note, the trout are full of eggs, and in the process of dropping them to be fertilized by pesky, grunting males. If there is ever a time to practice some catch and release, it is now to encourage the future of the trout fishery. Eat the skinny males, and let the fat girls go.

"Set 'em loose." -Capt David Rowsey