Hooked Up: January 2021

Hooked Up: January 2021
Michael Fry with a gorgeous Baffin trout - CPR!

With all that occurred during 2020 I am ready for things to get back to normal as we kick off 2021. The charter books filled up really fast this year and I would like to thank all of you that have already booked charters with me throughout the winter, spring, and on into the summer. Your confidence in what I do is humbling, and your business is appreciated more than I can express. May through August books are now open for more wade fishing with artificial lures. No Live Bait!

In anticipation of doing some yard work today, I am dressed in flip flops and shorts, and we are now well into December. Winter has been warm so far this year. In fact, it has been just like the two past winters. If the pattern holds true we may have an arctic blast that pushes water temps into the 40s again. I sure hope not, but seeing diver ducks rafted in Baffin in early November may be a sign of things to come. We have been lucky and dodged any fish kills this far south, and the fishing after these fronts has been phenomenal, so there is some upside if it happens.

Big trout fishing was, let's say, hit and miss through November and early-December. As far as I am concerned, it has everything to do with warmer than average water temps. The fish just never went into full-on winter mode, but everyday gets them closer, and I expect it to be outstanding by the time this article reaches you. We have been fortunate and picked off some healthy "scout" trout that are leading the way towards winter patterns for the masses, but the biggest push will start in January. When it happens, you can expect some big days on the salty old bay. Prefrontal, and a few days after the fronts have come through, will be my favorite days to be on the water. In some cases, depending on the air and water temperature, we may find ourselves leaving at midmorning and fishing until dark. This is something I like to do when the coldest fronts make themselves present. The afternoon bite of a sunny day, following a front, can be unbelievable if you are willing to change up the routine a bit. Seriously, who doesn't want to sleep in on a super-cold morning? I know the trout and I do.

January has always been a productive month for sow trout, and more and more of my clients have caught onto what I have long known and tried to hustle to the guys that insist on February dates. With 90% certainty, the big trout are in full-on winter mode this month. The congregation of numerous large trout in a very small area becomes reality now and throughout the next few months. If you are chartered with me or any other guide during January you will be one of the first to get a Corky or Bass Assassin in front of a possible lifetime trout.

For what it's worth, I see myself as a very patient guide. Any first-timer that gets in the water with me will hear, "There is no such thing as a stupid question.  Ask away if unsure or curious about anything."  I also tell them, often, "If I tell you to do something, I'm not being critical, consider it as a tip and me trying to help you improve your chances." 

Saying that, one area I can sometimes lose my patience with a client is when they wade too fast and continually get out in front of the group. I'll fire off some friendly advice the first time, and maybe a second time. But after that you are probably going to get ridiculed pretty hard in front of your buddies. 

The reason I mention this is due to its relevance when wading for big trout in cooler water temperatures that occur in January. I cannot stress enough how important it is to move slow and fish an area thoroughly with many angled casts before you creep forward. 

Regardless of who you may have hired as a guide, have confidence that your guide has enough snap and days on the water that he/she has put you in an area holding the quality of fish you are looking for. Speaking for myself  only, "I'll never waste your time, and I damn sure will not waste mine fishing 'guess' water."

Remember the buffalo!  -Capt David Rowsey