Mid-Coast Bays: January 2010

Mid-Coast Bays: January 2010
"The older you get, the faster time flies!" My mom would often quote that phrase to me when I was an impatient youngster. Back then, I would just roll my eyes and tell myself that my mom couldn't possibly know what I was going through. Now that I am older, I know those words couldn't be more true. 2009 passed in the blink of an eye, and it is really hard to believe we are bringing in the new year of 2010.

Fishing here on the mid-coast has improved with the coming of the new year, a fact that can probably be attributed to the abundance of rainfall we have had this winter. With the drought we had this past summer, this wetness is truly a blessing. Unfortunately, the rain seems always to be accompanied by a cold front, so there have been quite a few cancelled trips due to howling north winds that were a little on the cool side for us southern coastal folks. After the fronts passed, though, the weather stabilized and we went right back out to our fishing adventures. Sunny days and lower water levels that come a couple of days after a front moves through can make for some awesome sight casting!

The trout in our area have been holding over shell at the time of this article, and while we have been catching a lot of trout, most have been on the small side with few stretching past 18 inches. We will continue to concentrate our fishing efforts over shell near deeper water. However, fishing in one of our muddy-bottom back lakes will be essential if you're looking for larger trout, those trout that most people seek out in hopes of landing their personal best.

For catching those personal bests, Bass Assassins' soft plastics in either pumpkinseed/chartreuse or Texas Roach have been yielding good results. When fishing over shell, I prefer to rig my plastics with a 1/16-ounce Jighead. I am still using scented baits, as well, when the fishing slows up, and I have Berkley Gulp Jerkshad in the sardine color on hand at all times. If using artificial baits is not your preference, a live shrimp under a rattling cork produces good results. However, live shrimp at small-town bait stands may be hard to come by as we get into the colder part of winter when fewer shrimp are being caught.

A chilly water tip: when fishing in the colder weather, you can improve your odds of hooking up if you work your baits at a slower pace. The colder water temperatures can cause fish to become lethargic, so fishing a slower retrieve entices those hesitant fish into biting because less effort on their part is needed.

Since some of the baitfish are moving out to deeper water during this cold weather, redfish are going to be more willing to accept most offerings. A lot of grass has started to die off, as well, and is now less of a problem than it was this past summer. Like the big trout, expect redfish to remain in the back lakes. Quarter and half ounce gold spoons along with Mann's Bait Waker in the croaker color will be my bait of choice when fishing for the big brutes.
A word of caution: most of our back lakes are shallow and can be motored into safely with shallow water boats, but if a strong cold front moves through our area, you should always expect the water levels to drop quickly due to strong north winds. During these times, every boat operator should use caution when venturing into some of the shallower lakes. If you ever have doubts about whether or not your boat can make it through the shallow water, it is probably better to take a deeper, and subsequently safer, route. There are fewer boats on the water this time of year, so you might not find someone to render aid until after you have spent a cold night out on the water (unless, of course, you have deep pockets and can call out for a tow boat).

Gary and I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year! May 2010 bring you Happiness and Success and be filled with Peace, Hope, and Togetherness with your Family & Friends.