Well our prayers for rain have finally been answered. Our bay salinities have been returning to normal ranges over the last couple of months and I'm sure this will be good for the health of our estuary in the long run.
Trout fishing has been good lately. You probably have already noticed spring came early this year. The hopper shrimp (actually their real name is pink shrimp) showed up almost a month earlier this year than last. So what does this mean for anglers? Well, I personally have been working the sandy shorelines earlier this year than in years past. Huge rafts of mullet moved from the marsh and back lakes and have been pretty thick on these shorelines since early March. We all know that where the bait goes - so follows the reds and trout.
May is prime time to catch the trout of a lifetime but I have to admit I have few customers that are willing to put in the work required. However, since so many folks seek advice on what one can do to help improve their odds, I thought I would go over some very important basics.
Wading is almost always the best approach as it is usually difficult to fish an area thoroughly and quietly from a boat. Fishing for bigger trout is definitely not a numbers game; where these mature specimens hang out is generally not where you find schools of younger fish. One big trout may be the only fish you catch all day if any at all. Trophy trout tend to hang in less-populated areas - which means less predation (fewer dolphins and sharks) - and fewer fishermen too. They become wary and spooky by nature and feed very cautiously.
So if you have read this far and are still interested in chasing the "big one" let me give you a few more tips:
● I would normally look for these heavier fish to inhabit warmer muddier bottoms but with our early warming trend I will look for them to be near semi muddy/sandy openings of back lakes to bay shorelines. With the baitfish we have been seeing on the outside sandy shorelines you can bet these bigger trout are making the transitions as well. I will start my wade working an outside sandy shoreline that connects to an opening of a soft bottom back lake. Once you have found such an area, make sure that you fish it thoroughly casting to all points and coves and other obvious structure. Cast repeatedly in all directions before taking your next step forward. I can\'t tell you the importance of what I call "saturation casting." Too often I see individuals rush through potential big trout areas because they get impatient!
● The backbone of lure fishing is a good rod/reel combination. Invest in quality, lightweight and sensitive fishing rods and equally light reels such as the Abu Garcia Revo Inshore because you will be making ALOT of casts and your rod and reel shouldn\'t make your arm feel likes it\'s gonna fall off.
● While I personally love to chunk topwaters, all of my big trout have been caught on soft baits whether they were slow sinking jerkbaits or swimming shads. Over the years I have come to believe that scented baits help seal the deal when trying to convince a big trout to bite during periods when are not feeding aggressively.
● Be careful with your drag setting. Trout have flimsy lips and hooks can tear loose easily if your drag is too tight. I prefer to risk a longer fight to wear them down rather than ripping the hook free. Remember you will usually only get one shot at hooking up with a trophy.
I hope these basic tips help out anyone wanting and willing to target a big trout. If you are lucky enough to catch one of these beauties I encourage that you practice catch and release after a quick photo-shoot. Pictures with measurements are all a good taxidermist needs to turn your "Trout of a Lifetime" into a beautiful fiberglass mount to be admired for years to come.
I hope all you fishing mothers out there have a happy Mother\'s Day because you deserve it, especially mine. Thanks Mom for always helping me remember what is important in life and for being my best friend at all times. You are the best!