T he end of November and the beginning of December is when a lot of occasional coastal anglers clean their rods and reels and store them until they are ready to use them again in the spring.
These anglers have other things to do at this time of the year, deer hunting for example—or they figure it is just getting too cold to fish. But whatever their reason, they are missing out on some really fantastic trout action this month.
Those coastal anglers in the know, however, are a die-hard breed who love to chase cold-water speckled trout during sometimes harsh conditions. They use an often mixed variety of artificial baits that aren’t guaranteed by anyone to work on enticing the fish on any given day under any certain conditions. These select anglers do it because they love to fish. It’s that simple.
Some say that trout leave the bays and travel to the beachfront when the water gets cold. Others swear that the trout can be found nowhere else other than in the deepest sections of water when temperatures plummet. And then there are those who will say that the trout actually don’t move, or go, anywhere at all when the mercury in the thermometer drops.
If you ask some of the “old salts,” they may say that the trout might move ever so slightly so as to take advantage of any food source they may discover. This might mean that trout stay in the bay, or move out to the Gulf. They might move from the shell and grass of the bays to the soft mud of the Intracoastal Waterway.
Regardless of whatever slight alterations they may make in their location, there’s still going to be those avid anglers willing to don their waders in even the chilliest of circumstances to try their luck at tossing one of their favorite lures at a trophy trout.
If you happen to be one who prefers the presentation of live bait, but who isn’t afraid to try something new this winter—try tossing a plastic tail under your float on your next trip. Try some of the more brilliantly-colored plastic tails in the top three feet of the water column whenever that section of the water is clean.
If the water appears muddy on top, try your luck closer to the bottom while working one or more different varieties of plastic offerings in one of the many darker colors—Morning Glory, Plum/Chartreuse, Roach, etc.
The number of options for artificial bait continues to grow for traditional wading anglers. Depending upon the area where you are wading, numerous brands of baits are available.
Some of the major producers over time have been MirroLure’s 52M and 72M models, the entire Corky lineup of plastic suspenders, the ever-popular Johnson Sprite spoons, and other plugs such as the minnow line of baits from Rebel, and the many, many varieties of top water offerings.
With the exception of the surface walkers, of course, all of these baits will be tougher to maneuver in grass or around heavy shell because they tend to work close to the bottom. That’s why you should familiarize yourself with slow-sinking and suspending baits.
Along our coastal bend region of Texas, wading anglers deal with grass and shell on a regular basis. Slow-sinkers and suspending baits allow you to hang an offering in the middle of the water column just above the tips of the grass where the cold-water baitfish are hanging out. This is particularly fun whenever you happen to find a group of trout hanging in the same area looking for injured bait fish to ambush above the grass.
For those new to the realm of fishing with lures, and with all the different kinds of artificial baits available, it can be confusing about the use for each of the different kinds of baits. For example, shrimp-imitating soft-plastic baits are very good plastic baits for trout in the wintertime. They have a makeup and scent that imitates live bait very well. The most popular styles with speck fishermen are the shrimp bodies and the jerk bait styles. The minnow-imitating plastics, along with worm and eel resemblances, represent another popular soft bait for wintertime trout.
Soft, plastic tails are secured to a lead jighead and then worked very slowly at a particular depth, or directly across the bay floor. These soft baits attached to a lead jighead attract trout through sight, smell, and even sound whenever the bait is dragged across the bottom.
Cold-water coastal anglers have truly benefited from some of these synthetic baits that have been designed to release a scent into the water that’s capable of attracting trout from a long way off.
Email Chris Martin at [email protected]
or visit bayflatslodge.com