Improving water clarity helps trout bite
After back to back days of blistering winds that howled out of the south the first day only to turn around and blow even harder out of the north the next, we were left with a lake that resembled a bowl of thin chocolate pudding. As dirty as it was, the redfish still continued to bite, but the trout put it on hold.
The water cleared significantly over the weekend, you could actually see ten inches deep in some places, but that was enough to improve the trout bite. I prefer to believe that the trout continued to feed even in the dirty water and we just couldn’t catch them, but the fact that we found them in the same areas once the water cleared a little blows that theory all to hell.
While the redfish are all but a sure bet every single day, the biggest surprise over the past few weeks has been the number of solid flounder caught by anglers searching for sow trout with a Corky or Maniac Mullet. I expect to pick up a stray flounder occasionally when fishing with a five-inch tail rigged on a jig head, but these flat fish are inhaling the mullet imitations as well.
I talked with Donnie Jarrod Thursday morning in front of Garrison’s Ridge and he had his limit of red and two flounder at the time.“I am out here grinding away for a big trout,” he said almost in disgust, “and I have two flounder in the box bigger than any trout I’ve caught this week.” Both of the flounder were over the four pound mark!
I also talked with two other local anglers anchored up in Middle Pass that wanted to buy any extra Gulp Mullet that I might have in the boat and they didn’t care what color they were. They had eight flounder in the box, the largest may have weighed 2 ½ pounds, but they were all good keeper fish.
I didn’t have any Gulp with me, but I gave them a pack of roach Sea Shads and pointed out that they could tip them with pieces of the used Gulp Mullet lying all over the floor of the boat. I saw them at the launch that evening and they had finished their limits, but added that the bite was much slower. Slow beats the heck out of nothing at all!
Outside of teaching someone something new about fishing or helping them with a technique, it’s the anticipation of the next bite and patterning the fish that keeps me coming back for more. The money isn’t bad either, but I was fishing a long time before I ever earned the first pay check and I hope to do the same after I book my last client.
If your entire body doesn’t light up in that split second between the unseen “thump” or surface explosion and setting the hook then you will never have to worry about spending too much time or money on fishing. You are not addicted.
In order to experience that energizing sensation on a more frequent basis, it is critical that you either hire someone that has done their homework and can locate the fish for you or find them yourself. It is much more satisfying, possibly not any cheaper, finding them yourself and this requires patterning the fish. Where are they going to feed, when are they going to do it and what are they going to be eating?
While you can catch some very large trout right now fishing over isolated shell or around marsh drains, we are also smack dab in the middle of one of the most enjoyable yet frustrating bites of the year. And, while it has been surprisingly consistent, it is anything but a pattern in the truest sense of the word.
This somewhat unique bite is taking place while drifting five to six feet of water well out into the open lake. The majority of the time there is no bait on the surface to give the fish away and not even a patch of shell on the bottom to give the fish at least a modest reason for even being there.
I hope to get bit on every cast, but at the same time I am surprised by every strike. Only a strike, or sometimes two or three, will instill any confidence as we are simply winding up and chunking a lure as far ahead of the boat as possible. There is nothing visible that makes any one spot more appealing than another with the exception of a little clearer water, but that’s pretty generic.
Most of these trout are four pound plus fish with some much larger and that alone is enough to keep you drifting in the middle of nowhere with confidence. We drifted nearly a mile of this type water in an area that I have never drifted in my life Monday evening and caught and released several beautiful trout.
We can only hope that the wind stays under 20 miles per hour for the rest of the week and that the predicted rain isn’t severe enough to muddy things up again. The current pattern is not text book, but it beats the heck out of practice casting in cold muddy water!
Pictured: Gene Locke took advantage of open water pattern.