Dickie Colburn
8:47 AM (2 hours ago)

to Record

It wasn’t until I leaned back on my 6”5” Laguna in a clumsy response to a jolting strike that all but dislodged the rod from my hands that I realized that I could no longer feel my fingers.I held on tightly as the line peeled off the reel, but I couldn’t feel the knobs on the handle and it was “Red fish 1-Dickie 0” for the first few minutes of the tug-of-war.

I couldn’t tell if my clients were amazed or amused as they stood motionless in the back of the boat with their hands tucked in their pockets and ski masks covering everything but their eyes.It wasn’t going well for me, but at least I was still trying to catch a fish.One of them had stopped to pee twenty minutes prior, but was still weighing his options while the other one just flat out refused to take his hands out of his jacket pockets.

I eventually landed the chunky twenty-five inch fish by turning the handle with the palm of my hand…”don’t act like you have never resorted to that technique when fishing with frozen hands”…and we all stood there looking at it on the floor of the boat as though it would miraculously spit the hook and jump in the ice chest.We somehow managed to limit on reds and add a few specks to the mix, but arriving back at the launch was the highlight of the day!

The following day was equally miserable and even though we limited on redfish once again, it was much too cold to derive any satisfaction must less enjoyment from the outing.The bottom line is that the fish are still cooperating in spite of this miserably cold weather, but my body parts aren’t.

If you got that new rod and reel that you wanted for Christmas, you may want to give it a few days before putting it to the ultimate test.Lee Thurman had scheduled a trip to fish with me this weekend, but decided to reschedule for early January following our frigid trip last week.“The wife and kids gave me two new rods and two Shimano Core reels for Christmas that cost more than our first car,” said Thurman over the phone, “but I’m not going to break them in wearing gloves.”

We had been enjoying an incredibly good bite all the way through the deluge this past weekend, but the trout bite has suffered since the front rolled in early Monday morning.The river and the bayous gave up only a little clarity and the surface temperature is still hovering in the low fifties most of the day, but the trout are apparently more concerned with survival than feeding right now.

Even during last week’s warm-up the better trout bite was still during the afternoons and that will be especially true as long as the morning lows flirt with the freezing mark.Larger profile lures and slower presentations will be critical to consistently finding and catching big trout.They are going to feed less, but when they do they are searching for that one kill that will tide them over longer stretches between meals.

For that one reason look for the Corky to edge back ahead of the Maniac Mullet as the preferred bait.The trout have been more aggressive in the warmer water and we have done very well with the Maniac Mullet in both the fast and slow sinker, but the bulkier Corky Fat Boy sinks even slower and that factor can be a difference maker.I will continue to start with the Maniac Mullet, however, rather than put it on the bench based on an assumption.

Whether it is the Corky or the Maniac that gets the most playing time, this is the time of the year when the slowest sinking model in both lures gets the nod.The floating Fat Boy, the one with the red gills, doesn’t actually float, but it does sink at a snail’s pace and the Maniac Mullet with the gold eyes sinks slower than the one with the red eyes.Attaching them to your line with a speed clip or loop knot also breathes life into both of the mullet imitations.

The majority of winter fishermen have no intention of climbing out of the boat and wading their way to the largest trout of a lifetime, but it’s the slow approach that is more important than the benefit of stalking your prey.If you opt to drift, slow your drift down with a drift sock and make long casts well out ahead of the boat.The instant you get a strike, anchor the boat with a Talon, Power Pole or Stake Out Stick.A conventional anchor will also work, but it is nosier, takes more time to deploy and may or may not hold depending on the bottom.

Over the past few years the ability to hit the remote and immediately bury the Talon has resulted in our catching several trout rather than just one.It also enables you to change lures or re-tie without continuing to drift over the fish.

Above all else, dress in layers this winter and make sure that last piece of clothing is waterproof.A small waterproof bag of extra clothing may also save your life should you get wet.Regardless of your own body size I recommend packing along only X-large clothing as that will fit anyone and survival is not about fashion.

I hope you had a fantastic Christmas and wish you and yours only the very best in 2014!