It has been brought to my attention on occasion that any time I begin a column with anything other than the fishing being “good”….. the fishing “isn’t good”. The fishing has been steadily improving and we will get to that, but our fishing hole needs a little help.

We all appreciate, but do not expect folks that are only able to get on the water once or twice a month to spend a portion of their fishing opportunity marking obstructions or dragging floating timbers back to the shoreline. I have no intention of fishing all day walking around algae covered boards lying on the bottom of the boat that I have picked up either!

On the way back to the landing at the end of the day, however, I will retrieve a floater that is safe to handle. An easier task, that is equally helpful and no less important, is taking the time to scoop up cans, bottles, and small plastic items that have been washed off the shore by the big tide changes of late.

You do not have to go out of your way to chase down trash to make a big impact. If you will just keep a garbage bag in the boat and net small items that float by while you are fishing it will help. We attempted to fish the back end of a small cut off the river last week that was completely blocked off by an assortment of items no larger than an empty ice bag.

If you can pick up just one aluminum can or small piece of trash each trip, it will make a difference!

The front that crawled through here last Friday really helped the fishing. We were already catching slot reds and flounder, but the north wind and a big outgoing tide ignited an even better bite. We caught reds, flounder, and trout all day long in a drizzling rain and finally caught a trout that would push the five-pound mark.

We had been catching a lot of small trout under the gulls, but very few trout over four pounds. I have no doubt that the cooler water temperature and modest purging of the marshes on the east side of the lake will produce a much more consistent bite under the gulls. The birds have worked early and late on the north end most days, but redfish and sand trout do not keep the bait on the surface very long.

The live bait bite has been very consistent, but a large number of local anglers are not taking advantage of that bite due to the scarcity of smaller bait fish. Most of the menhaden are of the large variety, but the fish will still eat them. You just have to let them take the bait a little longer before setting the hook.

David Cook said that he and Randy Lefevre left the DuPont Outfall without bait twice last week because all they could catch were big shad. They decided to fish with the big shad Friday afternoon and caught two limits of reds, 12 trout, and seven flounder. “We were excited about the catch, but we really felt dumb for passing on the big bait earlier,” said Cook.

I have been very pleased with both the size and the numbers of flounder we have been catching without targeting them lately. We have been fishing the Assassin Sea Shad with the paddle tail ninety-percent of the time so as not to exclude any species. If the fish do not cooperate very quickly, we tip it with a scented strip or spray it with an attractant.

The redfish cannot make themselves swim past a GULP shrimp or BLURP sea shad right now and that is fine with me. I do not find that the scented plastics make nearly as much difference with the trout, but they do not hurt either.

After bragging on the merits of braided line for the past few years I have finally gone to it exclusively and it has paid off in a big way. The no-stretch factor provides a sensitivity that cannot be denied. I fished two clients last week that fish maybe once a year and they did not catch a fish until they switched to the braid.

I spooled two spinning reels in the middle of the trip with 20-pound Power Pro and they caught fish non-stop the rest of the day. They were initially afraid of wind-knots, but after showing them how to minimize that inconvenience they caught fish on the same baits in the same area where they had zeroed earlier.

Give braided line a try, look for the gull activity to improve, and pick up a little trash this week. I’ll see ya on the water!