“Dang, I hate to break off another one of these baits,” muttered Aaron Felts as he gently tugged against a submerged snag in water much too deep to wade into. “That is just part of the game,” I reminded him as I continued to cast into a biting northeast wind.

I had caught and released two more slot reds when I noticed that he was still trying to dislodge his lure. “You’re going to miss a good fishing trip babying a hang-up,” I politely pointed out as I headed back in his direction. “I’ve got enough of these Catch V’s for both of us, but these fish aren’t going to bite forever!”

He begrudgingly pulled until the line snapped before tying on one of my lures which were working well enough at the time. “It’s not a money thing,” he stated as he hooked up with a nice trout on his first cast. “I just knew one of my new lures would work like magic on a trophy trout and I have already lost two of the three I brought with me.”

When we returned to the boat for a much needed bathroom break, wearing waders will do that to you, he dug though a plastic bag for the remaining magic lure. Because the weather was worsening by the minute, I quickly retied a new length of leader and climbed back out of the boat. Aaron clipped off the lure I had given him and replaced it with his last magic bait.

Over the next hour or so he caught his fair share of fish, but nothing any larger than I was catching. Content with his limit of slot reds and five nice trout, he announced that he needed to call it a day. We narrowly beat the expected downpour and he was able to get out of his waders and on the road without getting too wet.

After getting the boat back on the trailer, I was housekeeping when I noticed his empty plastic bag which contained a receipt for one pack of jig heads and the three magic baits. The soggy number at the bottom of the thin strip of paper blew me away. The total cost was $90.29!

I was immediately overcome with guilt for even suggesting that he break off that lure. At nearly $30 a pop and having already lost one, I would have been stripping down for a swim. That is three times the cost of a Corky and we go to great lengths to retrieve them at times, but my assortment of $30 lures would not require a very large tackle box.

I found the lure on the computer that night and depending on where he bought them, he apparently paid a very competitive price. The lure was one of the big SPRO swim baits spawned in California. Having only fished with Aaron one time, I assume that he saw them dupe mammoth bass on television and hoped they would have the same effect on trout.

I commend him for thinking outside the box while acknowledging the fact that he must also have a well-paying job. Most everything associated with bass fishing has made us even more effective as light tackle saltwater fishermen, but I am going to have to forego my chances of catching trophy trout if it requires feeding $30 lures to fish with teeth!

It looks as though we are not going to get a lot of help from Mother Nature this week. The warm-up certainly won’t be as quick as it was following the last cold front, but you can still catch fish provided you have little regard for your overall health, a strong constitution, and warm fishing clothes.

Even with the best of conditions, trout do not feed everyday across the winter months, but the redfish will take up the slack. Having an incoming tide and the warmest hours of the day coincide also helps swing the odds in your favor. I prefer to fish the clearest available water, but the presence of bait fish in the area is even more important.

Corkies, Catch V’s, and Gulp or plastic tails rigged on light jig heads will all catch both trout and reds and I am not into excluding either fish when bites are few and far between. This is not to say that you cannot have a banner day, but they are the exception. That coveted shot at a single giant trout is always a possibility, however, even on the toughest of days.

If you just can’t help yourself, fish with a partner, let someone at home know where you plan to fish for the day, pack extra clothes, extra food and quality rain gear. Good weather or bad, I will be out there sharing your pain!