The unforgiving nature of lightning always precludes any thoughts of venturing out on the water, but within reason, wind and rain only serve to make catching fish more challenging.If I am scouting alone or fishing with a friend I just factor the wind or rain, sometimes both, into the game plan and dress accordingly.

That is not, however, a viable option when fishing with clients and I cancel or re-schedule a significant number of days every year in an effort to give them the best day possible.It is frustrating enough when the weatherman guesses right and the conditions are indeed miserable, but when they miss the forecast altogether I am fit to be tied.

Local anglers will quickly tell you that even the most reliable weathermen have no clue as to how hard the wind will blow even a day in advance.They occasionally get the direction right, but any attempt at guessing the velocity is laughable.We were supposed to see 5 to 10 mile per hour winds until noon every day last week and it was white capping in my coffee cup at daylight!

Extremely high tides are making things tougher than they should be in October, but the catching is still good enough and will only improve if we don’t get too much rain this week.The tide changes have been really strong and that especially helps folks fishing the deeper water in the bayous, rivers and ICW.We have fished live bait only one time, but the hard core live bait fishermen are enjoying a far more consistent bite than we are with artificials.

In the event that you prefer to fish live bait, I would highly recommend netting both finger mullet and shad.I talk with some of the very best live bait fishermen in the area almost every day and they will readily tell you that it is not unusual for the fish to prefer one over the other.Redfish are a little less picky, but the larger trout can be very discriminating.

At least one of these veteran live bait fishermen swears that length of leader makes a huge difference when targeting trout in deeper water.He fishes a Carolina rig with a heavy enough egg weight to compensate for the tide, but the length of his leader varies from a foot to three feet in length.

He says that overly aggressive sand trout will force him to use the longer leader.He is quick to note that it can be a little more difficult to detect a bite with the longer leader, but it saves a bait or two and the larger trout seem to like the longer leader.He should know as he has caught and released five trout in the past month over 27-inches!

I wouldn’t even venture a guess as to the number of soft plastics as well as hard baits that I have never tried that are as good or better than anything I fish on a daily basis.I have the benefit of some very good sponsors and as long as they have the color and style of bait I need I have no reason to look any further.

In the event, however, that there is another bait or color that can make my job easier I will not hesitate to fish that lure and recommend that others do so as well.The Vudu shrimp certainly qualified as one such lure and recently I have found that the Heddon One Knocker fills a niche in my topwater arsenal when the larger Spook or smaller She Dog will not get it done.

As you would expect, I learned this only after getting schooled by a friend that had given up on repeatedly telling me how well it worked on those occasions when the fish only slapped at his Spook.He is convinced that it is the more subtle thump of the rattle as well as the length of the lure.Whatever….it works!

My other “come uppance” of late has been the use of the 3-inch Chicken Boy Shrimp.The flounder fishermen have been singing the four inch version’s praises for two years, but I have done exceptionally well the past two weeks fishing the shorter model under a cork.I probably would have never given it a chance had I been able to find any Gulp Mantis Shrimp in the tackle shop.

It doesn’t have Gulp’s irresistible scent, but it is the exact same size and the addition of a dab of Pro Cure’s menhaden scent makes it a close second.You also don’t have to worry about it turning into a piece of leather when left on the hook and not in use.

Last week’s front lowered the temperature enough to make things very comfortable, but there wasn’t enough wind to push much water out of the marshes.I just hate cold weather, but it is looking like it is going to take a stiff cold wind to flip the switch on the easiest fishing of the year!