NEVER TOO COLD OR MUDDY

The water wasn’t lapping over the dock the day before, but that was the 

day before.I lost the coin toss so it was my turn to take off my 

sandals, roll up my jeans and bite the bullet.The water is not only 

muddy right now, but cold as well! Because we agreed that it was much warmer riding in the truck than the boat, we opted to drive around the lake and launch a little closer to 

the area we hoped to fish. While L.J. Hollier reaped the benefits of the 

longer truck ride, wet feet and soggy jeans tempered my enthusiasm.

As soon as we entered the lake we discovered that the forecasted 3 to 5 

mph wind was closer to 15 to 17 mph and our shoreline was completely 

blown out.I would have called it day, licked my wounds and returned 

home, but L.J. would have none of it. His “Maybe we can find some fish in that tide line change in the bayou”  plan quickly gave way to “Maybe we can catch a few flounder with 

Gulp.”Neither option worked and I was still trying to get my left shoe 

on over a wet sock when he proposed yet another plan. If possible, the wind was blowing even harder when L.J. tied on some  Academy brand crankbait in Sexy Shad and headed back up the bayou.I  don’t think his little square bill even had a name, but it would dive 3 

to 5 feet and, more importantly, he had murdered the redfish with it in 

the same conditions only a decade earlier.Why not? The first fish that just crushed his crankbait, at least based on L.J.’s  violent hook set was a four inch croaker that flew across the bow of the 

boat twice before coming off in mid-air on the third pass.“The tide made 

it feel bigger,” he offered without looking me in the eye. Probably twenty casts later, a redfish smacked the little crankbait that  proved to be worthy of another boat shaking hook set.I was still wearing  only one shoe as I slid the net under a pale, but solid slot fish.There 

was no doubt that he had not seen any clear water in a while. We fished the same three or four hundred yard stretch of the bayou five 

times before calling it a day.No one was counting, but L.J. easily 

caught both of our limits with his little “look alike” crankbait.I 

didn’t even have a crankbait in my zip lock sack, but I did manage to 

fool a few fish with a single spin quarter ounce spinnerbait rigged with 

a four inch red shad paddle tail Assassin. Only a week or so back, Capt. Chuck was pointing out the wisdom in  fishing lures that produce a little more noise in badly off-colored 

water.The strike zone shrinks considerably and any vibration or added 

rattle is as valuable as choice of color. I personally prefer darker 

colors in muddy water simply because they present a more definitive profile. The learning curve for the day was to not give up simply because the 

water is muddy, the wind is howling and you are freezing your butt off 

due to wet feet.Fishing with a committed partner helps as well!

I prefer to fish crankbaits on 10 to 12 pound monofilament in clear 

water simply because the lure performs better on the lighter line.It is 

also less visible, which may or may not help, and a loop knot is easier 

to tie.The only downside is that you give up the unparalleled 

sensitivity of braid due to the stretch factor and that can be a game 

changer when fishing off-colored water in the colder months.

Until the visibility improves significantly, I will stick with 20 or 30 

pound braid with several feet of 20 pound monofilament leader.As a rule 

I opt for two to three feet of leader, but employ a much longer leader 

when wading as it aids in cutting off and re-tying.

Catching is not easy right now, but it is not impossible even with all 

of the runoff.Dress in layers, snack often and let someone know exactly 

where you are going and when to expect you back.Pay attention to tide 

changes and major feeding periods and plan your day accordingly!