Cold December = Hot Trout
What do you think about when the temperature drops after our first cold fronts of winter? Is it sitting by a warm fireplace? Wearing moccasins? Making beef and vegetable soup? If these are the things that comfort you in the winter time, then read no further. If layering up in your warmest hunting gear and suffering through a 30 degree boat ride to smash 100 speckled trout in the face, please continue reading. In the depths of lower Terrebonne Parish, speckled trout hunker down to ride out the chilling water temperatures. When I say hunker down, I mean literally going down deep into more stable conditions. Because the surface temperature of our water fluctuates so much, speckled trout find deep places that aren’t dramatically affected by changing water temperatures.
All marine creatures are sensitive to rapid changes. This could be water temperature or salinity to name the most important. Which leads to another point. Salinity. Salt water is dense, we all know that. Ok. Let’s put this together. Dense saltwater will by physical nature exist at the bottom of the water column. Less dense freshwater from rain or runoff will always remain at the surface. So now we have two important things working for us to keep speckled trout confined to certain locations. Now what do we do with this information? I like to start on Google Earth. I will search my entire area for existing or abandoned man made oil canals. I know those areas will be deep enough to meet my criteria and harbor speckled trout. I’ll also look for areas like bottlenecks deep inside the marsh. Those types of places are usually deep because the current is constricted and will create deeper water.
Now that we have figured out the ideal places for wintertime speckled trout, time to go catching. In the winter, I like to use a tight line style approach to fishing trout. A winter time trout bite can be so subtle that it may not even feel like an actual bite. The line may become a little taught as though the fish is just sitting there with the bait in its mouth already. Thus, sensitivity is the ultimate key to success. You need a lightweight setup. I like a 6′ 8″ medium light Duce rod with microguides. A lightweight reel is also important. Abu Garcia Revos work great. Now the line. 20-30 lb Fins Wintamer braid sounds perfect. On the business end, I ALWAYS use a 2 ft. length of fluorocarbon leader. Why? Just do it alright? Onto the fluorocarbon leader I will tie a 1/4 oz. H&H Pro Cocahoe jighead. Also on the business end I will use various soft plastic swimbaits such as the Relfexion Lil Bammer in Ghost or Pearl Melon (Chicken on a Chain).
Now you have the perfect setup to catch winter time speckled trout. It will take some practice to determine when you have a bite. Like I said, its not easy to feel but in time you will learn when to set the hook. I always tell my customers when in doubt set the hook. Some days the fish want a twitch. I will pop the bait off the bottom three times and let it fall back down and sit. When I say let it sit, you want to maintain contact with that bait only by reeling fast enough to keep a taught line. Sometimes its painfully slow but I see so many folks reeling way too fast and thus losing opportunity at a strike. There you have it folks, genuine information from a guy who has done it thousands upon thousands of time. If you think you’re ready to get out there and brave the elements for catches like those below from December 2014, give me a shout. We’ll have a great time and you’ll learn how to catch more speckled trout, I guarantee it.