Wind: 10-15 mph from S, SSE
Sky: Mostly overcast, 90% chance of rain that never came
Temperature: 72-78 F
Water Temperature: About the same as air temperature (long warming period)
Water Level: about a foot above normal
Water Clarity: Very good, 3-4 feet visibility
Time on the water: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Water covered: About 8 miles by map, but pedaled the Hobie Outback most of the day to maintain position
Other Fishers: Jeff Wickliffe
I started out throwing a chartreuse/white two blade spinner bait and picked up a nice redfish near a little island after about 10 minutes of fishing. The redfish destroyed the skirt on the spinner bait so I replaced it with a pink/yellow Salt Water Assassin Sea shad. I drifted downwind and fan casted for a few minutes and then pedaled back to the little island. I felt a few bumps and on the next cast a nice 14” speck hit the spinner bait. I worked through some islands and picked up one of those cookie-cutter 12” marsh bass on a spoon. Next cast another 24” redfish. I did not want to hammer this spot any more so I drifted downwind into some more marshy islands and missed a few redfish and then got a 22” redfish to stay on all the way to the kayak. My buddy Jeff sent a text that the trout were biting at his location, so I started working my way to him. Of course, I was casting as I went along. I got another 12” bass and then I went upwind through a wide cut with wind blowing straight through it and picked up 3 more stud redfish from 24-27”. After the tussle with the last big redfish the spinner bait was looking like it was shot. The wire and hook were bent and the sea shad body was gone. I headed toward Jeff, who was drift fishing for trout in open water in a large pond. He had 3 nice 18” fish on a Gulp! with a 1/8 oz jig head. We teamed up and looked for the big school, but never found them piled up in a particular place. Instead, they were scattered all over the pond and we just kept moving around in order to bump into them. The wind seemed to slack up a bit around noon. I had tied a nice looking white shrimp gurgler fly that I wanted to try on trout, so I tried it for a while. I got a smaller 14” trout and then one about 18” before the wind got up and encouraged me to put the fly rod away. Bob Russell (Dogdad) had given me a new lure called a suspending shrimp by Unfair Lures (www.unfairlures.com), and I thought it looked really realistic and deserved a try. The shrimp sinks and suspends, but comes to the surface when retrieved. It took some time for me to get the hang of fishing it. I first felt some hits and saw some trout swirling at it when it was on top. Finally I caught one and broke the ice. As I got better at fishing the shrimp lure the trout started staying on and I landed 3 more on it. It is definitely a good realistic lure to throw for trout and it can be worked at different levels in the water column. I pedaled upwind into some small broken islands and saw my first and only redfish of the day, but I couldn’t get a bite from it. I drifted and casted downwind and picked up a few more trout in the big pond, including a nice one of about 20” on a chartreuse green Aqua Dream spoon (another lucky gift from Bob Russell).
We started back toward the launch about 2:30, and picked up a few more trout in some little cuts between ponds. I saw a canal oriented E/W that was protected from the S wind and headed down that way. I got another marsh bass and a small orange redfish at the end of the canal. I missed several light bites that were probably reds or bass. I exited the canal and got back into the islands and found some redfish that were spread out and feeding across a shallow flat. They were all nice 22”-24”ers. I landed 4, and missed a few more including a nice one that I fought for several minutes until the hook pulled. On the way back to the launch I trolled the chartreuse spoon and picked up an 18” redfish that hit several times before finally getting the hook. As I got close to the launch I got another bite on the trolled spoon – this time a 13” marsh bass.
The fish were scattered in the unseasonably warm water and the best strategy seemed to be “keep moving”. The warm water had them feeding throughout the day, and the trend will probably continue until the next cold snap.