With all the warm weather hanging around this winter we are still catching beautiful speckled trout in the shallow duck ponds and pipe line canals. Today I had some of my guys come in with limits of beautiful trout that were caught with in a mile from the log cabins using soft plastic for bait. Normally this late in the winter the trout have moved out to deeper water for protection from the cold water temperatures. However this year with all the warm weather we been having the fish have not left as of yet for the gulf. What a wonderful time of the year to be on the water with absolutely great temperatures good moving tide not to mention the clarity of the water is great and a dark moon to top the conditions off. Not really sure how long these good conditions will last but for now it is great fishing weather. We only have about four more weeks of the threat of cold weather and then the trout will began to start showing up near the barrier islands as they do every year. Somehow they know when the threat of any more fezzes are over. Normally the live shrimp will show up and then the food chain will follow, but for the spring of the year I find the trout will show up first on the oyster reefs near the barrier islands and then the live shrimp will show up about two to three weeks latter. It is always a very exciting time of the year in the early spring with the anticipation of another season of fishing on the horizon. Never knowing what to expect with each new year that arrives. Sometimes I can remember that the speckled trout would be a week or two late ans we would began to worry that it was going to be a bad year and then all of a sudden we would start catching limits of trout. I suppose that is the excitement of fishing here is southeast Louisiana.
Everyone should be finished up with all the boat repairs and getting new line put on your reels and just simply going over all your equipment to make sure everything is in good working order. Nothing I hate more then to get into the first bite of the year and realize the line is rotten or you are missing an eye on your rod, or more important the batter in your boat is dead. Always change your fuel left over from last year and clean out your fuel tank so you don’t mess up any of your fuel filters. Remember it wasn’t raining when the Ark was being built, the sun was shinning and the days were beautiful.
Once the early spring arrives and the speckled trout start showing up near the beach and then the live shrimp began to come in that is when you know the winter is over. It will be another four weeks before the egg sacks began to fill up with row. Sometime in the latter part of April the egg sacks will began to look full and the bite is on in full force. That aggressive speckled trout bite will last for the next five months. Sometime in September I find the egg sacks will began to go flat and the transition will take place and all the trout will move in close to the shallow lakes and duck ponds for another fall season. And there you have the entire cycle of the trout from showing up near the barrier islands to going back to the gulf for the hard part of the winter.
But for now we will continue to keep our eye on the arrival of the first trout near the gulf. I like to check on the oyster reefs as I find that hold a lot of small bait feed that attacks the speckled trout. When they first show up they are not real fat from spending the winter out in the gulf in deeper water. It is not until they are on the oyster reefs for a few weeks that they began to fatten up a bit. However I can assure you that before the egg sack reach full size they will have had plenty to eat and will look very healthy for the new breeding season. Fishing with live shrimp during the summer months is always a plus because that is what the trout mostly feed on during that time of the year. You can pull anything out of your tackle box you want but fishing with what they are feeding on in the natural I find works the best. Of course I am not saying you will not catch during the summer months using soft plastic but it is a proven fact that fishing with live shrimp during the hot time of the summer will always trump artificial bait. It pays to have a set up on your boat that keeps shrimp alive while you are fishing. These days you can go to almost any sporting goods store and buy a small container with a Mr. Bubbles and that will work fine, just remember don’t let the water temperature get to high. You can either keep the container out of the sun or you can add a little ice to the water to keep it cool. If you add a little ice remember to put it in a little sealed baggie so the city water does not change the salinity of the water you have your live shrimp in. Don’t add too much ice at one time, remember slow changes to the water is best for the shrimp. Learning how to take care of you bait will result in much better catches for you on your fishing trips. It’s not just catching fish all the time on every fishing trip, you have to learn what it takes to be successful while on the water. That my friend will make you a better angler.