Hold on to Your Hats — November 17, 2008

Yes folks it’s that time of year.  Dad, Teddy, and the rest of the geriatric guide squad are acting like kids again.  Trophy Trout season is upon us.  The bay has been flushed with a big rain event in May and then that witch Dolly in July and mixed with the reduction in pressure due to high gas prices and the new limits…hold on to your hats…it will be a banner year for big trout. 

This summer marked one of the best summers I remember since the late 1990’s.  I know dad, Teddy, Mitch, and myself have had days where the average size trout our clients catch are in the upper teens rather than the dismal 14 ¾ inch ones that marked last year before regulation changes.  The changes worked and we are seeing a return of our middle class sized fish.  For the folks that argued the issue was simply a water quality factor, sorry that holds, no pun intended, no water.  We are seeing increases across size classes and have had a number of mid-summer early fall 28+ inchers.  Now let’s hope the upcoming scoping meetings can do the same for the flounder.

On flounder, let’s put it this way, they are a very temperature sensitive fish and have a number of issues affecting their breeding habits.  With the addition of gigging, we are primarily removing brood stock females from the population.  Science don’t lie.  Yeah that bubba disapprobation of the English language was on purpose to highlight the idiocy of not believing in science and numbers.  If you attend the Flounder scoping meetings, please consider changing the status of the Flounder to that of a game fish.  TPWD may then be eligible to receive matching FSR to help stock hatchery based fish back into our fisheries.  To read more, check out a few of the articles I have written www.brandonshuleroutdoors.com.

Now to the report…

Friday marked a decent day wading the flats on fly.  I personally caught a 26-inch trout on a small popper in twelve inches of water…I love sight-casting trout more than reds.  I had a new friend Teddy catch his first trout (18 Inches) on fly.  Since dad and numbers dictated I had conventional and fly fishermen, my work was cut out for me.  So we started the morning catering to the fly guys.  The conventional guys picked up a few good trout on Zara Puppies in super skinny water and the fly guys picked up a few trout and rat reds.

As the day progressed, I moved the crew over to conventional water and turned it on.  We got into a few decent little trout and Ben decided to turn on the big trout magnet.  He caught a 29, got a free rod for the catch and release, and a 26.  Although we give a free rod to anyone that releases a 25, we only give one rod per trip.  Sorry Ben!  We caught all our fish on top’s and mixed in a few reds to match.

Trout were caught on White Body/Red head Tops and dark backed light bellied soft plastic Yum Jerk Shad.  The reds seemed to look more for chrome or flashier tops and darker soft plastics. 

Over the next few weeks after this blazing cold front, look for trout and reds to start mimicking their winter patterns.  However, remember we are still in a transitional period.  Takes clues from Ma Nature on which patterns will hold for the day.  And as always, remember to catch and release when you have more than you need.