- Winter Fish Patterns -
Breaking the Code by Al Rogers
On a chilly morning in late-November, Capt. Charlie Thomason was slamming
the speckled trout in the outer bays near Delacroix, La., a rustic fishing
village on the east side of the Mississippi River. Significant numbers of
fish in the one- to three-pound class were arriving en masse, as they made
their first big push into areas such as Lake Campo, Oak River Bay and Bay
Lafourche. And there was Thomason, methodically positioned to take full
advantage of the annual migratory event. This was a classic post-spawn feed
and he knew these fish were "bulking up," storing energy for the
cold winter that would be setting in shortly.
For more than a week the spotted predators continued to eat voraciously,
gorging of baitfish and shrimp. The reports were coming out of this region
was not what most consider to typify winter fishing. As word spread in early
December many others came to fish here. And they remained, relentlessly
casting baits through mid-December. But Thomason was nowhere to be found.
He knew the success in these outer bays would be short lived. With plummeting
air and water temperatures, he was the first to move deeper into the confines
of the interior marshes. Years of experience told him it was time.
A few miles away on the west side of the Mississippi River, Capt. Eric
Muhoberac was having a field day in Lake Grand Escaille, on the southeastern
edge of Barataria Bay. Trout were slapping surface baits like it was a warm
summer afternoon. But this was December, and he knew it was time to change
the game plan...
- The Art of Catching Flounder on Artificials
by Jeff Herman
- ...along with a little bit of faith
- I always equate
flounder fishing with an old quote about faith. St Augustine wrote: "Faith
is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what
- There has been significant discussion about flounder
in recent months. As Texas Parks and Wildlife is considering new regulations
for flounder, they recently held meetings for public comment on their new
proposals. For the record, I strongly support tighter flounder regulations;
but in the meantime, until these regulations help increase the populations,
I want to focus on improving your flounder fishing with artificial lures,
(and just a little bit of faith).
- Flounder can be caught consistently almost year
round on the upper Texas coast, and it is a fallacy to think that they
can only be targeted during the autumn flounder run. The flounder run;
usually October, November, and December, concentrates flat fish in passes
and channels as they head to the open gulf waters to spawn. Of course,
this tends to be the time that they receive the most fishing pressure too.
However, spring and summer months are also a great time to chase flounder,
and if you know where to look and how to fish for them, you'll find that
flounder fishing can be successful almost all year...
Capt. Robert Brodie
- Top tips for winter from South Mississippi...
- Winter has finally set in, and now south Mississippi anglers can expect
a flurry of cold fronts from now through March. However, the chill of winter
doesn't mean the bite on speckled trout, redfish, sheepshead, and black
drum is off, no, not for a minute. Some of the best inshore angling can
occur during these colder months, and anglers that are willing to brave
the colder elements have a good chance to find these fish concentrated
in areas of deeper water.
The Back Bay of Biloxi gave up good catches of fish from September through
November of 2008, but as the winter conditions worsen, an angler can expect
to find most of these fish, especially the speckled trout and redfish to
leave the open waters of the bay and migrate up its tributaries. In the
tributaries, including bayous, rivers, and connecting lakes, a combination
of deep bends, holes, as well as various drop offs and ledges will attract
cold weather migrants.
Some of the more noted tributaries that connect to the Back Bay of Biloxi
include: the Biloxi River, Tchoutacabouffa River, Old Fort Bayou, Gulfport
Lake, and Bernard Bayou. Fort Bayou is located on the northeastern end of
the Back Bay of Biloxi, and it's full of bends associated with deep holes
and adjacent flats. Gary Gardner of Vancleave, MS grew up fishing this fish
rich bayou with his father, and knows it like the back of his hand...
- Chugging for Trout
by Chester Moore, Jr.
- Chuggers are tops for winter trout...
- "We're not bass fishing Chester."
That was the reaction I got last winter when some friends of mine and
I decided to go catch some winter trout on West Galveston Bay.
"Chuggers are for old guys."
"Get with the times."
I heard it all that morning but soon their words were silenced by the
beautiful "sploosh" of a speck sucking under my chugger, a custom
plug called the Pop-N-Run.
I didn't out fish all of my friends using walkers that day but I did
manage to get a higher blow-up to land ratio.
Back when I first started fishing heavily with topwaters, I was given
some Rattlin' Chug Bugs to test and had great success. Since that time,
I started fishing walking plugs like the Skitter Walk and She Dog much more
but recently I have found myself getting back to chuggers, particularly
Chuggers are highly underrated for catching big trout and during the
winter, their more leisurely pace loud "sploosh" can grab the
attention of big sows in the bays. That is why I got a better blowup to
hookup ratio on the day described above...
- Gulf Coast Closeup - by Mike Price
- Panacea, Florida
- Panacea, one of the lesser known
coastal communities in Florida, claims a high percentage of undeveloped
land in the county with plenty of seafood on the docks daily fresh out
of the Gulf of Mexico and the area still retains undisturbed natural splendor.
Located in Wakulla County less than an hour drive from Tallahassee, you
will find the community warm and friendly. Panacea was named for the all-potent
healing powers attributed to a spring that once flowed near town.
- Panacea is home to the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory. Founded by
biologist Jack Rudloe, the private, non-profit lab supplies live marine
fish and invertebrates to colleges and universities in the United States,
Canada, and Britain.
- For most visitors, the main attractions here are the 30,000 gallons
of seawater in marine aquariums and touch tanks and the creatures like
sea horses, scallops and starfish that live in them. Touch tanks offer
close encounters with living whelks, sand dollars and crabs. No matter
how old you are, watching the tiny hairs undulate across the perfectly
symmetrical face of a living sand dollar is fascinating to see.
- Writers, craftsmen, artisans and many other creative people live in
or near Sopchoppy, a place Charles Kuralt considered one of his favorites
and was named one of the "Best Little Towns in America." Worm
Gruntin', a worm raising technique documented by Kuralt, is an annual Sopchoppy
event held the first Saturday in April. ..
- This issue in OUR DEPARTMENTS...
- Paddling Out - Texas'
Angler Recognition Program- by Jeff Herman
- Rod & Reel'n Offshore - Horsehead Jigs Offshore
- by Patrick Lemire
- Equipment Notebook
Installation Tips - by David Ayers
- The Bay Naturalist
- What the Heck is That? - by
- The Fly Guy -
Less is Best
- by Pete Cooper, Jr.
- Tackle Time
- The Tweeners - by
- Bait Hook
- Tricks of the Trade
- by Jim Martin
- From the Publisher...
- Besides all these great articles and departments, Gulf Coast Fisherman
is the only source for the Wells Daily Fishing Forecast.
Each issue carries three months of the Wells Daily
Fishing Forecast - with Monthly Fishing Calendars. Also, don't forget
about the Advance Planning Calendars in each issue that takes you out three
months past the current issue. This will provide what you need to intelligently
plan your fishing trips - hours, weeks, and up to six months in advance!
- Top saltwater guides and fishermen use the Wells Daily Fishing Forecast - shouldn't you be using it ,too?...
- "The fisherman that knows what the currents
are doing has the advantage - over fish and fishermen!"
- And remember - "Fish feed everyday, somewhere
" - Harold Wells
- Gary Ralston