Thanksgiving is usually when large winter seatrout invade
’s Sound. As a result of some early cold, these fish were a few weeks ahead of schedule this year. With snook moving up into the rivers or offshore, and redfish populations thinning in the sound, these gator trout become the primary game in town. A variety of artificials will take these fish…minnow imitating plugs as well as plastic swim tail baits thrown on ¼ jig heads are both very effective. Nothing beats a live pilchard but this bait tends to disappear when water temperatures duck below 61 or so, so securing it will be an infrequent occurrence in the coming months... save some major warming trend. Large shrimp become the live bait of choice as catching these are usually as easy as driving to the local bait store or marina. Free lined or fished under a bobber, shrimp will trigger a bite from all but the most lock-jawed of trout. St Joseph
Although it is critically important to have the right bait and fish the right area, there are two other pieces of the equation. First, fish moving water. Tidal movement seems to throw the feeding switch on these larger trout so targeting times of maximum water flow is key. Second, watch the weather patterns. These big seatrout inhabit waters that are typically 2 – 5 feet deep. When a cold front blows through, inshore water temperatures can drop 6 – 8 degrees overnight. When this happens, seatrout become much more interested in warming up than eating. A strong cold front may actually shut down the bite for several days. Reciprocally, when a cold front is approaching, it’s almost as if the trout know they won’t be eating for a few days after it so they stock up and go on a major feed. Combine a good tide and pre-front conditions and you may have a “historic” day of big winter trout fishing.
Captain Stewart Ames
Gone Fishing Charters
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