Let me first start out by saying that the month of December has been one of the most diverse fishing experiences I have endured in years. I have taken hundreds of photos, logged a pile of different data, learned new locations, and best of all, made some new friends.
Over this past month I have been able to entertain 13 different people on the water, from 5 different states and 2 different countries. I have helped experienced anglers journey into the land of new techniques, and new anglers journey into the land of kayak fishing all together.
This month I have fished, Hopedale, Delacroix, Port Sulphur, Buras, Venice, Point A La Hache, Reggio, and Myrtle grove. I have logged more miles on the water than I ever imagined doing in a month. And most of this was done in an effort to help others in their quest of chasing La saltwater fish from a kayak. I was also fortunate enough to compete in the final AOY event of Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, of which I finished 5th, and I helped a film Crew for a couple of days on the water land enough redfish and bass to make several episodes of TV ready action, that will hopefully begin airing in April of 2015 on NBC.
To say it again, December, has been a month to remember.
The temperatures this month have ranged from the 30s into the 80s, the water temps have ranged from the high 50s to the mid to upper 60s. The red fishing has been remarkable and the size of the upper slot reds have been extremely heavy. The water has been clean up in the marsh ponds, the grass has died off in most areas I ventured, while in some areas, the slime has begun to implant itself along the muddy bottoms.
The trout fishing has also been phenomenal. One day in Hopedale lagoon, I was able to land a limit of trout by 730 am, while another day, I fished until 2 and only took home 17. The trout in the goon are getting better in size, and a lot less throw backs than month ago. I think we still need a couple more cold fronts before they get really heavy and schooled up in the area.
My best spec fishing has been in the hour before the big boats show up, it's almost as if the fish knew they were coming, from 6 am until 715 it was strike after strike, and after about the third boat showed up, it all slowed down. I haven't been able to find good schools of fish in their normal winter holding areas yet, but they are scattered throughout. One day, I caught most of them trolling, while two other days, I caught them all jigging, and working hard suspending lures early. Jigging for specs during the winter bite is an art, it's that time of year where light jig heads, 1/8th to 1/4 oz heads work best. The fish are beginning to get lethargic as the water temps continue to drop and their attack on lures is very subtle. When I mean subtle I mean they just tap it with ease, and if you don't set it, they spit it. Now is the time for line watching, at the first sign of your line making the slightest out of sync jump, set the hook. If you use braid and the sun is high, line watching can be tough due to the small diameter of the line, this is where a quality fishing rod comes into play, I use 13 Fishing rods in M and MH, which I have found transmit that subtle bite extremely well.
The Feel: If you were to set your lure on the ground, let your line out for about 20 yards, and have a friend walk up and just tap your line, that is what the trout bite has felt like lately. It's very subtle, soft, and quick, and the faster you learn what it feels like, the better off you will be.
Reds on the other hand have been aggressive to a degree. In deeper water they have been attacking the lure hard and then turning immediately and running with it. In the shallows, they have been attacking it, but then sitting down on it, and not usually turning and running. 99% of my redfish have been caught on the Seein Spots Inline with Kamikaze Vortex Shad or the Black and Chartreus Vortex Shad. In most cases I am site fishing and watching the fish inhale the lure and then stop. They aren't turning, or running, in several instances, I watched them just grab the tail and hold it. Watching and learning this has caused my hook rates to increase dramatically. As they grab the lure I immediately stop my retrieve and give them a second or 4 to actually turn with the lure in their mouth, its very similar to fishing a fluke or a topwater frog, don't set the hook until you feel resistance after the red has attacked the lure. I watched several people over the month set their hooks immediately to only have the lure come flying out of the water with the Chartreuse tail missing off the back end of their plastic.
The bass in the brackish waters have also been a little odd. I have found that the Berkly Powerbait swimbait in Fire Tiger has been the best approach when you know where they are sitting. But if your throwing a spoon, a little cleo specifically, they are attacking it throughout the marsh. If I am in Delacroix or Reggio and am beating the banks for reds and bass, I will throw the little cleo all day. If I am specifically targeting bass on stumps, pilons, and docks, I have bee throwing the Fire Tiger with the best success. I have landed a few large mouths on the inline
spinner too, but the spoon and swim bait have been dominant when making a conscious effort to catch bass.
Overall, December has been a blast. I apologize for not being specific to all locations and all trips, I have been too busy with work travels to stop and put everything down for a trip by trip break down, so for the first time ever, I have included an overall monthly breakdown from what I picked up throughout the month.
If you're looking to get out on the water for some fun, now is the time. Winter fishing is hands down one of my favorite times of the year. The topwater bite isn't always the best, but when you find the fish and figure out what and how they want it, you can fill the bag easily in under an hour with nonstop action. Not to mention, the fish are close to home, being able to make the short drive the Shell Beach or the Delacroix/Hopedale area is always icing on the cake.
I'd like to give a special thanks to those that helped in my experiences this month, so
Rick, Nick, Gary, Jorge, Chad, Ken, Jason, Hans, Tommy, Daniel, Charlie, Craig, and Mr. Terry........THANK YOU.
Until Next time,
Stay Safe & Catch1