Santa has delivered Christmas early this year. Big trout fishing has been good earlier than normal. It wasn’t until later in the winter last year when the big girls started showing up in good numbers but this year the winter, mud and shell, pattern has started early.
The deep water reef bite that began around the beginning of December has already coughed up some healthy trout. I made a few trips over the last seven days with good success. If the start is any indication of what the rest will be like then we’re in for a great winter.
One trip was pretty uneventful except for one fish. I caught a bunch of trout but nothing over the 18″ -19″ range until right after dark. I contemplated several times whether I should leave but for some reason I kept fishing. About 45 minutes after dark I landed my last fish and the second best trout of my life, a 28.25″ 8lb beauty while wading. She didn’t hit the bait hard or put up much of a fight other than a few surface thrashing head shakes until she got close.
When I first saw her I still didn’t think she was very big because of the darkness. I finally realized how big she was about the time I played her out and she was within arm’s reach. I tried clinch the boga to her bottom lip, but after several failed attempts I just pinned her to the side of my leg to get her under control and in my grasp. After a few quick photos and a measurement the big girl was released. I caught all my fish on a TTF Hackberry Hustler in morning glory on 1/4oz or 3/8oz jigheads bounced slowly on the bottom.
Another trip between Chris, Clint, Judson, and myself was epic. We had somewhere between 80 – 90 trout to 6lbs, 10 reds, and 1 flounder. Chris put on an absolute clinic; he accounted for over half of our total and caught the two biggest fish (one pictured below) a 4lb and 6lb trout. We landed approximately 15 total that went over 20″.
We caught most our fish on morning glory plastics, but we did catch a few on lighter colored baits including texas shrimp, liquid shrimp, and mumpy glo. We were throwing a variety of lures including TTF Hackberry Hustler, Bass Assassin, TTF Trout Killer, TTF Flats Minnow, and a TTF Big Mino.
The bite has varied but most strikes are subtle except for a few fish that are still attacking baits aggressively. Sensitive rods and braid has made a big difference in being able to detect the bite. Also, the fish are still feeding on shrimp but mullet is starting to become a mainstay in their diet.