Probably the most difficult task in sharing inshore saltwater fishing knowledge for species such as speckled trout and others, is the environment, currents, marshes, flats and topography differ greatly in different states and regions. Hopefully, a few of these things that work for us, can work for you as well.
While redfish and speckled trout often get more notoriety than the lowly bottom dwelling flounder, it seems that there is a special thrill seeing a big flat fish wallowing around the surface at the end of your string. More and more, it seems, anglers are now keying in and targeting these delicious fish.
Here’s to hoping this forecast is slightly better than the weatherman’s. After digging into the log books, one thing usually stands out going into spring…water temperature. It seems like 68-72 degrees is a fairly magic number. Trout spawn, redfish tail, flounder file in, triple tail start to show, sharks are on the prowl, baitfish are abundant and those white shrimp start to grow and move.
A plastic shrimp. Never work. That’s what I thought until I met Mark Nichols about 20 years ago at the old Pine Island Fish Camp in St. Augustine. Mark explained the key to this bait, was nothing. Do nothing. I didn’t completely understand that at the time, but over the years I’ve figured it out. Mark had explained that a shrimp actually moves forward at a slow and meticulous pace. That is the real magic of probably the best shrimp imitating lure on the market. I guess the “do nothing philosophy” probably needs to be explained. This bait needs to do nothing but look natural. It is the angler’s mission to keep this imitation crustacean looking “au natural”.
I have been fortunate to have received many new hard and soft baits to try in the marsh. I haven’t got to all of them but did bring some Trout Tricks along last Tues in a brutal fog. I started out a little greedy with one of my old favorites, the 52M from Mirrolure. I wanted to see if I could find a big one in some new stuff. I probably stayed with it too long, with only 2 taps, lost a small one at the boat, and pulled the hooks on what felt like a decent trout. I moved up river to some flooded mud and grass flats I had been wanting to fish. I started with the DOA clear w/red flake and got into the dinks pretty good. Finally caught a solid keeper after 12 shorts…very short. The bite quit and with time running out, switched over to the Trout Tricks. I ran to a small creek that I knew had a deep drop 2 bends back. The Trout Trick did the trick. The next 6 fish were all solid trout in the 15-17” range. I used a slow lift and drop retrieve and would just shake it now and then. Water was fairly cloudy all day but I fished the cleanest stuff I could find. Water temps were around 59 degrees and for most of the morning the fog was very thick. Definitely going to add the “tricks” to the team.