Hand warmers are essential to deer hunting and other outdoor activities performed in teeth-chattering cold temperatures. Insert these warm packets into your jacket, and it’ll put the life right back into you.
Speckled trout don’t exactly have such warmers, but they get it from a different type of source.
“Rocks heat up quickly, and they put off more warmth that gets the fish active,” Capt. Bubby Lamy said.
The In & Out Charters guide fishes the Great Wall a whole lot this time of year, and one of his favorite areas to target is the MRGO rocks.
“On those December days when it’s cool outside and the sun is really high and bright, I love fishing those rocks,” Lamy said.
The rocks extend from the wall all the way past Hopedale, but Lamy concentrates on the ones closer to the wall.
Not only do the fish get along the rocks for warmth, but that same heat also attracts the prey.
“I also think that’s where the baitfish hide,” Lamy said.
The charter captain likes casting at the rocks, working jighead back to the boat.
“Usually, the fish are a little bit off the rocks,” Lamy said. “Now, I have days later in January where those fish are right up against the rocks. In December, I’m always finding them in about 18 feet of water.”
Playing the fronts is a sizeable part to having success in December, but they’re not as big of a factor now as in February, according to Lamy.
“The fronts don’t affect me as much until the water temperature really drops (significantly),” he said. “The only thing the fronts might change is the time I leave the dock. You can end up leaving a little later because if it’s really cold, the fish are going to be (lethargic).”
Perhaps more than any other time of year, staring at the temperature gauge on your depth finder is of the utmost importance. However, Lamy said to not be fooled by the transducer.
“Just because the surface temperature says one thing doesn’t mean the water temperature at 17 feet is the same,” he cautioned.
Because of the thermocline effect, anglers can safely add a few degrees to their gauge’s reading to get an accurate assessment.
Lamy fishes all around The Great Wall, and in addition to the rocks, he recommended places like the Hot Water Canal and the outside of the wall.
For fishing the area, Lamy likes throwing a 3/8-ounce jighead teamed with Matrix Shads in a variety of colors.
“If I’m on a trip and a customer wants live shrimp, I’ll get it for him,” he said. “But we fish plenty of plastics.”
However, Lamy said he adjusts the speed of his retrieve based on the water temperature.
“It’s very important to get your bait to the bottom,” he said. “In December, you’re definitely going to want to work your bait slower, too.”