Many anglers see cold weather as a problem, but Capt. Travis Miller sees wintry conditions as a solution to a problem.
With South Louisiana having pretty much avoided cold weather until this weekend, Miller, with Millertime Fishing Charters, and his fellow guides out of Bayou DuLarge have found speckled trout trying to stack up in small, protected canals without fully committing yet.
“That’s going to change with this cold weather we’ve got coming in,” Miller said during a trip on Wednesday. “Right now the bigger trout are in deeper water, but the majority of them are still scattered out just waiting on conditions to get right to stack up.”
Miller, Leonard Adkins, and I planned this trip when Wednesday was the last day of a 10-day forecast. Conditions - the wind especially - looked perfect ten days out, but the howling beneath The Reel Inn lodge on Tuesday night had us bemoaning our lack of luck.
“Fifteen to 20 tomorrow,” Miller told me as we turned in for the night. “Hopefully we’ll be able to tuck into a few pockets or canals and get out of it. The only thing is the trout aren’t stacked up in those spots yet. They’re close, but we may have to poke around a while to find some.”
After a 20-minute run from The Reel Inn Wednesday morning, Miller deployed his Motor Guide and started casting a shrimp creole Matrix Shad under a popping cork. Adkins did the same while I checked to see if anything would hit the same bait tight-lined on the bottom.
The wind was still blowing, but it seemed to be blowing around us since we were protected by tall canes on all sides.
Miller and Adkins didn’t waste any time and quickly caught 20 trout — then the bite shut off as quickly as it has begun.
He moved us to a pipeline canal that would typically hold tons of trout during cold weather.
“I’m just not sure we’re going to get on them like we usually do this time of year,” he said as he started casting a glow colored Matrix Shad to the edges of the cane. “We’ll catch some… just not sure how many.”
We bounced around picking up a bass here and a trout there until Miller settled onto a spot that was 6 feet in the middle with 2-foot flats on both sides of the canal. It was kind of an intersection where one canal dead-ended into another.
Although we could hear the wind ripping over our heads, we were completely protected and were actually fishing calm water with hardly a ripple.
As we enjoyed our surroundings and got lost in our conversation, our baits started staying still on the bottom for long periods of time. Apparently that was exactly what the trout wanted — they started picking our baits up off the bottom when they were sitting perfectly still.
We took that as our cue to work our plastics as slowly as possible on the bottom. In the next hour or so, trout either picked up our baits off the bottom, or they ate them with a steady slow-roll style retrieve that barely crawled them on bottom.
“I think they’re starting to get into that winter pattern,” Miller said as we started packing for our ride back. “If you noticed today most of our bigger bites came on the bottom. As it gets colder, many of the trout that were scattered on the flats will go down there and join them. When they get thick like that, it’s as good of a bite as you’ve ever experienced.”
To see video action from the trip with more cold-weather trout tips from Miller, click here.
Miller expects the cold this weekend to drive the trout to the deep canals, but he doesn’t think the bite will really kick off until the middle of next week.
“Because the weather is supposed to be so bad, we’ll probably have a bunch of redfish this weekend. But once it warms up just a little, these stacked up trout will feel like eating starting about Wednesday. I don’t know where you’re going to be, but I know exactly where I’m going to be — sitting right on top of them.”