Perhaps the most challenging part of fishing is actually finding the fish.
You can have the strongest fishing line that can tow an 18-wheeler, a lure with 139 neon blue sparkles that’s sexier than Taylor Swift, a $600 G-Loomis rod that’s lighter than helium, the smoothest reel with 19 ball bearings, the sharpest hook with a cutting-edge point — but if you’re not fishing where there’s fish, you can bet your last penny your high-end merchandise won’t see slime.
The majority of anglers make their same milk-run of spots every Saturday: They just put the blinders on and don’t stop until they reach their next “hotspot.”
However, this mentality of not paying attention to the surroundings is detrimental to success. There’s no spot that always produces, no matter the wind, tide, water clarity and overall weather.
Whenever he’s running from area to area, avid angler Jonathan Ryan is always on the lookout for one of his favorite situations to fish: a tide line.
Tide lines can be dead giveaways of actively feeding speckled trout. But what the heck is a tide line?
“A tide line looks like a smooth path of water,” Ryan said. “How deep of water you’re in and how hard the tide’s moving will dictate (how wide) they are. They can range from 12 feet wide all the way down to 2 feet.”
“It’s very distinct when you see one. A lot of times you’ll see them around points and in big bays.”
Bubbles on the surface, Ryan said, will oftentimes be a feature of a tide line.
“You can see foam,” he said. “The tide will pull different types of marsh land and things like that through it.”
Tide lines are so attractive to speckled trout because it makes the water like a buffet, Ryan said.
“The bait gets funneled,” he said. “It’s just faster-moving water, and depending on how fast it’s moving will dictate how you’re going to fish it.”
Tide lines are certainly effective, but they only deliver the goods if you fish them properly, Ryan said.
“I like to cast upcurrent,” he said. “If it’s a softer tide that day, you can fish in the middle. Trout like to be lazy and they don’t want to work hard, so they’re not going to swim as much with a harder, ripping tide.”
For stronger tide days, Ryan suggested fishing on the outside of the tide line.
Depending on the time of year, Ryan throws a variety of soft-plastics on jigheads to induce strikes from speckled trout around the tide lines. His favorites are Matrix Shads and H&H Cocahoe Minnows.
“You can also throw the TKO shrimp if shrimp are getting pulled through the tide line,” he said.