The fishing has been fire hot lately, with tide being the determining factor on where to target, Hodge said.
"On a rising tide you can usually do well in the bays along the river; if the tide is falling you should fish the drains and canals," he said.
If the tide is slack, then the veteran guide pays attention to other conditions to decide where to throw his bait.
"If there is no tide, the wind on a wind-blown bank can be a good thing," Hodge said. "This can cause water movement around points and cause bait to stack up on the bank."
After maneuvering the boat into position, Hodge picked up what seemed to be a homemade Cajun anchor assembled with PVC pipe and anchored us over an oyster reef at a reasonable distance from a wind-blown bank. We immediately began catching black drum and redfish while tight-lining on the bottom with bait shrimp on ⅜-ounce jigheads. We were even able to catch some reds under corks.
"Bait shrimp or a black-and-chartreuse plastic minnow tipped with bait shrimp are mostly what I use," Hodge said, "The water temperature is at 63 right now, so you want to crawl the bait across the bottom."
But that changes if water temperatures plummet.
"The fish are a lot more aggressive in warmer temperatures," Hodge said. "In colder water temperatures I just let the bait sit like I'm cat-fishing."
We ended up catching scores of reds and black drum, but there wasn't a trout in the ice chest — which came as no surprise to Hodge.
"You missed the trout by about two weeks," he said. "The river rose a little bit, and that was a wrap on the trout bite."