Oh sweet December is finally here!
I know that really does not even sound right, but this truly is the best time of the year and that is not just because of Christmas! Our drought conditions in 2022 have us poised to have the best wintertime fishing that we have had in years.
I think one of the biggest decisions an angler has to make when launching the boat in December, or any of the winter months for that matter, is whether or not to try and target big fish or to try and catch as many fish as possible. It is not impossible to do both, although if desiring to catch a trophy you will typically have to put your time in.
The definition of “trophy trout” is highly subjective and varies tremendously from one angler to the next. To me a trophy trout is an eight pound or better fish. I have also taken people fishing that to them a trophy was a four pounder and there is nothing wrong with that. It is all in the eye of the beholder.
In regards to the “how to” most have heard to slow down and then to fish even slower.
Slowing down or fishing slower is often times effective and necessary starting in December and extending through February, however that is not always the case. Paying close attention to the water temperature, bait activity and how you get bit will be the greatest indicators as to what speed you should be working your lure.
A quick generalization is if the water temperature is 60 degrees or more, then you will likely be able to get the trout to bite a topwater or lures worked at a quicker, more aggressive tempo. If the water temperatures are between 50 to 60 degrees then it is most likely time to start slowing down the retrieve and/or fall rate of the lure you are fishing. Using your favorite soft plastic rigged on a lighter jighead, a Corky Fatboy or a MirrOdine are some key players that come to mind. I would recommend that you still vary the retrieve speed until you start getting bit.
Fishing with water temperatures less than 50 degrees I would recommend preparing mentally for a tough day of trout fishing although there are some banner days mixed in with those cold temperatures.
There are a few key points to consider when looking for the spot that you are going to catch your “trophy.”
First, there really has got to be deep-water access close by. Trout will retreat to warmer, deeper water when they are not feeding, so this point is rather critical.
Secondly, bait activity needs to be present. A Cajun is not very likely to stick around a crawfish boil that has run out of crawfish and beer. Well a trophy trout is not very likely to stick around on a flat that has nothing on it to eat, either. A couple of well known, and for good reason, locations on Big Lake are both Joe’s Cove and Turner’s Bay.
They both have quality deep-water access and are typically rather abundant in the food source department. Both offer opportunities for wade or boat fishermen, although I have a strong preference for wading. During the winter I also pay more attention to the solunar calendar than any other time of the year. Make sure you are where you want to be when the major is on and not running around from spot to spot.
Have confidence in where you are and what you are doing and be patient, the fish will show.
Capt. Adam Jaynes can be reached at (409) 988-3901 and on Facebook at Just Fish Guide Service.
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