By Daniel Wilson and Steve Roberts
“Two Hooks Kayak Fishing”
OddBall Tackle sponsored team, Overcast Lure Co brand ambassadors, Dexter Outdoors Captains and Guides teammembers, Find Your Outdoors pro staff
COLD WATER KAYAK FISHING
If you are reading this article, then chances are you are dreaming about fishing. Heck, we don’t blame you! January is the month to explore deep water pockets and channels in search of big speckled trout. The start of the new year is almost certain to have the trout in full winter habits with the water temperatures at an all-time low and staying there.
With the cold weather and cleaner colder water, there are several techniques that can help you increase you luck with cold water specks.
It has taken me some time to pull away from the use of live bait while speckled trout fishing. Sometimes, it is hard to fish all day with artificial to only a have a few strikes or a single fish to show for your hard work.
One thing I can say about using artificial baits for trout, it forces me to pay attention and connect with the fish like never before. It has taught us many things that we never noticed while using live bait. I now pay attention to variables such as tide movement, moon phases, water temperatures and clarity. Each one of those variables can alter the attitude and appetite of the fish.
Some of the techniques that I like to use this time of year are very simple. A small tackle tray or two can cover almost all of them.
Let’s start with one that seems to be the easiest to use and adapt, the soft plastic jig or swimbait.
Start off by selecting a couple soft plastic jigs of various colors, a good start point would be chartreuse, pinks, and a darker color. I prefer to carry a few jig/hook options for this style of fishing. A few different weights of lead jig heads to match the depth and current, such as those made by Gulf Coast Custom Tackle, and a few sizes of weighted hooks to rig the bait weedless. A lighter action rod will help you feel the sometimes soft bite of a cold trout.
Start by working the jig in deeper water with a slow bounce, and methodically work your way into shallower depths until you find the fish.
Another familiar technique to local trout anglers is the suspending twitchbait. I can not say enough good things about this bait. If you have never thrown it, pick up one or two different styles and have fun! This bait brings so much versatility to the kayak angler. Based on your retrieve and cadence, you are able to work quite a bit of the water column to find the trout. Be mindful that not all twitchbaits are created equal. Some have a faster sink rate than others and some even float. There are many styles, shapes, sizes and materials out there. So, customize your arsenal and start catching!
Remember that winter time trout can be sluggish and down right lazy, and they like dinner the same way. Keeping your baits slowly descending in the water column with a slow cadence can make the difference.
When the trout bite slows down for the day, we like to shift gears and move into the creeks and bayous to sight fish for slot redfish. Whether you are a novice or a master at this skill, it is always a very rewarding experience. We like to use a ¼ ounce or lighter jig with various soft plastics. We stand and ease along the marsh banks and grass lines searching for signs of movement or the actual fish. Being as stealthy as possible is a must, noise and movement can easily spook redfish. Keep your rod close to you while you use your paddle to slowly move around. When you are ready to make a cast, slowly lower paddle, grab your rod and present the bait.
With the negative tides we commonly experience in the winter months, you can also take a less direct approach and target small flowing creeks that empty into larger channels. The current will push bait out and redfish will wait in ambush.
One thing that most forget about while kayak fishing is safety. Two Hooks Kayak Fishing always promotes safety while on the water. A safety flag, noise making device and PFD are necessary safety items while kayaking.
Stay safe and we will see yall on the water!
Daniel Wilson and Steve Roberts
Two Hooks Kayak Fishing