Targeting Winter Trout

Now that the water temperatures have dropped in the Lowcountry, strong winds and cool temperatures seem to be the norm for a majority of our days during our winter months, the inshore angler starts to slow down.

There’s just not as many inshore fish available during these cold months, and the chill in the air affects our abilities to move quickly and smoothly.

Cupping our hands and bringing them to our mouths as we blow a warm breath through our fingers to warm them up.

Shrugging our shoulders and tightening our jackets snug around our necks, and pulling hoodies over our fishing hats, just trying to stay warm.

Just discussing it puts a chill down my spine, but we are not the only ones slowing down because of the temperatures during the winter months.

In fact, one of our favorite inshore species to fish for this time of year is Spotted Seatrout.

Fishing for them becomes a challenge, using slightly different techniques than an angler would use during our spring and summer months.

One of our favorite inshore species to fish for this time of year is Spotted Seatrout.

Spotted Seatrout, like us, become slower in their movements and reactions in cold temperatures.

We find younger Trout schooling and grouping up in deeper water and pools, clinging closer to the sea floor.

Larger Trout between 20- to 25 inches are found scattered and usually found alone.

They’re hanging around structure and grass lines during high tides, ambushing anything on their menu that entices them into a strike.

This is when the inshore angler loves to indulge in tactics using artificial baits.

Artificial Shrimp, like D.O.A., Billy Bay, Vudu and Live Target, are some of my personal favorites.

A quarter ounce or half ounce weight will do just fine, depending on the depth of the water you are fishing.

If you are trying to bring your bait to the bottom in a 20-foot deep pool, I would recommend the half ounce.

If you are working a grass line on a sunny day, the quarter ounce may be the way to go.

Again, this might depend on conditions. If it is very windy, you may want to stay with a half ounce.

This will help maintain control of your lure while the wind blows your fishing line like a sail on a boat, dragging your bait in the direction of the wind.

Paddle-tail Grubs also work fantastic this time of year. Saltwater Assassin and Z-Man are two of my favorite brands.

The Z-Man Slim Swims in 2 ½ or 3 inch is my favorite, especially in the color Opening Night. These Paddle-tails imitate Glass Minnows.

Trout, during the winter, love to gorge themselves on as many of them as they can find.

The trick in using the Shrimp or a Paddle-tail will be in the presentation.

If you throw the bait like you would in the summer, casting it out and reeling it in with either fast left-to-right twitches.

Popping it up and down quickly with fast drops, may not produce a strike this time of year, because like I explained above, the Trout are moving slowly and most likely cannot effectively chase down a fast-moving bait.

I would recommend casting your lure and letting it drop to the bottom, but please remember to be careful if you are fishing over the top of an Oyster bed.

You could snag your line and lose your lure. Please make sure you are aware and familiar with the location you are fishing.

As the lure falls, you will wait to feel it stop on the bottom, then you will slowly drag your line toward you, by either raising your rod, or reeling in slowly.

Then pause, then add a slow twitch two or three times with the tip of your rod, then allow the bait to fall back to the bottom.

Reel in your slack, and then repeat the motion again until you bring your lure back to yourself, then recast.

If you are fishing in a current, cast upstream. Allow your bait to fall to the bottom, and at the same time, reel in your slack as your lure is passing down river.

Add a few slow twitches to the lure and let the water do the rest for you, just like a live Shrimp or Glass Minnow moves in the current, then continue to repeat the same action.

Allow your bait to fall to the bottom, and at the same time, reel in your slack as your lure is passing down river

While fishing these techniques, you sometimes will feel a sharp thunk on the end of your line.

This could be your lure crossing some debris, but in some cases, it will be a Trout close to the bottom, grabbing your lure as it slowly passes by.

As you tighten your line, you will feel the Trout immediately pull back. Quickly set the hook and have fun!

Just remember sometimes you will notice the strike during your next set of twitches, and if the Trout already has a hold of your bait and you move to twitch your rod, this will cause an instant hook set and fish on!

The colors of the artificials will be left to you. Sometimes it helps to find the color that works best in the location you are fishing.

Of course, location will be the hunt, finding the spot that the winter Trout you are looking for are hanging out on that one particular day at one particular time and during one particular tide.

Yes, there can be a lot to fishing, but that’s what makes fishing so fun!

I hope this helps you catch and land some nice winter Trout. Like I always say, until next time, good luck out there and have fun fishing!

To view some fishing adventures, go to my YouTube Channel Fishing With Jiggin Jerry.

You may also enjoy reading Winter Sheepshead

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