Dear Captain " When the water temp is 84, how far out and what depth is good for trout? "
Here are a couple of ways to pick up good trout in the summer: One, fish dock-lights at night, or two, fish early in the morning from before the sun rises until around 10 am. The trout will be shallow then in four feet of water or less. As soon as the heat of the day kicks in, I would stay anywhere from 5-to-15 feet of water. I would also make sure the area has thick turtle grass.
These big trout will bury themselves in the grass during the day and you must put your bait or artificial down on the bottom. If you don't get the bait right in front of them down in the grass, they will not chase it to eat it. There are two important keys to this. One is drifting and the other is to use a jig. You have to cast the jig ahead of your drift, letting it sink all the way down to the bottom of the grass and then slowly move it on the bottom. So when you are drifting and casting the slack line will be coming at you. Use as light of a jig as you can, as long as it gets down to the bottom. You can fish a weed-less jerkbait if you are picking up too much grass. To control your drift direction, keep your outboard engine down (and off) and use the skeg and shaft as your rudder. If the wind or the tide is moving too fast, employ a drift sock (sea anchor).
If you have a successful drift catching some good trout, and you want to drift that track line again, make sure you do not run back up the same line you drifted. You will blow or scare all your trout out of the grass. Take a wide berth away from your drift line and slowly motor back up and around to the first point you started at. I always start a track line with my GPS so that I get the exact location. You can also drop your anchor or power pole, or stick anchor if you catch a trout and then you can work that area thoroughly. While you are drifting, look for structure changes on the bottom such as a deeper tidal channel cut or potholes (sand holes). Look for where the grass meets a tidal channel cut, or where the grass meets an oyster bar or rocks.Thank you for sending in your question to The Online Fisherman.
Captain David M Rieumont
The Online Fisherman Inc.