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With the cold this past week, high winds predicted with possible rains for the day, I knew that if I wanted to get out that I would have to find a protected spot, probably a creek to fish. Lucky for me, knew just the spot. Up at 4:30 and at the launch fully geared up at 6:20, I hit the water at my favorite local creek and paddled to the mouth where it empties into the bay. With the tide pushing out, I was at my first spot forty minutes later. Like I always do, I had a couple of lines out. I mix it up depending on what I have, but today I rigged one with a select shrimp under a cork and one with a dark soft plastic on a 1/8oz jig head. I did a slow loop paddling over the tip of a large oyster bar where I've caught upper slot trout many times in the past. Today was no different. As soon as I was lined up with the current, I was rewarded with a bent rod. It was the rod with soft plastic. Turned out to be a really nice fat 19+" trout, which was a great way to get the skunk off. Even better, it was the proof that the bigger trout are starting to show which is what I've been waiting for for month After that, I paddled around inside the creek mouth for a while with no other knockdowns. The tide was still moving out, and the winds weren't as bad as predicted, so I headed outside the creek. I have another spot that I like to hit, an oyster bar next to a deep channel. With the tide pushing out, I troll on the down current side on an outgoing to locate fish and then anchor on the North slope in 3' of water casting up current. Today this spot produced for nearly an hour with strikes nearly every cast. I caught on both artificials and shrimp, but the Mirrodine out caught everything else combine. Besides a couple of lady fish, all I caught in this spot were stout and aggressive trout. Most were just under slot, bit I did pick up two more keepers. Both were lower slot. After the bite died, I headed back inside the creek mouth to troll and cast with no action. The tide was now pushing out really hard, so I anchored off the same oyster bar where I caught the first fish of the day. I threw out a shrimp under a cork and cast the Mirrodine and LT Sardine upstream . No action to speak of there except short strikes and my shrimp being stolen until I pulled my float off and let my shrimp drift with a single split shot. That was the trick. Not more than 10 minutes later, I hooked into something with weight that put a really good bend in my rod and made my reel sing as it pulled drag making several short but strong runs. This brute turned out to be a 16+" black drum. I've only caught one in slot before and never eaten black drum, so I was psyched and figured I'd try for more. Well, I didn't get any more black drum, but I caught one last trout, a 17" fatty that went in the fish bag, rounding out my limit. Satisfied with that, I pulled anchor and headed back. It was a tough paddle against the last of the ripping outgoing tide, but the wind picked up some coming in from the South helping with the paddle back. I was back at the car, loaded and home before noon, in time for a hot lunch. All in all, not a bad day. In fact, it was the best day that I've had on the water in quite a while especially considering the rough conditions that were predicted.
My buddy Mike and I had the day off and wanted to get on some trout for the holiday, and after several cold fronts, I had high hopes that temps would be right and that the speckled trout would be active in the upper reaches of the Bay. The last front was a few days prior, so I knew that the waters temps would have normalized. The tides looked good for the am, but winds were to be a bit high. Not till the pm though, so we decided to gear up for an early morning creek mouth trip. I hit the bait shop the night before and stocked up on shrimp and creek chubs. I’m an anything that works fisherman, so changed a bunch of treble hooks on my hard plastics and organized my jigs and jib bodies so that I would be ready for anything. Tuesday am after hitting the water at sunup, right as the tides started pushing out, we headed to the mouth of the creek. Once there, I got my first fish of the day, a 16” speck on a dark soft plastic on my first pass slow trolling with the tide over a point. We hung there for a bit and fished just inside and outside the mouth with nothing else to show but a couple of short trout that my buddy lost in front of the boat, so we decided to move to the channel on the outside of the creek. I know this part of the creek pretty well and have fished there under similar conditions; outgoing tide in the am with a slight chop. The channel into the creek has a nice East to West run that catches the sun really well on a cold morning. When the water’s moving, the trout seem to pool up there really nicely. As I'd done before, I did a few passes with various baits back and hooked into my second trout of the day, another keeper on my Mirrodine. A few more passes and another couple of trout and I called Mike over and we anchored up on the North edge of the channel where we stayed for the next hour of so catching trout about every other cast. All in all, we probably caught 30 trout between the two of us. The biggest being 17.5” with enough keepers to fill both of our limits before we ran out of shrimp, the bite slowed and we decided to head in before the wind got too bad. As planned, we used everything in the arsenal. Most everything produced too, which is rare. The only non-producer were the chubs, which was surprising because they’ve done well for me lately. The best baits for the day were the Mirrodine and shrimp, but with the exception of the chubs, we caught fish on everything that we threw; Lil Johns, plastic jerk baits, and my new Live Target scaled sardine.