Wintertime Speck Fishing E-mail
Written by Alex Vail   
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 00:00



speck channel The weather outside might be cooling down, but the Speckled Trout bite is just starting to heat up. There are several things a kayak angler can do to turn the cold winter months into some of the year’s most productive Trout fishing.

Where to go:

Colder water means that the grass beds will soon die back, and with this annual death the trout move from these hunting grounds in search of different habitat. Luckily for kayak anglers, they’ll be remaining inshore and within easy paddle distance. The trick is just finding them.

As the water chills, Speckled Trout begin moving into deeper water. Creeks, bayous, and channels are great places to look for these trout. If you have a fish finder mounted on your kayak, use it to your advantage and look for the drop offs from shallow to deeper water. It’s these rapid changes in depth that will generally hold the fish. Generally speaking, the proper depth for finding trout is between 8 and 12 feet. Don’t, however, be afraid to fish shallower or deeper than that. Even some of the narrowest creeks contain good enough holes to catch your limit.

Speck hand What to bring:

As stated earlier, if you have access to a fish finder, bring it along. It’s a valuable tool when looking for these deeper water fish. An anchor might be the most important tool to bring along in the kayak…next to a fishing rod, tackle, and paddle, of course. An anchor proves vital when fishing deeper holes for Speckled Trout. Unlike the warmer months when trout are spread out among the grass flats, during the winter months the trout school up in deeper holes. Congregated fish means the angler has to move less and in turn, can catch more fish from a single spot.

Anyone who’s ever kayak fished knows that it’s virtually impossible to stay dry during a paddle. That’s why I choose to wear waders in the kayak during the cold months. They will keep me dry while paddling and come in handy while launching, falling out of the kayak, and when I get out and wade.

speck wade

Colder water will actually make a speck’s feeding habits a bit sluggish. With this in mind, it’s important to change up the tackle a little. Chances are that big Gator Trout isn’t going to fall for a top-water plug when it’s 30 degrees outside. Instead, I like to use soft plastics in combination with a lead head. I’ve found that plastics with a swim tail or curly tail work best, as the added action can entice even the most reluctant of fish. When fly-fishing, I prefer to use a sinking line in combination with lead-eyed flies such as Clousers or Crazy-Charlies.

How do to it:

Probably the most difficult part of fishing for winter time trout is simply finding them. Not every hole holds fish. It’s important as a kayak angler to continue to move while searching for these fish. If one hole isn’t working, go look for another. However, if you catch a trout out of one deep hole, stick around for a bit. Most of the time, when you catch one, there are plenty more schooled up in that hole as well. It’s situations like this that the anchor proves vital. Anchor up in adjacent shallow water and cast into the deeper areas. It’s not uncommon to limit out from one spot.

speck sunset And since the fish can be rather sluggish to bite, it’s important to maintain a slow retrieve. Bottom bouncing works well and the lure/fly is often hit while it is falling. In exceptionally cold temperatures, (I use “exceptionally” quite broadly…being from Florida and all) if you aren’t getting any bites and you think you might be retrieving too slowly, stop for a moment…then retrieve even slower. Nine times out of ten the fish are actually hitting what the angler perceives as “too slow”.

So, just because your summer time honey-holes are drying up for Speckled Trout, it doesn’t mean that fishing for them is crossed off for the year. With the right know how and persistence, one can easily turn the winter months into some of the year’s best trout fishing. You just have to paddle out and do it.

Alex Vail recently graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Wildlife Ecology and a minor in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. He is an avid hunter and fisherman and has been kayaking since he was 12. He has been lucky enough to target practically everything from Yellowfin to Tarpon from the kayak. Vail is currently employed as a Wildlife Technician and plans to return to school in the near future for graduate studies. He also published The Flying Kayak Blog.

 

 

 

 

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