by Capt. Adam Jaynes
I had the great pleasure of hosting Andrew Leal and his dad for a couple days of fishing about a week ago. It was the first time that Andrew and I had fished together in maybe 8 years or so. We met through playing baseball at Lamar University and became good friends, in large part due to us both having a sincere enjoyment to fish and hunt. He grew up in Corpus Christi fishing but like many of us that enjoy fishing so greatly he was also interested in fishing new areas. Andrew was a few years ahead of me in college but we were able to get in a handful of fishing trips before he had to grow up and join the working class.
Andrew picked up where we left off years ago!
The trips we did make back then were mostly catching. The worst rainstorm I have ever fished in was with Andrew out of my aluminum boat that I had bought when I was 15 years old. It had a ply wood floor in it covered with outdoor carpet however there was a gap between the ply wood and the ribs of the hull. We were catching trout hand over fist in the pouring down rain on the Sabine River, the only ones foolish enough to be out in such weather. My little 15-foot aluminum boat was so full of water it was nearly acting as a livewell as trout were flopping and swimming underneath the plywood floor. That was also the same trip that Andrew made me a believer in the Tsunami swim shad. We were both doing a whole lot of catching, but he was probably out-fishing me 3:1 on trout using that little pre-rigged red head Tsunami swim shad. He gave me one to tie on and the rest is history. Not much has changed since those days, just a few more pounds and a little less hair!
One of several great trips Andrew and I had "back in the day!"
"If you could only have one bait to fish what would it be?" Seems to be a pretty common question on my boat from customers. From that day when Andrew and I fished in a torrential rain a Tsunami swim shad has been responsible for catching more fish than any other lure in my tackle boxes. It has been that way for over 9 years now. Trout, redfish and flounder all love them alike. Not to mention all of the stripers, spanish mackerel, sand trout, lady fish, and bass that have fell victim to the swim shad. So easy to say if I could only have one bait on my boat I would have to go with a Tsunami swim shad, they're just too dang good at catching fish.
Mike T. with a heck of a trout on a Super Spook from last fall/winter
This most recent trip with Andrew and his dad we endured yet again some absolutely terrible fishing conditions. No rain this time but the wind absolutely howled out of the north all day each day. We thought it was bad on day one only for it to blow even harder on day two, so much for checking a weather report!! Fortunately we were still able to put together a very respectable box of redfish, flounder, trout and some black drum. I've only had black drum once that was at the Woodland Plantation, it was delicious but for some reason I always throw them back when I catch them. They're used to fishing down in south Texas where keeping drum is much more popular. The meat really looked pretty good while I was cleaning them might end up having to try and cooking some myself one day.
Mr. Leal with his new personal best flounder
I must also give credit where credit is due. A few weeks ago I had what I believed was certainly a fuel issue with my Mercury. I drained the separator on the motor and changed the fuel filter but did not notice any water and the motor was still running rough. I ended up towing my boat over to Ed at Clear Lake Power Boat Service. Now, for me to get to his shop it is about an hour and forty-five minute tow from my house but that is how highly he came recommended to me. It was very apparent why he came so highly recommended immediately after arriving at his shop. He had me back my boat into his shop and had the problem diagnosed before I ever even unhooked the trailer from my truck! Ed ended up having to replace the fuel rails and got me back out on the water immediately. He went completely above and beyond and has definitely earned a repeat customer out of this fishing guide. Very easy to see why he came so highly recommended! His shop is located on Nasa Road 1 and his telephone number is 281-326-4800.
While so many people are chasing deer and ducks during this time of year I personally can't wait to drop my Haynie bay boat in the water and chase fish. Although my primary quarry is trophy trout the redfish action is nothing short of fantastic during the fall and winter months. I would say December and January are arguably the two best months out of the year for catching redfish. They gang up in very large numbers at predictable spots year after year during the winter and are typically very willing to bite. Although I highly enjoy catching redfish, they can at times become an absolute nuisance when wading for a big yellow bucket mouth.
Catching trout like this is why I wade, increase the odds.
I will never forget a solo wading trip I made by myself years ago when that was a serious issue but a heck of a good time as well. I am a firm believer that big trout, those 8lbs and better, accompany those schools of redfish on the flats. I have caught too many big trout in the middle of slaying redfish to believe otherwise. Anyway, I hopped out of my little aluminum boat; trying to be incognito, and caught a good red that was about 25" on my first cast. I was only a couple of steps from the boat at this time. The next 13 casts also yielded good solid reds. A few casts without getting bit I walked a little further down the shell pad I was casting to and found them again. It was 14 casts in a row this time on good solid redfish. I kept telling myself that any cast was going to be the trout I was looking for; well 73 redfish later and it was time to go!
Plenty of these to stay busy with right now. Charlie's first ever redfish, not too bad!
Mike with a stud trout from wading last December
Last winter was one of the most consistent for big trout that I have witnessed in several years. Despite all of the rain we received this spring and then again early on this fall I expect and hope this winter to be just as good. So far we have gotten off to a very good start. For those that want to target a trophy trout I highly recommend getting out of the boat. It is not impossible to catch a big one from the boat but you increase your odds tremendously by getting in the water and wading.
Scott posing with an 8lber caught on a Super Spook last winter
TX Roy himself with a pretty good trout caught while wading last winter
Todd with a heck of a nice trout
Layering appropriately under your waders is essential to keep an enjoyable fishing trip from turning into a miserably cold one. I also prefer and recommend a high quality rod and reel combination to further increase your odds at catching a trophy trout. I am using a Sarge Customs Free Bird, have been for a few years now, and recently add The Boss to my go-to arsenal. It is incredibly lightweight which assists in giving me a huge advantage of having a super sensitive rod to feel the subtlest strikes. I've got it attached to a Lews LITE Speed Spool filled with FINS 30lb Windtamer braided line. The Lews gives me a very durable reel with a super smooth 14lbs of drag power. The braided line further enhances the sensitivity of those subtle bites while adding impressive strength to prevent breakoffs. My belief is that if you are going to put in the effort of trying to catch a trophy trout while battling less than favorable conditions you owe it to yourself to have the best opportunity to land one, or hopefully many! Best of luck on catching a big one and please practice CPR (catch, photo and release).
This 8lb trout absolutely crushed a pink/gold Super Spook