by Capt. Adam Jaynes
Every now and then one of those trips comes along that totally defies all of the norms and generalizations of everything you thought you knew about fishing. For the most part I detest the generalizations about fishing that get drilled into fishermen's heads in nearly every fishing article in every fishing magazine however there typically is some validity to them. However, on the contrary generalizations are just that, generalizations, they are not concrete "rules" to how successful or unsuccessful your fishing trip is going to be under the given conditions.
These generalizations as I like to call them are mentioned on my boat normally by at least one customer during every trip. Comments such as "I'd love to throw a topwater but they probably won't hit it during the middle of the day with no clouds." Well, they might not but you sure as heck will not find out if you don't tie one on.
I think us fishermen as a collective group like the generalizations as it helps to narrow down our choices and eases our decision-making. For example, pretty much everyone knows the "darker colors for dirty water and lighter colors for clearer water." Well, that helps a lot when walking down the aisle at the local tackle shop that has every color from "chicken on a chain" to "opening night" and "creole magic" and "drunk monkey." Heaven knows you can't really tell anything about the color of many of these baits just from their name but you do know that you heard somewhere or probably have experienced for yourself that "darker colors typically work better in dirtier water" and so on. Inevitably having this knowledge and in many cases past experiences when picking which color plastic from the 20lbs of plastics on board the decision becomes a little easier.
But it is important to remember that all of these generalizations are just that, generalizations, they are not absolute. I have never been reminded of that fact as sternly as I was on a trip last week. Everything I knew, or thought I knew, about fishing told me that it was going to be a very tough day to catch trout. So when Bubba called the afternoon before our scheduled trip to visit and inquire about my expectations for our trip I was as honest as I could be. I informed him that I believed we would be able to catch redfish until we were blue in the face but that the trout would be tough. I was factoring several things into that assessment such as Toledo Bend releasing water for who knows how many days, a slew of days in the 30's in the morning, muddy water, a cold front that just came through the day before, clear skies and high pressure and the thick layer of ice that I knew would be blanketing my boat in the morning…sounds like it should be a great trip, right??
Bubba with an oversized red. I was expecting plenty of these
The forecast didn't deter Bubba and his group or my prediction of a near redfish only trip. Idling out that morning in my Haynie still covered in ice I recommended fishing from the boat for at least the first couple hours until the sun started to warm up the flats then we could get in and wade. Once again informing them that I expected the trout bite to be tough, especially first thing in the morning. They agreed, I'm certain the ice helped motivate us all in that decision as well. Brett and I both hooked into redfish within our first few minutes of fishing, I was glad they had at least proved me right. It's always a nice feeling when the fish make you feel like you actually know something about catching them!
They should've gone to the casino next!!
Although on my very next cast and then for the next eight hours or so they utterly proved that I didn't know what the hell I was talking about. Not only was my next cast a pretty good trout but it absolutely tried to pull the rod out of my hands in about 2.5' of water while the ice on my boat hadn't even started to melt. Delighted and surprised I still believed that it was a fluke and we would get back to catching redfish. Well, we did get back to catching redfish but we also got back to catching trout and a whole lot of them at that! It turned out to be one of the easiest days I have ever had in February. It's also always nice when your group is happy to be conservative letting all of the bigger fish go and actually stopping short of their limit when they had all of the fish they needed for their superbowl party. I was also baffled with the speed of the retrieve that the trout wanted as well considering the water temp was in the high 40's and low 50's. They bit nearly everything we threw but it had to be fished on a steady retrieve just under the surface, much faster than I would have anticipated.
A trip that won't soon be forgotten...
This particular trip bluntly reminded me that there is however one absolute certainty in fishing. You and I both will never know everything there is to know about fishing. For me anyhow, and I imagine you as well, that is what always keeps me coming back to the water. "Never know if you don't go!"