This is a subject that I talk about frequently in my seminars. In this post I'm gonna try to elaborate on the importance and sequencing of these three key components and tying them together. Although this applies to all species I'm gonna try and keep it relevant to a seasonal target of Speckled Trout. With any luck these things will help you put together a strategy that will better your approach to whatever fisheries you pursue.
Time and timing. The one thing we wish we all had more of. Well with fishing it can be crucial, as in many of life's undertakings. I stress this at each of my seminars. Timing is so important. It can be everything. If your in a spot you feel is right; bait, water conditions and structure. Then don't give up on those spots. The components simply aren't all there, or maybe they are the fish simply are not. Just because your favorite restaurant serves food 8 hours a day doesn't mean you're sitting at the booth. Also, you might not want chili when it's hot and muggy outside. In the fall, trout are staging for winter and some are eating up for a move. They are planning on a winter, for cold conditions, packing on the calories. They are cold blooded and have to find conditions conducive to the biology. Which means, warmer areas in the winter, cooler areas with more oxygen in the summer.
Technique. This can take years to master, as any of these catagories. Again, folks get frustrated because they cannot all go out and be trout or drum rockstars overnight per-se. Again this is a quest an adventure, if you will. It's like martial arts, sports or even driving. We all are blessed with our sets of attributes and aptitudes. So in relevance, slow retrieve, fast retrieve, jig, jerk bait, twitch bait, sinking, slow sink, topwater or popping cork. ( To name a few) so many choices right? Let me say while I strongly believe in diversity, I believe pick the most versatile and focus on properly presenting this lure. Let's start with a paddletail jig. Forget color semantics. Let's pick a versatile natural like white, in 3"(or close to). An all around weight like 1/4 oz, with a hook size of 3/0. This can mimic bait of an all year round size and about any format, shrimp, mullet, mud minnows, pinfish, same species or etc. In warm waters these critters will move quicker. So a faster retrieve with more of a higher rod jig for example. In fall , the fall of the lure might be better. In winter being swept in a current or far less action could be required. Can you match the hatch? In style, color and movement. Keep in mind cold blooded creatures and energy conservation. If you see baitfish, mimic them. This is most important all year.
Finally, to tie it all in, understanding. Understand your target species, it's habits, the environment you're fishing and their tendencies or general nature. Trout like current and water movement. They are aggressive and agile predators. They are not afraid to surface strike and as it gets cold will conserve energy. They will eat their own and do not fear larger targets. I will primarily fish current edges and look for an edy. Areas like provide ambush zones for adept predators line trout. Being able to break down an analyze the area you are fishing, to me is crucial. Is your spot a road, intersection or destination. This cannot be easily taught in words or even a classroom. But physical conditions are only part of understanding. Water temperature and other environmental factors as well as bait presence, can all be contributing factors.
So in closing. Today I went to a favorite land spot of mine where the fishing has been productive. The tide was incoming (as has been productive) there was bait but further up. But a different wind direction. Thus moving the Rips or current edges to entirely different places. I stayed long enough to thoroughly cover the area with a variety of techniques. There were several other anglers there using a variety of lures and techniques. I saw no fish being caught and caught no fish. Do I believe fish were there or about? Yes! Do I believe I was in a position to catch them.... No. Do I believe at some point they would be where I could've.... Absolutely. Case in point. Invest the time. There is no substitute for time on the water, regardless of your capacity to do so. If you fish once a month, take notes and learn from each outing. Pick a spot you know to be productive and learn that spot to the best of your abilities. Sooner or later your timing will be right. What you learn from that spot, apply it any other. Catch em up!