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Winter gear, part one

There are lots of folks out there that are great junkies, and folks who are minimal in the choices for gear. I respect and see both sides. I like to think I'm somewhere in between the two. Many times I roll pretty spartan. Most all my tackle fits in a five gallon bucket. Sometimes far less, sometimes a bit more. Depending on many things. What boat, what specie(s), what season. On the kayak, wading, beach, bridge or combination there of. Backwater in the cold months I carry even less usually. One thing I am guilty of is rods. Now on the kayak, 2-4. On the boat 3-5. Now again this specifically references backwater trips and in no way is referring to fly specific trips. Although a fly rod will be included in this mix most times.

For drum, most my rods are medium fast, medium heavy fast. With med. fast being primary go-to. I prefer fast because I may often throw 1/16-1/8 oz weedless jig heads. I prefer the medium to medium heavy fast tips for that hook set and larger fish fighting power when needed. Especially hook set power with weedless jigs. I fish as low as 8# braid and as high as 15# braid. I firmly believe no more is needed and the higher you go like 20#+ .... Your just harming yourself. Most of my primary drum combos have 3000 class reels, as I like the larger spool and added line capacity. I will choose capacity over braid size any day, on any combo. Colder months I will downsize my leader to typically 20# flouro. SeaGuar gold label 20# is currently my favorite. It is smaller diameter, very smooth and has excellent knot strength. I always use a loop knot to my lure.

For trout, these combos are sufficient but as we move towards winter, I use light to moderate action 4-10# 6'6" to 7'6" combos depending on application, lure selection and areas. On charters I use moderate action or fast tip 6-12# combos with 2500 or 3000 class reels. 10-15# braid and 15-20# leader material. Personal and charters I will use flouro or mono interchangeably as my leader material. Most of the time on charters I primarily rely on jigs by Slayer inc. or A.M. fishing, jig heads by Slayer inc. or Back water candy. I'll use 1/8-1/4 oz with 3/17 being one of my favorite weights. Colder weather I prefer smaller wire hooks and will vary from short shank to longer shank depending on the amount of misses (short strikes) . Jigs are number one for me day to day, charter fishing or not. I will search with jigs and then refine an area of activity with a MirroDine or FatBoy (corky). Rapala sub walks will also be a strong go to depending on conditions and feeding zones.

Targeting redfish in the colder months can be most challenging. Water is clear, quieter, less bait and slower metabolisms can make a ferocious shallow water take most rewarding or extremely frustrating. As with tailwater speckled trout, back Bay winter redfishing can most challenging and rewarding with subtlety and tact applied.

So gear can be most important. I may have to downsize leader to 15# and jig weight to 1/16. Less surface activity, clearer water and less appetite mean presentation is key. I will rely on scents like pro cure or scented baits like Slayer inc. , A.M. fishing lures and be more disciplined by reoccurring application of that favorite pro cure. You may also have to slow down, allowing for a pause in the target zone. I like a slow roll tactic , a yo yo or type of retrieve I like to use dubbed the pulse. This can also vary throughout the course of trip or even tide cycle.

Don't rule out wildcard gear either. MirroDine 14's, small sub walks, finesse baits or even topwater lures. This is condition oriented and keep in mind in the winter conditions can vary and change rapidly. Warmer water, water clarity, solunar conditions, tide levels, wind direction, sky conditions or increased/decreased bait presence can all trigger or shut down a bite or area quickly. Remember..... These creatures can't simply add a layer, remove a layer or go home and shower with a hot cup of Joe at the end of the day. Their survival is foremost and depends on their instincts to move; go deep, go shallow or leave the bay totally. Best advice I can give, match your lures and gear selection to the conditions. Read the water and study your environmental conditions.

Tight Lines!!


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