If the absence of Specked Trout like we are experiencing in the St. Johns ever happened in the bayous of Louisiana it would make headlines in the New Orleans Newspaper.
If you are a frequent follower of this blog of mine. You may have caught the clues that have floated through many of my reports. If you missed it all, I'll remind you.
If I could only fish (personally) for a single fish, the species would be TROPHY TROUT, period. Yeah, I'm in the wrong area, I know that. The Texas coast and the Louisiana coast are number one in the entire USA for BIG Trout hunters.
But, I'm here. Where the tides are extreme, the current is fast and to be a really good Speck hunter, you have to be dedicated and knowledgible of the species.
I've said many times here on these blog pages that this past winter put a real hurt on the tender Speck population in the river.
August 26, 2009 - Kirk M. and myself over 100 Trout in a day.
November 2009 - Glory Days! Wackin & Stackin limits of specks.
December 2009 - the same fish were on thier way to the inlet, (which they do each and every year) limits caught and released just east of the Mayport Boat Ramp.
By January 2010 the vicious cold weather that set record lows was in full swing. One day DOA Rob and myself fished in 43 degree water that was 10' deep and actually caught 20 near dead Trout.
DOA Rob and "Kayak Mike" Kogan and myself actually attempted to Kayak fish Simpsons Creek, for Trout. When we got out of the truck at Kayak Amelia the news talk radio station on DOA Robs radio said it was 18 degrees at the airport......"And we were gonna sit in plastic boats and trout fish??" We three, lasted about 2 hrs.
If you were really into all this like I am, you could go through November through January's blog archives along the right side bar of this page and read the facts for yourself and see the end of Speck catching due to serious cold.
It's funny that it gets to be Sept & Oct and finally ""other"" local fishing guides are just starting to realize what I've been talking about, since January.
Here's what some of them say in their reports:
"What is really glaring though is the absence of trout in any numbers which I attribute to this past winter's hard freeze."
"Speckled trout seem to have taken a hit from the cold winter we had this year. They are still here, just more difficult to catch."
Harder to catch? Because there's LESS of them....that's why!
It's really simple, "more fish, easier to catch."
Since January 1st, we are also over a foot to the negative with rain fall. You ask, "why does that matter when it comes to Trout fishing?"
I've tracked it to an extent. Wetter years, better Trout fishing....actually better EVERY FISH FISHING!
Dry years, tougher fishing.
Wet, dry? What are you talking about Dave?
I mean, storms! Hurricanes, Tropical depressions, Tropical storms, whatever you want to call them. They mean R-A-I-N!!!
All "Estuary Species" depend on the mixing of fresh and saltwater to thrive, and spawn. And being that the St. Johns River is NOT a real river, but rather a 318 mile long estuary. Our fishing is dependent on rain, since the "estuary" doesn't get a rise from northern snow melt, or a flush because of up river floods.
When you think rivers, think the big Mississippi heading around New Orleans. Before it even gets to New Orleans, fresh water via flood control, is diverted into the bayous. And fresh water enters the bayous all over SE Louisiana. And Trout THRIVE!
Remember the storm season of 2005? I believe we had 4 named storms / hurricanes, go over Florida.
Where did all that rain water go? Allot went into the St. Johns River. And when it got to N.E. Florida, it was like a Trout fishermans dream land. I found the holy grail of Trout bottle-necked up in water that was only 6 part per thousand of actual saltwater.......nearly drinkable!
And BTW....if you actually think you're catching lots of bull Redbass in the river, right now. You're NOT! This whole theory also goes for those big spawning Reds.
Two, Three, Five, big spawners is not allot of big Reds, in a single tide. 30-40-50 on a single tide is really catching them. Just as some may call catching allot of Trout being three or four. What I call catching Trout is 25-50. And yes, you can also catch the big Reds better, during wetter years.
When you think about Speckled Trout in the St. Johns River......just ask yourself, "where did all those Mangrove Snappers I used to catch go?"
(we won't talk about those Snook that we once had)
Ditto for Trout......
Thank goodness for Croakers, Whiting, Spots, Sheepshead, Black Drum, and Reds. As you may have noticed, I've switched my daily techniques lately.
Less Float-rigging and more bottom fishing.
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