While Chris is deployed he reached out to me and asked me to do a guest blog for his site. What’s there to say about trout fishing that he hasn’t already addressed? So, instead of giving advice on pursuing those speckled wonders, which he's covered thoroughly, I'd like to take a different approach, and talk about versatility between salt and freshwater fishing. Over the course of my life, I've been drawn to the water and there were few times I was found on a lake, river or pond when I didn't have a fishing pole. As a result, I've learned to fish for whatever would bite, which I believe relates to targeting trout or any species you choose to pursue. So, if you're new to trout fishing, I'd like to encourage you to incorporate your freshwater fishing roots, because you're probably further ahead in the game than you realize. Although before I dip into my main topic, a recent trip to home on the Georgia coast, forced me to reflect on what makes specks so appealing.
As a kid growing up in an Army family, we moved around frequently. My father loved to fish and it wasn’t long before he had me “hooked”. We did a lot of ultralight pan fishing on rivers, streams, and lakes. When fishing this way, an angler catches a bit of everything. That style led to my passion of pursuing every fish that swims, and they all offer something different and exciting.
Considering my love of jumping from one fish to the other, the best compliment I can give trout is that out of all those species, the speckled trout is one of my favorites, if not my favorite. (Making me choose a favorite is a cruel thing) They encompass multiple aspects of some of our most highly sought after species. Many times they position themselves like a largemouth, sometimes schooling, maybe over a shell bed or underneath a pod of pogies. Sometimes they are thick in cover, maybe under a dock or deep within a grass bed. Of course everyone knows about the trout’s legendary head shake, gills flared, yellow mouth open, so similar to a bass as they both do everything possible to come unbuttoned. When it happens, although painful, all you can do is tip your hat and search for that next bite.
Yet, just like the crappie or “other specks”, they are known for that unmistakable “tap”, “tick”, or “bump”. It’s the only thing that can make the knees buckle, and elicit a lightning fast wrist snap at the same time. Fishermen throughout the south live for that bite. Also, trout migrate similar to the northeast’s popular striped bass, moving from ocean fronts during the summer into the bays, sounds, marsh, rivers and creeks in the fall. The poor soul chasing them is forever a step behind, and the “Shoulda’ been here yesterday….” mentality rears its ugly head. However, to avoid this, I'd like to offer encouragement.
For those just starting out in the trout game, fear not, as mentioned, your learning curve is probably not as steep as you think. If that background is bass or crappie fishing, you’re in luck. Odds are you already have the tackle, and many of the lures. That's the great thing about trout fishing, from small soft plastics to big bodied swim baits and topwaters, it all relates, but don’t forget the best lure of all, confidence. One of the most common mistakes I hear when talking to bass or crappie fishermen just starting out in trout fishing is a loss of confidence before they even start. The trout is a predatory game fish that shares many commonalities with bass or crappie. They will typically hold deep or suspended in the water column or relate to a certain bottom structure (sand, shell, oysters, mud). Additionally, they'll also relate to manmade structure high in the water column, like docks or bridge pilings. Which means if your confident in flipping docks for largemouth, relate that same concept to targeting trout. As mentioned, they're predatory so they'll relate to a dock, just like a bass ambushing a small finfish or crustacean. The same holds true for die hard crappie fisherman, who have earned there keep putting a jig in front of suspended fish. Last but not least, river and stream fisherman in search of smallmouth or freshwater trout, know all to well the concept of water flow. One of the main concepts that successful rapid water fisherman key on is how fish relate to current. Speckled trout are no different, they posture on points or structure based on the tidal flow. Sound familiar?
Maybe that’s why if I had to choose my favorite species to target, trout would win everytime. It not only taps into my childhood and the memories I've spent chasing a bent rod, but they offer up a little aspect of all the fish I’ve spent years chasing. In closing, if your new to trout fishing but have developed freshwater concepts over the years, let that give you confidence instead of feeding the fear of the unknown. I assure you once you have your first successful outing, you'll be hooked by the silver wonder bug.
Hurry home Chris...these trout aren't going to catch themself.