FISH CATCHING TRAVEL
This is a quick report of a very short trip. The plan was to head out after high tide and see if I could actually catch a trout on croaker and to see how the bait tank I made would work. I sure did not want to buy a bunch of baits and have them croak in the heat tomorrow. And I managed to catch a couple on croaker and nobody died of the heat. Though I sure felt the 99 degrees with a 75% humidity, ugly.
The bait well is just a 48 quart cooler that I mounted a good 12 volt double stone aeriator that will oxygenate 50 gallon. So with that overkill I picked up a dozen croaker at Indianola and headed out to the bay. I stopped at 3 places on the Powderhorn Ranch shoreline without a bite. All three areas had plenty of bait but it sure did not help. So I decided to head into the bay and fish a couple of rigs.
My first on a croaker.
I fished 3 wells and only the first one produced. The trout were not real big, but 3 managed to give it up. 3 catfish joined the party and I missed several other fish. The bite is a little tricky and took me a while to get the hang of it.
At this point I am good with it, just needed to see if they were on the wells and they are. Next it was back in the Powderhorn to check a couple of spots. Fishing 3 or 4 places produced zip, so with my last croaker I set up on the sand point across from the marina.
Of the 4 none were bigger than this.
This one hit it the hardest of any of the bites I had today. Starting at 10:30, and quitting at 1:30, it was hot, and the water was not really running yet. By time I quit it was white capping on the bay. But the cooler did great and is way overdone, and I actually caught a few fish on croaker, so the mission was a success. We will see how tomorrow goes when Aaron, his dad, and I head out at daylight.
I got this long post from fishrearlarry on croaker fishing, and it is a good one.
In regards to your question on using croaker for catching trout. I know everyone has certain techniques that they prefer…hook size, leader, etc. When it comes to trout fishing in the summer, hands down, you will catch more fish and generally a little better quality. Being the artificial enthusiast you are and the fisherman you are, I feel that in most trips even in the heat of the summer, you will be able to catch 5 keeper trout. but, it is going to probably take a lot longer to do so. Years ago, I didn’t even consider throwing live bait. As I have aged and my body has found that it can’t hang out in the heat and wade all day long like it used to, I prefer to increase my advantages of catching my trout quickly and then maybe spend a little time looking for reds.
My technique is old school. I use anywhere from a size 3/0 to 5/0 hook depending on the croaker size, I use a 20# fluorocarbon leader with a small barrel swivel or instead of the barrel swivel I may use a chatter weight. Rarely do I use a weight and if I do it is because the tide is flowing strongly in an area and the bait does not have enough time to get to the bottom. I am a monofilament line man, just can’t seem to get myself to like the braid, and I have given it many attempts. Many say they like the sensitivity it gives them with the croaker….personally, I can feel every move my croaker makes and will usually tell my fishing partners when I am fixing to catch a fish just by the way the croaker is acting up. Fishing with croaker for bait is a technique that if the fish are feeding hard is a “not much experience needed” deal. But when the trout are there and not feeding heavy, that is where it is a little more difficult and more important to stay “in tune” with your bait. The infamous “thump” when the fish hits the croaker is where another part of the techniques come into play. Normally, I will fish with my rod tip at about an 11 to 12 o’clock position. As the trout hits the bait and starts swimming away with it, I slowly drop the rod as the line is pulled away to about 3 o’clock position and then set the hook. Many times the bites are different and they may hit and then your line goes slack because they are coming toward you, just like worm fishing with bass, that’s when you reel to catch up the slack and then give them the hook set. One last thought about fishing with croaker, especially for beginners….keep your bait out in the water. Many first timers that I have taken out make the mistake of constantly reeling the bait back in too quickly. When they are put out on the first cast, they are very active and that’s when you just let them swim and do the work. as they fatigue and maybe bury down into some grass, that is where you slowly pull them up and give them the twitch to make them “talk” and swim again. If the croaker after use is still alive but has lost his energy, I put him back in the bait bucket to revive and put a new one on. Lively croaker catch trout!
Feel free to e mail me and I will get you to come by my office or call you. I will more than happy to share some more information with you! Thank you again for the time you put into the blog!
Wow! Where to start. I am sure fishing them on free line is fun, and will actually probably do some of that in the morning. I knew folks free lined them and wondered about the Chatter Baits. I am looking forward to fishing them that way shallow. And the way you hold your rod, and do the hook set, is a lot like worm fishing for bass. I have not had one thump it yet, but I am sure the better ones do that. And keeping the bait in the water is obviously the way to go, and moving it a bunch, or reeling it in to cast, not only takes your bait out of the strike zone, but it will kill your bait a whole lot quicker.
About the getting older thing, it is so true when it is this hot. I like to attribute some of that taking it easier to not being as mad at them as I used to be. That is my story and I am sticking to it. But no matter what it is tough out there right now with this heat and if this puts them in the cooler faster this old man is all about it. And I really appreciate your offer and will take it up with you. So thanks for the great comment and your long readership, I really appreciate it.
Colby sent along this tip, I assume because it is working right now.
Just a quick tip. Try a Mirrolure Lil John with one of your 1/32 ounce jigheads. Use a color similar to whatever color you like in the POC area (maybe a red variation). Very effective this time of year. Colby
Thanks, will pick up a bag at Academy next time I am there. As soon as this little croaker adventure/learning curve has run its course it will be back to lures. I have nothing against live bait, but lures will always be my thing. Thanks for the tips and your continued involvement.
And it was inevitable that someone would comment on my flip phone, everyone does.
Yes, flip phone needs to go.
No, iphone does not need to come in.
Samsung Galaxy; yes, I know, matter of personal preference.
Thanks Billy, you made me laugh. Hell I thought you were rapping. As soon as this phone craps out I will join the modern world. People are evening streaming to facebook live, would be cool to do while on a big bite. Thanks for sticking with me.
We will be out at daylight in the morning and I really have no clue where. From what was on the one rig where I caught 3, that may be a great place to start. But Big Bayou should be perfect for it, then we will fish weightless. So no matter what we will be giving it a go. And congrats to my brother Kelly finally getting home from the hospital. N0 place like home. So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.
Good Luck and Tight Lines