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Old 04-24-2014, 11:14 AM   #1
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Default Trout Help

I'm trying to figure what the heck I'm doing wrong when it comes to catching specks. This winter/spring has been rough any time I go out looking for trout. I have gone out specifically with trout in mind probably a dozen times since December and only landed one.

Typically (depending on weather) I go to any of the following spots on Choctawhatchee Bay: White Point, Postl Point, Midbay Bridge, Rocky Bayou (from the bridge all the way east to the stream) Boggy Bayou, and random shoreline along Eglin propery west of Postl Point (usually I kayak drift anywhere from 1' to 10', 15' if I'm by a bridge, depth water.) I've also rented boats a couple times and hit the shoreline east of the Coast Guard station by Crab Island.

I feel like I've done enough research, reading, scouring forums and talking to other anglers out there that I think I know when, where, and what they'll be biting, but I MUST be doing something wrong.

Rigs: I almost always go out with live shrimp if I can get them, and if so, I'll drift one on a popping cork (about 18" of 10-15# test mono, tried smaller straight hooks as well as circle and mutu) while I cast retrieve another live one with a small split shot 2-3" above the hook so I can twitch it up and down as I retrieve it across the grass. The one trout I've caught in the past year was on this rig. I've also tried: golden gotcha (both with and without tail feather), mirrodine (red/white), chartreuse DOA shrimp and flukes, pink DOA, golden spoons, pinfish (only a couple times) and jigging small soft-plastic shad (red/white.) Typically I go out in the afternoon and evenings, and even tried going at night a couple times off the docks in Rocky Bayou.

I don't think it's a hook issue because I don't usually get many bites/strikes that slip the hook. They just aren't interested in what I'm presenting in the first place. Now, I've caught some other fish incidentally doing this (reds, and sheepshead if near structure) which is awesome, but I'm left wondering if trout are super rare or what the heck I'm doing wrong.

Not sure what other details to put to help troubleshoot, but any help would be appreciated as the bay starts warming up and hopefully the winds start to mellow out.

Last edited by boomyak; 04-24-2014 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:26 AM   #2
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popping corks work good. you just have to be in the right area and the fish have to be hungry. docks with dock lights (even during the day the fish will tend to hang around it). Dawn and Dusk usually works best for me.

Pay attention to the tides. As the water warms up, many will move out of the rivers and bayous.

all the trout and keeper reds I have caught have been in 3-5 ft water as well.
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:34 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EFI Logistics View Post
docks with dock lights (even during the day...
I was wondering what the rules/ethics are for fishing near private docks. I usually tend to stay a good 50' away because I wasn't sure how the owners would feel about a guy in a kayak casting near their structure. If there's no boat or people there is that something they don't mind?
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boomyak View Post
I was wondering what the rules/ethics are for fishing near private docks. I usually tend to stay a good 50' away because I wasn't sure how the owners would feel about a guy in a kayak casting near their structure. If there's no boat or people there is that something they don't mind?
the docks may be private, but the water they are in is fair game.
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:21 PM   #5
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You're fishing backwards. Winter time moves the trout into deep holes, on the bottom. Fish slow, deep and steady. Now is when they start hitting the shallow water. Extend your leader to 2'-3' and float the grass. My guess is 5'-8' water depth now, but it varies so you'll have to play with it. Basically, do what you're doing now with a few adjustments and you'll start catching some.
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:23 PM   #6
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You have every right to fish near any dock you want. Keep you boat a long casting distance away and have at it. The law is on your side and harassing you for fishing is illegal. If people are present, on the dock, etiquette dictates that you seek another spot. Don't invade other people's space.

If you are trout specific, you line is far too heavy IMO. Six pound mono is heavy enough. Never over 8 pound. Use an 8 pound flouro leader. Flouro is hard for a fish to see and resists abrasion

Get rid of the popping cork and split shot. They are not working for you. Try freeline.

Small hooks for shrimp. Number 1 with a slightly extended shank. Light wire. Straight up J hook.

Forget the Gotchas and all that stuff. First, learn to 'read' the water and catch on shrimp. Then move to artificials. Look for bait activity and moving water. Trout are active when bait is present or they ambush when water is moving and bait is swept by.

Fish deeper. Take the other poster's advice and stay 3 to 5 ft. Your bay is lousy with trout. If you live in Niceville, I wouldn't be traveling all over the place. The west part of the bay is one of the best. Good luck.

Where are you hooking your shrimp?
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Old 04-24-2014, 02:03 PM   #7
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We might not want to talk too much about not catching fish. Who knows trout might be the next endangered fish. lol
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Old 04-24-2014, 02:46 PM   #8
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If you aren't catching 'em on live shrimp, they aren't there. What jspooney said. Look for feeding slicks, birds working and scared baitfish.
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Old 04-24-2014, 03:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Where are you hooking your shrimp?
Top one if I'm doing cast and retrieve and bottom if I put it on a cork.



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Old 04-24-2014, 05:36 PM   #10
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the bottom pic does not show the brain, or heart, im not sure which, but i have always avoided puncturing it. Placed in front of that spot, directly under the horn, a shrimp will swim for quite some time.
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