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The weather continues to get us excited for a few days and then burst our bubble with cold, dreary, wet days. The warmer days between the colder days have gotten our water temperatures back into the mid-50s. The rise in water temperature has brought a few small trout out from hiding and they have been willing to bite a hook. Speckled trout are closed for harvest until June 15, making them catch-and-release only. The temperatures and cloud cover forecast for this week will most likely lower our water temperatures. Look for the trout bite to turn off again, but the redfish should bite if water temperatures stay around 50.
Clay Morphis Jr., a local fishing legend, twisted my arm to go fishing Feb. 25. The truth is I was eager to go fishing with Clay in hopes of picking up a few new tricks. We were more on an exploration fishing trip, as we navigated through shallow water looking for schools of redfish. We spooked a few fish but did not locate that magic spot with hundreds of fish eager to eat the bottom of the boat. The tide was bottoming out on us quickly, so we headed toward some deeper water. A couple of speckled trout hammered our soft plastics in chartreuse colors. Even though we spotted a few reds in this area, we could not get them to bite.
We headed to another good low tide spot and again saw several mud boils that did not produce a bite. Staying on the move and looking for schools of redfish, we tossed soft plastics and picked up small trout in several places. We eventually nailed down a school of reds, landing a half dozen fish in the middle of the slot. Cold water fishing takes persistence and patience. The lower part of the outgoing tide has always been my favorite tide, but that doesn’t mean fish always bite during that tide.
After my trip with Clay, my phone rang again with another surprise. My mom decided she would visit over the weekend. Mom would bring one of Jake’s first cousins along for an early birthday present as well. My son Jake and Isaiah are like two peas in a pod. They normally love to just hang out playing video games, sword fighting and Nerf gun battles. I had no idea until late Saturday night, March 1, that Isaiah wanted to go fishing. This only left us with a few hours on Sunday afternoon, March 2. We attended church Sunday morning. Plans were for them to be back on the road toward Greenville, S.C., by 4 p.m. We dropped the boat in the water right after church and scarfed down a quick lunch. We got on the water shortly after 1 o’clock.
Our first spot was a bust with strong current and dirty water. Our second spot was just like the first. The new moon and westerly winds had the water really stirred up. Our third spot was out of the wind a bit and the current had slowed a bit as we were near low tide.
We set a spread of three lines with fresh cut mullet on Carolina rigs in our target area. The first line in the water got hammered. Isaiah made quick work of his first redfish, which was just more than 24 inches long. In all the excitement, Isaiah dropped his baseball cap overboard. We were unable to fish his cap out of the water immediately. A second line got hammered and Jake made short work of a 25-inch redfish. We got those two fish into the live well quickly so we could take a picture later.
We made a mad dash with the trolling motor to find Isaiah’s hat. A few minutes later we had Isaiah’s favorite cap back in the boat. We needed to be heading back to the house but the boys wanted to try to catch another fish. We got reset in the area and it didn’t take long before our baits were getting hammered. We went 0-for-4 as the fish won each battle spitting hooks and breaking off in the oysters.
But it was all smiles on the way home as I let the boys take turns steering the boat. We made it back to the dock by our 3 p.m. deadline, getting Mom and Isaiah on the road by 4 p.m. It was a perfect short trip to keep the boys interested and burning for more next time.
See ya on the water.