Our newest jig color closely matches both speckled trout and redfish eyes. As you know, specks are cannibalistic – they eat their young. Many popular plugs, such as the Skitter Walk, come in Trout color for this reason. When you pair a gold head with a 3.75″ Zman StreakZ in Ralphs Shad color, you have a perfect imitation of a small trout, a combo that is sure to be a killer!
Compare the gold eye with trout and redfish eyes
Our new color lineup is shown below (left to right): red, pearl, glow and gold
Our new color is available immediately online at ralphphillipsinshore.com/store and will be available at both Haddrells Point Tackle locations any day now. When ordering in bulk online, you will still have the option of “mixed”, meaning you can divide up the colors as you wish. Hope you like them!
We are historically in the dead middle of the coldest water of the year (end of January) and so far, so good, on the water temps. The creeks are hovering around 49F and if history holds, the water temps should start creeping back up beginning in February. A well-timed 4 days of 60 degree high air temps this week will definitely help our trout survive this winter (knock-on-wood!).
Just yesterday we caught about 8 trout including two at 17″ in the creeks, so that is a good sign. We even caught a few yearlings. The bite is nothing but a resistance. For example, working the bait really slow, making sure you are contacting the bottom, and the bait will just kinda stop – that’s the bite. If you can even call it that. This is where your setup and practice feeling the feel will make all the difference. Of course, mixed in will be the occasional aggressive take. Sometimes the bite will vary even within the same creek.
Anyway the redfish bite, on the other hand, has been strong. There have been a lot of upper slot fish around everywhere it seems, and the bigger ones are starting to move in. For some reason, the bait color seems to be very important, and always the blue tones are strongest (for us). Yesterday we had a good bite on a watermelon color also (a green/gray with flecks).
Here is one to file under weird: Yesterday I caught a 15.5″ flounder. He must have been confused or just didn’t get the message that there are no other flounder around in January. He was probably wondering where everybody went??? That was a surprise…
It sure felt good to shed 4 layers of clothes yesterday and even feel warm then! As always, we have a great time on the water whether or not the fish are biting. Hope these tips help you catch more, but remember that’s not what it’s really all about.
All fish on the last several trips were caught on TroutEye jigs.
A couple announcements:
We will have a product announcement and promo video soon on a new product: Phillips Custom rods
We have a new “Gold” color TroutEye jig that closely matches a trout and redfish eye. They should be available next week(ish) at both Haddrell’s Point locations and of course online at ralphphillipsinshore.com/store
As any fisherman knows, the color red is prevalent in fishing tackle. Red beads, red chins on topwater baits, red jig heads, red eyes, and the list goes on. Well, I’m fixing to burst the bubble. Truth is, most inshore fish, including trout and redfish, simply do not see the color red. My curiosity was piqued a while back when an article in the excellent CCA Tide magazine made brief mention of this fact. I did a little digging, and finally found a research paper by Andrij Z. Horodysky from the Department of Fisheries Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. This paper “Comparative visual function in five sciaenid fishes inhabiting Chesapeake Bay” discusses research on how fish can be tested for their visual response to the color spectrum. It’s very interesting and can be summarized by the charts shown. In effect, the fish would see maybe just a hint of red, but mostly a gray color where we would see red. Of course, they can still see contrast, so light/dark next to each other would still be seen. I think the best comparison is to deer hunters who wear bright orange vests because other hunters see it, but a deer cannot. Rather, it sees a neutral gray. In actuality, our favorite game fish see best in the dark blue / violet part of the spectrum, and even a little in the ultraviolet (where we cannot see). I suppose this is why the Zman Ralph’s Shad and Gulp Sapphire Shine colors work so well, since they are directly in the most visible part of the fishes visual spectrum.
I think there is likely an evolutionary reason for this, as a secondary factor is that as you go deeper in the water, the red part of the spectrum disappears first. So, in order for a fish to identify its prey, it is of no use to see reds, as there are no reds to be seen.
Well, time has proven that lures with red produce fish, but really is it the color that makes the difference? Or is it that we as fishermen us them most because we believe in them? So, any fish caught reinforces the belief in the color. My opinion is that it’s the latter. This knowledge has changed my personal choices, and it is why I prefer to use our glow or pearl jig heads over our red. Why? They provide the best contrast, and I believe the fish can identify the jig as an eye the best. This is not to say our red heads don’t work – I have many pictures to prove that they do. But, to be perfectly honest, I have never even tried one.
I hope this article was thought-provoking. Since my day job is optical science, this is a subject that I find very interesting, if you couldn’t tell 🙂
Reflecting on my last two fishing trips, I think they represent the best tactics for fishing the creeks in the upper reaches of our rivers this time of year. Maybe some of what we experienced will help you improve your results. In general, the trout and redfish will be schooled up this time of year. When you find them, the catching can be great. When you don’t actively search for them, you can easily get skunked.
Reds will often be schooled tight to heavy structure in deeper water. They can be clustered in a spot no more than 15 x 15 ft. Cast in there, fish on. Cast away from it, nothing. Often I have wondered what it must look like under water because its very possible to pull 30+ fish out of the same hole. That’s a dense pack of fish! They will often be tight to gnarly stuff, so be prepared to lose some rigs getting your bait into the strike zone.
Trout will also be schooled up, but not always tight to structure. True to their “tide-runner” nickname, they will move about. You will catch 3 or 4 then it will stop. Often if you drift a bit you will come back to the school and catch a few more.
New Years Day I took my good friend Ray (BOSN on CharlestonFishing.com) out for a much needed day of fishing. We hit a few of our favorite cold water spots and at first did not find the fish where we were expecting. But we made some fan-casts around the area and found the fish much deeper than expected, in 15-20 ft of water. A very slow presentation worked. We caught about 10 fish out of this spot and then it shut off completely. We moved around a lot. In our efforts to find the fish I decided to try a shortcut to the back of a creek. It’s a pretty skinny creek but the Whaler floats in a puddle. So, I put the screws to it and ran high speed through the marsh. We rounded a corner and my lower unit started bumping bottom. Going 30 mph, by the time I stopped we were 200 yards in. In 5 inches of water, tide still going out! No worries, I pulled up the motor and Ray went to back and I went to the front. I didn’t even have room to turn the boat around. Huffing and puffing, I poled us out to deeper water and narrowly avoided a long wait in the marsh grass. Funny stuff! 🙂
We made our way to a creek and started pitching to lay down trees and other structure. I made a pitch and got a hard strike. It was a 28″ redfish. We spun around and held in the current with the trolling motor and proceeded to land about 15 more nice size reds in this one spot. We ended the day with around 30 reds, with the vast majority coming from only 2 very small areas.
Yesterday I fished with Ralph. We went to one of our favorite creeks. We met up with an old friend in another boat who was solo. We both just drifted out the creek with the outgoing tide, casting to structure. We would find some trout, catch 3 or 4, then instruct our friend where they were. As we got 50 yards away he would drift through and catch some himself. It was calm, and we could hear each other clearly from a long distance. We just relaxed chatted and told stories, laughed and caught fish. To me, this is my happy place. We saw a bald eagle, a few osprey, wood storks, egrets, etc. The trout bite varied from a subtle “pick up” to a very aggressive bite – indicative of an oncoming front. We didn’t catch any gator trout today (biggest were around 17″) but the day maker was rounding a corner and getting a hard, drag pulling take. It was a 25″ riverene striper. Once we landed it and got pics, Ralph cast into the same hole and pulled out a second one. All in all, an excellent day fishing in January in Charleston.
As usual, all fish caught on TroutEye jigs with various soft plastics. Tight lines!
Water temps are around 52-55F. Air temp on Jan 3rd was 66F!