Month: May 2015

What a difference a day can make

This Memorial day weekend was great fun for my family.  We spent 3 days just being vacationers.  My plans usually involve fishing pre-dawn till 9 or 10 am then spending the rest of the day with family.  Back to work today I’m tired, a little sore and a little sunburned.  Gotta love it, not even June yet 🙂

I have a favorite flat that I scouted myself a few years ago after Ralph taught me about how to find fish.  It’s a very special place to me and I keep it tight to my vest.  This particular place (I call it the pumpkin patch) has been awesome for catching redfish on top in 1 foot of water.  It must be the abundance of bait that gets them eager to charge a plug.  Through trial and error I have learned how to get them to attack.  Simply working the plug across the flat seldom works.  I’ll leave the details to a future post.

Sunrise over the pumpkin patch

Anyway, I haven’t been here in over 6 months and I was wondering if they would be around.  My point with this article is the difference a day can make in fishing.  I fished this same flat, basically the same time of day, in the same way, using the same techniques, and had very different results.

Day 1.  Got to the flat and all the ingredients were there.  Lots of bait, some strikes.  Started working the skitterwalk and was having no luck.  Behind me is an aggressive strike.  I turn around and launch a long cast and a great big red back comes out of the water and crushes it.  He ran around an oyster rake and I could feel my line dragging across it.  Opened my bail and ran the trolling motor to the other side and it freed up.  Real nice fish at 31.5″.  Found a group of smaller fish tailing.  Tried to get one on a topwater fly but could not get one to take.  Best I got was a follow and deny.  Good day!  Off the water at 9 am and the lot was full and three boats waiting to put in.

Day 1 Pumpkin
Reds lazily tailing on a flat


Nervous water


Day 2.  Got to flat and there was no crashing.  Only lazy movement of fish.  I could tell by their behavior that they were not happy fish.  Tried all my tricks and no fish.  Moved on to some new water and found a bend with laydown trees.  This is familiar to me.  Lost a little flatty and eventually found 4 trout and a 20 ish inch red in deep water off the end of a tree.  The Z-Man Trout Trick in opening night color saved my day.  I thought I might get skunked on Sunday.  Winds were strong out of the East, but they really were all weekend so can’t blame it on that.  Other reports in the area were similar.  Fish were really negative on Sunday.

Z-Man Trout Trick (Opening Night) and Glow TroutEye jig

Day 3.  Got to flat and was walking the skitter when POP! a red snapped it hard and ran.  It was a big fish and kept pulling my drag toward an oyster rake.  I have a rule to not horse fish but I broke my own rule when I palmed the spool a bit to try to turn it…. bad idea, lost it.  Skitter came back with a scale pierced on a hook so it must have been hooked outside the mouth.  Oh well.  No matter.  Shortly later had a huuge strike that punched a hole in the water.  He was NOT happy to be hooked.  Ended up at 32.5″ a real big fish.  Later had another monster absolutely hammer the plug only to miss it.  He missed a second time a short time later.  I could not get him to come back for thirds.  This day, the fish were happy and aggressive.

A hole in the water where a skitter walk used to be


Day 3 Pumpkin
Tagged and released

On reflection, some days the fish are gonna be negative.  I think a lot of people would have been skunked fishing the waters where I was.  The trick is to continue to search different patterns till you find something that works.  shallow/deep.  flats/deep water.  oysters/docks.  etc.  A finesse bait like the Trout Trick are the best baits, in my opinion, for when the fish are turned off.  This was the case for me on Sunday.

Hope this helps.  In the mean time, I’m gonna keep working on my fly casting… it needs it!


Some friends have been doing well on the Z-Man Trout Tricks.

Martin with a true gator on TT/TE
Smoak Dan TT TE 2
Daniel of Z-Man with a nice redfish on TT/TE (photo cred: John Smoak, Smoak Stack Studios)

It’s Topwater Time

Ralph fished on Tuesday with customers and I snuck out for a half day solo on Wednesday.  Next time you hit the water one thing will be noticeably different – the baitfish have moved in, and moved in thick!   There are literally mullet and menhaden everywhere.  And that means topwater is on.  Look for bait, especially if you see the school get struck.  Chunk your plug in there and make it look scared and injured and hold on.  Literally, just hold on.  Don’t set the hook.  Just hold on until you feel the rod pulsing.  Ralph’s guests had multiple strikes with very few hookups, and Ralph had 5 or so trout from 18-22 inches.  It’s the little things that can make all the difference!  Later in the day Ralph got a number of heavy trout on TroutEye jigs.  Unfortunately Ralph’s photog (me) was not on the trip so no pics to show.

Dave with Red and GoldEye

I also had a great bite on top on Wednesday, but no big fish (up to 16″).  I did find four grown reds to stretch my line and one real nice trout (22 in) on a gold TroutEye jighead.  Finished the day with a decent 17 in flounder for the slam.

Gator trout 1

There are a good number of heavy trout this spring (yeah!).  They are heavy with eggs and the great majority of your bigger fish will be females.  Please consider letting the big girls go so they can spawn their “survivor genes” to the next generations.  We will never fault you for keeping your (legal) fish, but just planting a seed for thought.  I (Dave) keep a personal upper slot on trout of 20 inches for this reason.

Red with TE in mouth

Enjoy the great bite going on, it’s awesome to have big trout around!

How to fish the Trout Trick

Here is a little video I made recently on how to properly fish the Trout Trick.  I apologize for the poor lighting and audio quality – it is not up to my standards but I was filming alone and I’m usually behind the camera not in front of it.  Pay special attention to the fish caught towards the end.  At what point did it hit the lure?  On the drop – both times.

Hope this helps you improve your results with the Trout Trick.  Critics of this lure have never tried it, or maybe have not presented it properly.  If you use it, you will believe in it.

How to Fish the Zman Trout Trick from RalphPhillipsInshore on Vimeo.

Early May Report

If you follow fishing reports on social media, you don’t always hear about the marginal days.  It seems that recently, while the fishing is always great, the catching has been hot or cold.  I guess I’d blame it on the weather, or temperatures (both air and water) to be specific.  Seems the weather has been anything but stable – and mostly windy.  Man, I am sick and tired of the wind.  Years ago when I was a die-hard windsurfer, I would never see myself making that statement 🙂

Case in point.  Ralph and I fished the Cooper on Saturday morning and fished very hard for only a few trout and bluefish to show.  We raised the white flag at about 11am.  We were discussing the fact that we are confident enough to know that if the fish were in any way in a feeding mood that we would have gotten a bite.  Surely there were fish around, but badly turned off.  The air temp was very cold, and we were shivering in two layers.  That could be why.  Well, if the fish are gonna be that way, we both have enough work we are neglecting to waste our time beating the water to a froth, so we packed it in.

Ralph AM
Pre-dawn Topwater
Dawn suspender
When the sun comes up, a suspending plug is hard to beat

Sunday we fished in separate boats in separate rivers (Wando and Cooper).  We both did pretty well.  Ralph had approx 15 trout – nothing huge but big enough to not have to measure.  The report from the Wando was that it was very muddy which is unusual for that river.  I had a pretty good day in the Cooper with a real nice trout over 20″ followed by 7 redfish including two at just under 30″.  I managed a 15.5″ flounder to round out a pretty respectable slam of around 65″.  While out there, I decided to do a little instructional film on how to properly fish a Trout Trick.  I’ve had a lot of people ask me how to fish the TT and it’s relevant considering the latest news coming out of Z-Man…. The release of the ElaZtech Trout Trick line!  Pretty exciting stuff.  We have been fishing the prototypes for a couple months now and the new TT’s and colors are really great.  I’m especially excited about the Z-Man TT in the original color.  They did a great job matching the original color and when you see the film, you will see that they work very well.

Trout Gold Eye

Red Reel

Dave Red
Dave with a nice 29.75 in Redfish on Gold TroutEye jig and Z-Man Trout Trick

In the mean time, I’ll get to editing the video and will let y’all know when its up.

Remember, our May promotion involves TroutEye bucktails.  They work really well, and you have a chance to win a sack of jigs just by fishing them and posting your catch pics.  Our bucktails are currently available only on our Store.  Give em a try!