Month: November 2015

The Drop has Begun

Cold Water Tips

Since our last update we finally had a break in the weather and it seems we are now in a more regular November pattern of weekly cold fronts.  In the past two weeks the water temp has dropped from around 70F to the mid sixties.  This should amp up the bite, for those days when the wind will allow getting on the water.

On that note, PLEASE be careful fishing in the winter.  Every year we have deaths caused by falling in the water.  A must is to wear a PFD, especially if you are fishing alone.  The first thing to fail is  your muscles ability to tread water, followed by drowning.  A PFD will greatly increase your chances of survival.  Secondly, wear your kill switch if fishing alone.


We all know that trout school up when the water gets cold.  This means that you must keep moving until you find the fish.  If you never find them, it’s not unusual to get skunked on the trout.  But when you do find them, you can have a double or even triple digit catch day.  Many people choose to troll grubs.  If you troll, then catch a fish.  Stop and fish there!  So many people keep going… We prefer to drift with the tide using the trolling motor and casting.  Often you will find a school, then the bite will die off.  Usually it means the school moved up or down the creek a little bit.  Just probe around until you locate them again.  We have plenty more tips on cold water trout fishing – but I will save that for later posts.

Robert Red

Redfish will also be schooled up tight in cold water.  Sometimes, it seems there are 100 fish piled on top of each other in a 12 foot diameter area.  Catching 50+ reds off the same piece of structure is a definite possibility in the cold water.  These fish will tend to be concentrated in a hole or among trees or deep rocky structure.

Ralph Red 1

With all these numbers of catching, please practice conservation – as you can really do some damage to fish populations by keeping your limit each time.  As a recreational tagger, I have learned that fish do not move very much.  They will spend the majority of their lives within a mile of a creek or river.  Fishermen can definitely clean a stretch of river out – no question.  Keep a few for dinner, but let the rest go.

Charity Oyster Roast

In 2011 Ralph founded the Summerville Saltwater Anglers fishing club, and I was one of the lucky ones to be in attendance at the interest meeting.  I volunteered to serve on the founding board of directors, and its awesome to see what the club has become.  It is focused on families, fishing, and helping the community.  We had our End of Year party on Nov 13th and it was an amazing night.  SSWA includes a Youth Advisor on the board of directors which has been a great thing to witness.  It has become a leadership and growth opportunity for some of our youths.  Our first Youth Advisor, Megan, had the idea to include a charity auction for our party each year.  She was just 11 years old when she suggested it at a board meeting.  Well, it has grown every year, and this year the club raised over $9,000 for our charity.  The club also unanimously approved naming the event “Megan’s Gift” in her honor.  It’s been rewarding seeing her grow and become successful (She is now attending the Governer’s School as a Junior in High School).  Our current Youth Advisor, Emery, is a similar young leader, and I also see him doing great things in the future.

Ashley River Cleanup

Something I have spearheaded in the past two years is a cleanup of the upper Ashley River.  This is something that I am passionate about, as it is one of the most beautiful places in Charleston, yet the river is full of trash that keeps coming back.  Carolyn Tomlinson from Keep Dorchester County Beautiful came to the SSWA party to present an award in appreciation for our efforts.  It reads “Keep Dorchester County Beautiful thanks the Summerville Saltwater Anglers for Participating in the GAC 3.2 tons of litter was taken out of the Ashley river on March 21, 2015”.  I was glad to accept this award on behalf of the club, but I want to point out that since our historic flooding, the river is worse than ever, unfortunately.  I will be promoting the event as much as possible in an effort to try to get as many volunteers with boats to help us clean up this coming March.  Below are some pics taken last week to illustrate my point.  PLEASE HELP US!

Ashley 2

Ashley 1

Ashley 3

November Tactics

November is hands-down my favorite month to fish.  Everyone is a hero in November, since the fish are so turned on.  That being said, there are tactics that can help improve your results.  So far, as of the first week of Nov, the water remains very warm – with temps in the upper 60’s.  This means that our cold water tactics are still not really needed.  Fish will still be very aggressive, so definitely top-water fishing is still on.  Do not hang up your plugs yet!  We have more cloudy overcast days in November, and there are still bait fish around, so we are having good top-water strikes even late in the morning.  The size of the trout have been great…the fish are heavy.  We have had many 3+ pound trout in recent weeks.  The Z-Man MinnowZ in rootbeer with chartreuse tail on a Trout Eye jig still is working great.

This fat 21 incher fell for the TE/MinnowZ combo (Released; I follow a 20 inch upper slot on trout)


Top-water Tactics

One tip for those who maybe are new to top-water fishing.  You often hear “don’t set the hook on a top-water strike”.  This is absolutely true, but here are some other tactics.  Think about why a trout smacks a topwater plug.  Often the plug will get launched a foot or more out of the water.  The trout is trying to wound or disorient the fish, then go back for a relatively easy meal.  When a trout hits your plug and misses, do not immediately reel the plug in and cast back in there.  “Sell” the wounded fish act.  Twitch the plug erratically, let it sit, make it act wounded.  Often, that fish will come back 2, 3 even 5 times to try again.  This happened the other day.  Ralph and I were casting a bank and a real nice trout launched its whole body -and the plug – a foot out of the water.  We both happened to be looking at the plug when it happened and said “Whoa!”.  I pulled out all my tricks in “selling” the wounded fish, and sure enough, it came back for a second strike – missed again.  A few more twitches, and … contact!  This was a beautiful and heavy fish at 20 1/4 inches.  Never give up!

Dave Trout 21
Strike three, you’re out!
Ralph Trout 1
Ralph with a great topwater trout

Try the Fly

As we get further into November and colder water sets in, the bait will be mostly gone and small shrimp and glass minnows will be on the menu.  I am not a die hard fly fisherman, but I do love throwing the fly sometimes.  I look at a fly rod as another tool in your inshore toolkit.  You simply cannot present a very small artificial bait (“match the hatch”) with a spin or bait-cast rod.  The best tool for the job is a fly rod.  I love small Clouser minnows.  They look a lot like a glass minnow or small shrimp, are easy to tie, and look very natural in the water.  Try a fly when fishing this month and see how well they work.  I threw one yesterday and the fish were absolutely all over it.  I had a pretty good slam on it, including a 19 inch trout, 24 inch striper and 27 inch redfish.  All of them hammered this little tiny fly.  As Ralph likes to say “Elephants eat peanuts”.  Give a fly rod a try in the cold water.



Red on Fly 3


One last thing.  Yesterday I got about 5 miles away from home and realized I forgot my TroutEye hand towel.  I almost turned around to go get it.  I swear its my favorite accessory, I’m not kidding.  Needless to say, my pants were filthy 🙂

Tag your TroutEye jig catches on social media with #TroutEye and we will repost it!
The best value in our jigheads is to buy direct in bulk.  See our online store for details.


Tight lines!