Month: March 2016

The Evasive Trout Feasting Window

If you are a fellow trout-aficionado you probably have experienced the topic of this post at some point.  I’m referring to the elusive trout feasting window – a short period of time when big trout let their guard down and feed voraciously.  I’ve experienced this usually about once a year (and usually in the Spring) when I have been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.  When you are in it, the bite is simply crazy.  Last year it happened to me in early April.  We were fishing in a spot having average results by any measure, then….wham…21″ gator trout.  By the end of the window of time I had 3 over 21″ with a fourth lost at the boat due to a net fumble 🙂  By the time we caught our breath from the furious action, it was over.  Surely, these big trout were around the whole time, but not feeding.

Well, it happened again to me and my best bud Ray (current President of SSWA) on Saturday.  We were fishing a club tournament and in the AM the bite was by all measures pretty shut off.  Yeah, we were catching a few here and there, but all marginal fish (male trout – you could tell by the drumming, and the size).  I had a redfish miss a topwater plug three times while working the plug over submerged oysters, and finally Ray managed to get a hook in a big red at 27.5″ at another flat.  That was the morning’s highlight… otherwise, we probably had 10-15 small trout and an undersize flounder all morning.

Ray TW Red
Ray with his topwater redfish. Gnats were terrible!

Then, it happened.

We pulled up to a spot, and started absolutely bailing trout.  Every cast.  Doubles upon doubles.  For 30 minutes straight.  And nice fish too…16-19 inch trout.  We were within site of some dock workers and hearing their banter was hysterical.  “Look, they got ANOTHER one”  “C’mon man, how are we supposed to work with that going on?” “They got another one!”

Ray Bent Rod

It was as good as it gets.  After the window closed, we drifted over to them and they said “Man, we’ve been here 2 weeks, and have seen boat after boat go there and not catch @#^$&!”  “You dudes came here and SLAYED em!”  I might have gained a few new customers after showing them our Trout Eyes and Trout Tricks – seriously you can’t buy that kind of advertisement 🙂  Truth be told I think they would have bit a gum wrapper with a hook on it though, but we weren’t lying: we did catch all our trout on Trout Eye jigs and Z-Man plastics though.  I did not get any pics during this stretch because we were a little busy 🙂

Corky Trout
Finicky trout like a slow presentation. Perfect for a Corky.

I looked back at the charts however, and the data is pretty cool.  We have all heard about the fish biting well during just before a front.  Ralph says you can get too close to the front, but I really think he means after the front has passed its gonna shut off.  Check this out.  The window occurred right at the beginning of an abrupt drop in pressure, followed by short leveling off, then a steep drop.  We felt the wind shift to the south and pick up just as this window happened, and you can see it in the charts.  I believe they feed hard just at the very beginning of this drop then shut off.  This was our experience, as after this window, the bite shut off hard.

If you look at the charts, you will see this type of pressure drop happening all the time.  I don’t think this kind of feed happens each time, but then again, maybe it does.  The window is so short, you could easily be moving from spot A to spot B and miss it.  Or, happen to be fishing in a spot where the fish are not there.

But, when the right place at the right time come together – man, what fun!

The feeding window explained

I’m wondering if anyone else experienced this window approx 1pm on Saturday, lasting about 30 min?  If so, let us know!


March fishing means gnats!  Go on a calm day and suffer the consequences, unless you are prepared.  Some sprays such as No Nats work pretty well, but I prefer the cover-up approach.  Buffs get made fun of a lot by the cool kids, but I love them.  One of their many useful traits is gnat control IMO.  Pull it up over your ears and face leaving just an eye slit and it helps immensely when the gnats are clouding.  Wear long sleeves, long pants and socks and it can save the day – and your sanity.


I love the Osprey – the ultimate fisherman.  Here are a couple good shots I got of one doing a little gigging

Osprey Nest

Osprey Piling


Spring fishing is on fire – time to stock up on Trout Eyes and Z-Man Lures.  If you enjoy our reports, please consider purchasing some tackle on our site.  Bulk jigs are 20% discounted – best deal anywhere!

Springtime Trout

Those of us who prefer to target trout are getting pretty excited, as we know that Spring means we will catch our largest and heaviest trout of the year.  Speckled trout have one thing (well, two things) on their mind when the water starts warming:  Eat, and Spawn.

Dave Trout 1
Dave with a 19.5″ trout

Water temps in the Wando last Sunday were around 56F, so still a little cold, but they are rising fast.  As I write, the water temp is nearing 60F and any time now the topwater bite will kick in fierce.  This is from past experience.  When the water gets in the low 60’s, this brings the return of large schools of baitfish.  By watching my Humminbird fish finder, we could see these schools coming in waves suspended about 10 feet down.  There was also evidence of bait on the surface, and even a few fish strikes.  If there are no mullet around, the topwater bite will be very slow.  Soon, they will be everywhere, and thus the trout (and redfish) will be focused on this easy meal.

This day, the trout bite ranged from the familiar *tick* to a barely perceptible pick-up.  The larger the trout, the lighter the bite (this is often the case)

Ray Trout
Ray with a nice keeper

I began the day throwing the Pearl MinnowZ that I was using last trip in the Cooper, and I fished it pretty much all day with success.  I did eventually break it off on some deep structure doing some experimenting.  I replaced it with a BadShad color MinnowZ and got a memorable bite from a large redfish.

Redfish Kiss
A memorable catch. Note his Nemo Fin

This fish hit like a freight train right in the middle of a group of pilings.  The feeling coming down the line let me know it had wrapped around a piling.  I’ve learned from experience that the best thing to do in this case is to open the bail.  The lack of resistance calms the fish and it will often stop running.  I ran the trolling motor so that I could free the line.  Reeling in, I discovered it had wrapped around another piling!  I opened the bail and got it free.  Next, I was able to steer it around the remaining pilings, then headed for deep water.  This pretty red fought hard and only after landing it did I discover its “Nemo Fin”.

A couple quick pics and released.  A great way to end the day.

Trout Closeup

Totals for the day, about 16 trout to 19.5″, two reds to 28.5″, and one flounder at 14″.  My first slam of the year 🙂

A note about spring time trout:  These trout will be fat with eggs, and the gators will all be females.  Please consider releasing them to spawn.  Wetting your hands before landing them will help protect their slime.  I release all trout over 20″ as a personal upper-slot limit, and on top of that will only keep 2 or 3 for a meal to eat fresh.


It’s time to stock up on your tackle!  The best value in Trout Eye jigs is to buy direct from us in bulk.  We also have a limited selection of Z-Man soft plastics in colors and profiles that we recommend and fish with ourselves.  Click on our Store link above.  Grab a hand-towel while you’re at it.  It’s a great accessory.  Thanks.

Wando Dock