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Tide Runner Seatrout

An Accidental Tactic Change Produces Fish

By

Tide Runner Seatrout

Spotted Seatrout on Spinning Tackle

Photo © Ron Brooks
I was fishing with artificial lures on a mud and oyster flat at high tide. Normally I pick up a few of what I call “tide runners”. These are usually really big fish that feed right at the high tide for about an hour. They are usually also spotted seatrout.

The Lures

I was using a Boone Castana in a pink and silver color, working it on the surface and just under the surface. In a fifteen minute period – probably twenty casts, I managed to catch two nice trout. I knew the fish should be there, but they just did not seem interested. I saw several fish make a lazy looking swipe at the lure and miss it.

I was working the lure the same way I usually work it, which is a “twitch, twitch, pause” routine. I varied the retrieve, with more or less twitches and longer and shorter retrieves. The fish still seemed a bit lethargic.

I remembered a trip in the past where changing lures made a difference, so I switched to a red and white Spinana, the slightly smaller cousin to the Castana. I worked the lure the same way only to come up with the same results.

Changing Tactics

On one cast that the wind caught, I did not like where the lure landed, so I began a steady retrieve to get it back to the boat to cast again. That steady retrieve made the lure go down about two or three feet and move erratically side to side.

Wham! A seatrout nailed that moving lure so hard it almost took the rod out of my hand. Light bulbs went off in my head! I caught several more very aggressive trout in the next hour, all on that fast, underwater retrieve. I even switched back to the pink Castana and caught fish using the same retrieve. I found out that it was not the color as much as it was the action and depth of the running lure. On previous trips to this same area over the years, it was the slow topwater action that drew strikes.

I recognized that if I could see the lure plainly in the slightly cloudy water, I got no strikes. The lure wasn’t deep enough. If I could barely see the lure as I retrieved it, I would get bit, and also see the side of the fish as it struck.

Learn Something

I try to learn something on every trip I make. On this trip I really did not learn anything new, rather I remembered something I had learned many years ago. Sometimes fish are on a topwater feed and sometimes they are on an underwater feed. I forgot that on this trip for a while and was lucky enough to stumble onto it on that first fast retrieve.

I was by myself and could only get a couple of pictures before the battery on my camera died. (Reminder to self – take two batteries!). You can see that I was alone, because I had to hold up my own fish!

This will sound like a fish story to many of you, but the fish I caught right after the battery died was a nice, fat, five-pound trout.

Do yourself a favor as you fish and learn. Make every trip a learning experience. Sit back and go back through the day. What worked? What didn’t work? What time was the bite? The answer to these questions and more can become a virtual, fact database for reference on future trips.

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