Ugly Fishing Spots

We all have many ideas what a good fishing spot should look like. Perhaps it’s surrounded by pristine sand dunes and native grasses, and has that perfect seagrass bottom that you are looking for, or it’s a hidden marsh lagoon surrounded by mangroves and includes small oyster reefs that jut out into the current for that perfect snook spot. We spend so much time running to the prettiest spot, that has the prettiest water, and we wonder why we don’t catch any fish. Can an angler catch fish at ugly fishing spots?

I’ve been finding great fishing where ever great fishing occurs, and many times those locales haven’t exactly looked like what I thought they should. Even today, I ran the boat to several isolated bays only to find a school of nice speckled trout right behind the boat ramp. I knew the structure was right for it to produce and when I saw good sign of fish presence, I didn’t hesitate to fish so close to the boat ramp. It was less than 50 yards to the entrance to the harbor. In fact 3 other fishing boats left the harbor while I steadily caught fish.

We always seem to feel the need to make the run to the other side of the bay to that ‘perfect’ spot. I did just that this past Friday and made a 22 mile run. Granted I knew fish were there, and I knew it was the right type of area for the fall. Then today I caught solid fish less than one-half a football field away from my parked truck. It’s almost laughable. Here’s the deal, the fish don’t know they aren’t suppose to be somewhere. As long as the location matches what they are looking for then, the fish will be there regardless of what the ‘above surface’ features look like. And the fish certainly don’t care if we like it or not.

So what makes a good fishing spot for speckled trout, redfish, or flounder. First of all it must be in the right part of the bay system for season. Does the area normally contain fish during that season, or are they somewhere else looking for some huge forage mass? No ‘spot’ will produce if it’s not in the right part of the bay for the season. And nothing will get you a ‘skunk’ faster than fishing the wrong part of the bay for a certain season.

Next, it has to have the right structure that matches the habitat of the fish you are targeting. If you’re seeking trout, that spot better be trout habitat. It should be within the right depth for trout and give them plenty of opportunities to ambush prey from below albeit a main bay drop off, the edge of an oyster reef, or the edge of a pocket in the grass. The habitat must match for the species you are going after…PERIOD.

And similarly to the seasonal requirement, the location has to have forage present there then. Many ‘spots’ seem almost perfect, but they are missing one element or more, and if one of those elements is lacking prey within the close proximity, even the prettiest locations will not produce. If, however, a ‘fishing spot’ contains all the above parameters, yet it’s a little less than pristine then that can be a great spot and it will produce when everything lines up for that location. Take for example, a big trout spot I found last fall. I had found this location using aerial photography and it seemed promising. Deep water nearby, great oyster reef, and mud. A perfect big trout play for sure. It was in the upper section of the estuary so I knew that It would fit the bill for a late fall / early winter location. I did wonder how the boat traffic would be… because it was in the back of the harbor. Infact I fished closer to my truck and trailer than the actual run distance to the spot was.

Today’s location was similar. Great oyster reef on a drop off, broken oyster on a mud bottom in 5’ of water, and the forage mass was passing through.. another great fall and winter location. DId it matter to me that it wasn’t 22 miles away? Not after that first hookset; No.

Tobin created – Tech Support for speckled trout and redfish anglers wanting to up there game to the next level.