Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -Albert Einstein
I see people doing the same thing and getting the same results. You know what I’m talking about. The same spots at the Rock Dam or in Stump Lagoon. I think these people haven’t paid attention to their surroundings. I know I do. You may see something that will be the key to unlocking unparalleled success in your fishing experiences. Paying close attention to the environment and taking time to learn has boosted my success to the point where I am a very confident charter captain. So if you’re always going to the same spots and doing the same things without looking for the “why”, then you may very well be insane.
So let me tell you about what I saw one day. While running through the marsh, I always noticed water rips or current lines marking where water is flowing. This is nothing new. You can see those particular current lines because that is where water is flowing the heaviest. Later on, I was reviewing some satellite imagery measuring differing routes when I noticed something. It was one of the “Aha!” moments you have every once in a great while. It just “clicked” and then I realized that I may have been missing something all along. Something that was critical to understanding the ecology of the Louisiana marsh. Something that would help me find and boat more speckled trout.
I noticed that, on the satellite imagery, I could see current lines flowing across areas where I usually caught most of my fish.
It makes sense. Oysters are filter-feeders, and it is logical that I also found them in these same areas. Sometimes they were leases, but usually not. These were naturally occurring beds sitting in arteries of tidal water.
What’s critical to keep in mind here is that there will be current lines that are visible from the sky, but not necessarily from your boat. Chances are, you have been running over loads of trout without even knowing it. This article can help you find those trout.
Now this is where Google Earth and its Time Slider comes into play. Go ahead, open up Google Earth and follow along. Move to an area in the marsh with various intersections, mouths and cuts. Now scroll through various dates and look for any water rips or current lines. Here are a few I found.
See what I am talking about? You can get an idea as to what areas will have the right moving water. Understand that where you should cast exactly can be a little tricky. Yes, there may be moving water there, but look for a point it may be moving across. That may be your sweet spot. If not, be sure to always cast around!
Picking out a spot with a current line and running to it first thing would be a knee-jerk reaction. Don’t do that! Instead, take the time to find out the date that image was taken and look that day up on a tide chart. Understand that winds play a role in water flow, so if a hard east wind is blowing the day there is a falling tide, know that the water may actually be going the other way. However, it’s pretty easy to see which way water is flowing on a satellite image.
Remember Scouting: Part One, you need to locate a lot of spots to try out and then hit all opportunities that present themselves on the way
Making your Pre-Scout File is essential in seeing where the current lines are when you are actually on location.
Look at how water flows back and forth with the flow and ebb of the tide. It’s easy to see how differing bodies of water can be broken down into metaphorical categories like highways, streets and sidewalks. Bayou LaLoutre is most definitely a “highway”, being a main life line of the surrounding marsh. It should come as no surprise that anybody would drift Bayou LaLoutre for trout during low water in the winter. This is because that is where all the bait and fish drain into. Makes sense, right?
Because of the way water flows, you may find yourself fishing in some peculiar spots that initially seem devoid of anything that would hold fish. When I was younger, I always looked for clues that I could see above the water to key me on. Now that I am older and more experienced, I know those clues won’t always be readily available, so I started paying more attention to what was underwater. The birds-eye perspective Google Earth gives can shed some light on this.
Why are these current lines so relevant?
Keep in mind that speckled trout and redfish can’t see what we see above the water surface. Their world is a little different from ours and they will make decisions based on what’s underwater. One of these things that will influence their behavior is the presence of baitfish, especially shrimp.
If you have ever seen a speckled trout swim, you know that they dart around like missiles. If you have seen a shrimp swim, then you know they are at the mercy of the current once they are adrift. Apparently, this is at the disadvantage of the shrimp. See for yourself here:
So as a tide is falling, all the water will be flowing towards those main arteries of the marsh. With it will be drifting shrimp and other tasty baitfish that trout and reds enjoy. The moving water essentially “forms” the baitfish and will consistently rake them across the same areas. The trout and reds know to stack on these areas and await their meals. It’s a cycle that happens over and over and over. Watch this video of us nuking some trout that are eating shrimp subject to these current lines.
You can see evidence of this bait cycle on Google Earth. It is a dead giveaway. Use the Time Slider to find where this bait will be, and then be there to fish it.
So quit doing the same thing repeatedly, especially if you think you can be catching more. Venture into something new. Try out what I recommend and if you catch fish, please let me know. It makes me smile!
Please post all thoughts, questions and suggestions!