Running the Swamp Stallion Circuit
Have you ever struck out fishing for speckled trout and redfish? Have you ever pulled up to your favorite spot just to catch only a few? Has being indecisive about which fishing strategy to use cost you time, money and fish? Do you know what you can do to minimize this? I do. I have been there and I have found a surefire way to stay on top of the fish. I can offer a solution to help multiply your successes. I can help you get those trout. I possess something that’s simple, yet unique. This is a strategy that will help you boat more fish, in a less amount of time, for less money. Interested? Then read on.
Before I get started I want you to think about your ventures into the marsh. It doesn’t matter if it’s Hopedale, Delacroix or Point a la Hache. Think about what you normally do. You arrive to your first spot to start fishing. Sometimes you catch fish, sometimes you don’t. But what if you don’t? How far is the next spot? If it’s far away, would it be worth it to risk going there? You can abandon this feeling of being lost by replacing it with confidence in what to do next. The system that I use to replicate my successes is a system that I have named “The Swamp Stallion Circuit”.
The Swamp Stallion Circuit is a simple method that requires a little discipline and planning. In a nutshell, the idea is to run a wide track through the marsh with as many fishing spots as possible as close to each other as possible. For example, you don’t want to run ten miles between spots, you want to run less than that between spots. There are exceptions to this. If your line isn’t in the water, you can’t catch fish. And when that boat is blasting full throttle down the bayou, your line isn’t in the water! Makes sense right?
I will use some of my old summer fishing spots and the route I ran as an example. This is waaaay before I started chartering, so try not to laugh so hard. At that time, I was not pressured to conduct an efficient fishing trip. Maybe you don’t really have a plan when you go fishing, you just go to where you have caught fish or where you think there will be fish. That is basically what I was doing before. Keep in mind that I was doing this in a 15ft flat boat that goes 25mph on a good day.
As you can see, that route is a total of 40.4 miles for only five fishing spots. Several of them are pretty close to eachother and “on the way”, but consider that you are running a distance-to-spot ratio of 8.08 miles to 1 spot or 8.08:1. So you’re adding roughly 14 minutes to each run between spots. Additionally, most boats that fish the same area get about 2.5 miles to the gallon, some more or less. With gas at $3.50 a gallon, you’re paying a little more than eleven bucks to go to the next spot. So what can you do? There are a couple things.
First off, you can find more spots along your route. This requires scouting and is outside the scope of this article. I will write another one for that topic. You want to find more fishing spots. It can be grueling, but will be worth it. Secondly, you can start fishing somewhere closer. This will also require scouting, but again, it is worth it. I am telling you that the best feeling in the world is finding a new fishing spot on your own. I prefer that high more than catching at someone else’s spot.
So I took these two things into consideration and began running a shorter route after extensively developing the Bayou Biloxi marsh. At the time, I liked going there because I had guidance from my father on how to fish it and it was further removed from the more popular fishing areas. Granted, the route I am going to show you is geared towards fall fishing, but nevertheless the same principles apply.
You can see that I have a lot more spots that are closer to eachother, despite my route terminating at 33.2 miles. It ends in Biloxi Lagoon, so know that I still have to drive back to BSM, which would be an additional 20 miles. So we’re running 53 miles round-trip and have 20 fishing spots to hit on the way. We’re looking at a distance-to-spot ratio of 2.65:1. This is way better than what we had before! Yes, it’s longer than the previous route, but I am fishing more water and putting less run time between my fishing spots. Especially if I am consistently catching good boxes of fish in this area, the run is worth it. Once I arrive to my fishing area, I am set up for success, being surrounded by hotspots and having a great strategy. The biggest problem is getting there. From Breton Sound Marina to the mouth of Stump Lagoon it is roughly 12 miles. That’s a long run with no real places to fish along the way. So we’re talking 24 of those miles there are no fishing spots worth stopping for. Now, as I stated before, if I am consistently killing fish that whole time then it is worth the trip. But what if you can hone the fishing trip in such a manner that you are getting to your initial fishing spots faster? What if I could take those 24 miles and put them to good use? I knew that if I could I would be saving a lot more money on gas and catching a lot more fish. But it would mean changing up my primary fishing areas, which was risky with a big reward. (Perhaps by now you are seeing a reoccurring pattern here. I am giving up old habits and familiarity by venturing out into unknown places to look for fish. In my opinion, this is a hallmark of a great fisherman. If you keep doing the same thing over and over and never get the results you desire, then why are you doing what you do?) There were several things that I did. Firstly, I would stop off in Bayou St. Malo and pick up some fish there before continuing on to the Biloxi Marsh. I would just change my route to running up the shoreline of Lake Borgne. I would also fish Baker’s Canal, Halfmoon, etc. on my way up the Biloxi marsh. This helped a little.
However, as the 2011 fall season progressed, I noticed that, for whatever reason, more and more trout were showing up in the Delacroix area than they were in the Bayou Biloxi area. This was my opportunity and I hopped on it! I recognized right away that the 12 mile run from Breton Sound Marina to the mouth of Stump Lagoon was the same distance from the marina to Four Horse Lake. There was SO MUCH MORE to fish in those twelve miles. It took some serious changing in gears, but after talking with fishing colleagues, reading fishing reports, doing a good map study, applying what I learned before and scouting my ass off I was able to get on the fish. The hardest part was just doing it. So now I was picking up fish in Lake Robin and Delacroix without having to make a long, monotonous run.
Take this method, The Swamp Stallion Circuit, and fit into your own fishing methodology. It’s another tool for the toolbox, and a good one at that. When you pull up to your first spot and don’t catch anything, you know you’re in good hands because you will be near another fishing spot. Cover more water! Customers that have fished with me will tell you that some days we had to run a little bit before we finally got onto them, but when we did we were ON THEM! Imagine if you could scoop up millions of gallons of water in a giant bucket. The more water you scooped up, the more fish you would have in your bucket. Makes sense, right? Evaluate how you fish, identify what can be improved in your route and then set out to fix it. Above all, use the time and patience necessary to get this accomplished. And if this helps you catch more (I know that it will) then let me know! I’d love to hear from you and your fishing experience!