The magical combination of fishing and duck hunting in November and December is perfect for the outdoor adventurer on Baffin Bay! Every day on the water brings so much excitement! While fishing, it’s a great opportunity to scout for the next duck hunt. While duck hunting, fishermen are watching the water for bait movement and trying to decide where the next fishing spot is going to be. Anglers and duck hunters become consumed with these two sports that really come together in the month of December, beginning with the opening of the duck season split on December 9th and ending on January 28, 2018.
Trophy trout season is in full swing now and Baffin Bay does not fail to deliver. Big trout move up shallow and are feeding up to survive the winter and begin preparation for the spring spawn.
Mother Nature has conveyed a message to them that winter is coming with the drop in water temperatures. After a long, lazy summer without any worries and so much food in the system, these fish finally get into gear and they are eating big mullet.
A lure of choice would be the Saltwater Assassin “Die Dapper” in either the Snowstorm color (which is a white variant), or the Morning Glory (which is black with a chartreuse tail). These two lures are the go-to for targeting big trout. These wide-bodied paddle tails, hooked up on the 1/32 oz. jig head, ‘Black’s Magic” are deadly because they can swim along the bottom or even be suspended, with the light weight of the jig head, and big trout cannot resist this natural “mullet” action.
Top waters can be very productive on the right days. One-Knocker Spooks, She-Dogs, Yozuri 3DB, Skitterwalks and Super Spook Juniors in various colors tossed up shallow can be deadly. Something to remember when working a topwater when the water is chilly is to pause the retrieve from time to time. This gives a hungry trout time to suck that lure down. The pause is important and will catch a lot of fish! The sound that all of these topwater lures make is what attracts a fish to strike. Some lures have low thuds, some have high-pitched rattles, some have quieter presentations. Find the sound that draws a strike by throwing a few of these different lures on days when the top water bite is on.
Stretches of warm and sunny days will bring redfish and black drum up shallow to feed. Take a break from the trophy trout hunt to walk up to the sandy beaches of Baffin Bay to sight cast. Whether tossing a smaller paddle tail on the Black’s Magic 1/32 oz. jig head, like a 4” Saltwater Assassin Sea Shad in White, Sugar and Spice or Chicken on a Chain, or going with the irresistible 3” Chartreuse Gulp “Swimming Mullet”, big reds and black drum are shallow for one reason . . . to eat. Make a natural presentation (cross a redfish’s path about an inch or two in front of their mouths) and they cannot say no! Black drum don’t really like to chase their food, they like to find it, so observe which way they are moving and put the Gulp right in front of them and stop, letting the lure rest on the bottom. As soon as they get close, move the lure less than an inch. When the black drum tips his tail up, he’s got the lure, so set the hook. Black drum fishing is the most highly under-rated sport on the Coast. Plus, the table fare of the black drum is delectable!
Fly fishermen use these same techniques for reds and drum on nice, sunny days. Use a white clouser with bead-chain eyes, tied on a #4 hook, or a small, white crab pattern and these two fish will not say no. Sometimes, black drum prefer a black crab, but either way, use a fly that you can see. It’s important to be able to see the fly and its proximity to the feeding end of your prey. Presentation is everything, so keep an eye on the fly for better hook-ups and more fun!
The months of November and December deliver a high-quality dose of everything to outdoorsmen on Baffin Bay! Trophy trout, ducks, sight-casting reds and black drum and fly fishing. Some days are better for ducks than fish, some days deliver all of the above. It’s a great dilemma to have. Be prepared for a big-time experience by keeping duck gear at the ready, trophy trout lures and fly rods set up. Using the right gear is so important for successful outdoor experiences.
The arsenal should include a good 12-gauge shotgun, some high quality shells, like Black Cloud in #2 or something similar. Don’t shoot cheap, junky shells because being on a duck hunt shouldn’t include misfires or wounded ducks that get away. Make the investment in good shells and keep your gun clean and ready to go.
When seeking trophy trout on Baffin Bay, anglers should upgrade rods to a 6’6” or 6’9” medium light with a light, sturdy casting reel. Braid or mono is an angler’s choice, but, a reel that is not reliable will take away from your trophy trout experience. Make sure that the reel is lubed up and ready to cast light weight lures with minimal back lashes or tangles. Know how to adjust the reel’s brakes and spool tensioner, based on the weight of the lure being casted.
Fly fishermen and sight casters follow similar rules to ensure a quality experience. Time on the water or in the duck blind is precious, so having the right tools for the job are crucial. Guides have it made because they do it every day and have their gear tuned up and ready to go at all times. One of the real benefits of going hunting or fishing with a guide is knowing the game plan ahead of time, including what lures and presentations are working. Utilize your guide to make sure that the experience is of the highest quality for everyone!
Early winter comes quickly in South Texas and can include cold temperatures or a step back to summertime. In the event of chilly mornings, good waders and jackets are essential to keep a focus on either ducks or fish, not hypothermia! Get geared up and ready for anything because Baffin Bay is bringing it all! It’s the home of the largest and heaviest trout on the Texas Coast and it’s usually the end of the road for most ducks coming down the fly way because of the lack of pressure on the saltwater and the abundance of fresh water on the King and Kenedy Ranches. What a privilege to have access to this outdoor paradise!
Our lodge is ready to host groups of up to 20 people, including a cozy fire ring and unbelievably great food served up by Chef Adam. Recently, Baffin Bay Rod and Gun received the unbelievably great news that the Orvis Company has endorsed our lodge for Wingshooting and Fly Fishing! This will open up so many doors and a knowledge base for both of these sports that is second to none. BBR&G is upping their game and all hunters and anglers will benefit! Come to Baffin Bay Rod and Gun and experience this all-inclusive sportsmen’s dream combination of fishing and hunting this winter!
Capt. Sally Black