Tidewater 1800 Bay Max Winter Seatrout
by Ted Lund
As the mercury dips though out the Southeast United States, savvy anglers know the biggest spotted seatrout of the year seek out refuge in deeper holes, channels and residential canals.
The deeper water translates into more heat retention throughout the day. As the temperatures dip, the larger trout, known as “gators,” slow down their metabolism and wait for the warmer weather of spring. Although its not a true hibernation, fishermen do need to adjust their tactics to target these trophy trout.
Once you’ve located likely areas for bigger Winter-time trout, you need to make sure you have the right equipment. Experts prefer baitcasting outfits in the 6- to 61/2-foot medium-action rods armed with light-weight baitcasters capable of holding 100- to 150-yards of 20- or 30-pound braided line. Braid is the norm, as it affords the angler a direct connection to bait and allows instant detection of even the most subtle pick up. And you’ll be amazed at how subtle a 10-pound trout, hunkered down in the cold, can be. When fishing areas with heavy cover in close proximity (deep holes next to wood or concrete dock pilings, mangrove shorelines, etc.) you may want to opt for heavier braid.
At the terminal end of the operation, use a clean finishing knot such as the Yucatan to attach a short (18 to 24 inch) shock trace of 15- to 30-pound fluorocarbon. This will provide an invisible link to the lure and provide added chafe resistance during the fight.
Big trout don’t eat much during this time of year, but they do prefer larger meals, so you’ll want to plan accordingly. Traditionally, larger hardbaits like Mirrolure’s 52M-11 (white with a red head) or 52-CH (chartreuse back and belly with gold scale) have been the norm. The advent of soft baits has really added to the angler’s quiver. A sure go-to is the 4-inch DOA shrimp in gold-glitter, stark-naked or new penny colors.
Regardless of the lure, you’ll want to set yourself up so that you can work the holes or channel in the most efficient way possible, making long fan casts. With the hard baits, allow them to sink to as near to the bottom as possible to avoid getting snagged, then work them across the range in a slow, steady motion, stopping every few feet, then giving a short twitch before retrieving. This mimics a baitfish that is stunned or dying from the cold water. Expect the strike on the pause as the bait begins to fall.
The DOA shrimp require a slightly different approach. The unique design lets the lure do the work for you. All you have to do is make a long cast, swim the shrimp 1 to 2 feet, then drop the rod and allow it to sink 4 to 5 feet. At the end of the drop, sharply twitch the rod upward, then allow the shrimp to fall again. Bites on these lures will come on the drop or the initial flick of the twist.
Through out its range, the spotted seatrout prefers shallow grass flats and deeper channels, cuts and canals often
requiring anglers to cross open, rougher water to get to them. There’s no better choice for a platform than the 1800 Bay Max by Tidewater. At 18-foot, 2-inches in length with a 92-inch beam, the 1800 Bay Max is a stable platform
that can anglers there and back in comfort. Weighing in at 1250 pounds and with a draft of 8 inches, its a true crossover boat, allowing anglers to explore backbays and flats with an optional trolling motor or slip offshore on those slicked off days. Even if things kick up, you’ll feel safe and secure with ample freeboard provided by its 171/2-inch cockpit depth.
The 1800 Bay Max is built with the same exacting standards as the rest of the Tidewater family including all-composite, no-wood construction featuring an all-fiberglass stringer system bonded to a hand-laid fiberglass hull, full-foam floatation and a self-bailing cockpit.
For more information on the Bay Max family of boats or the entire Tidewater line, visit tidewaterboats.com, call 803-732-7300
Original Source; Sportsmans Lifestyle.com