SAB/Espiritu Santo Shell Dredge
We welcomed Derrick W. and guest wade fishing Brown Lures with Capt. Steve Boldt on Friday. Steve said the bite was really tough “but there for the taking”. Dredging oyster shell low and slow produced a soft bite with Brown Lure Devil Eyes using 1/16oz. Tru Loc jig heads.
Retrieving Success Wade Fishing Artificial Lures
What’s in a retrieve, the difference between success and failure. Winter fishing can produce some of the softest and most indistinguishable bites ever encountered. Steve said “at the end of the cast, you could feel the lure hitting on shell for a few feet followed a spongy sensation” The spongy sensation was a Trout picking up the bait. Steve mentioned that “giving them a little line to work with by dropping the rod tip and then setting the hook” produced fish, but was a little more complicated than we would like our guests to experience.
The “Ole Sidewinder”
I will never forget the time, back during the Troutmaster Tournament frenzy, when I was fishing with one of the Busha brothers and his son-in-law. Both were “beyond talented” fishermen and always did very well in the Tournament Series. We were looking for big Trout of course and I was using a typical yo-yo working the rod vertically. Mr. Busha was using this funky looking sideways sweeping retrieve working the rod tip just above the water line. In short order, Mr. Busha started putting a whooping on me. Being tractable, I started imitating the retrieve as it was the only variable. Sure enough, that was the ticket. We were throwing Bass Assassin’s at the time.
Proof’s On The Stringer
I went on to use that retrieve more often than not. I saw it’s efficacy and perfected it alternating between the classic “yo-yo” and the “ole sidewinder”. What I’ve seen many times is that a yo-yo retrieve seems best intercepting fish that are actively feeding. A sand eel imitation with a straight tail like a Sea Devil or Devil’s Eye will make quick work of these fish. During the active feeding encounter, I would often notice that the bite might disintegrate or slow down dramatically.
When I would encounter this slow down, I would switch to the “ole sidewinder”. My impression is that the fish are not actively feeding any longer or they’ve gotten wise to me. If you could lay a watch on the water, your belly button would be pointing at 12:00. The “ole sidewinder” starts at about 2:00 or 10:00 o’clock (depending upon whether you have a right or left hand retrieve) and sweeps horizontally and parallel to the water line from 2:00 to 5:00 o’clock or from the 10:00 to 6:00 o’clock position. You are essentially dragging the bait through the water horizontally while dredging it through the mud/grass or just above your structure. This produces a low water column retrieve and you can slow it down or speed it up as needed.
One thing about the “ole sidewinder” that I liked was holding the rod on the upper cork above the reel. It was like choking up on a bat and made for very comfortable grinding and lightning fast and lethal hooksets.
When I encountered a disintegrating bite on a lure like a Sea Devil, I would employ the “ole sidewinder” and switch lures to a paddle tail mullet imitation. The action on the paddle tail along with the “ole sidewinder” can take many “apparently dead end bites” and absolutely turn things back in your favor. The paddle tail gives the lure life and it also allows for varying retrieve speeds from “death crawl” to “smoke and roll”.
While I know varying retrieves such as this also has boat fishing applications. The focus here is most evident when wade fishing with these techniques. Different baits other than those mentioned will also find production with varying retrieve styles. I’ve even used the “ole sidewinder” with finesse baits like Corky’s. Try varying your retrieve from the vertical to the horizontal next time out, it’s one more tool in the box!
Duck Season Coming To An End
This is the last weekend of duck season here in Texas. We have opportunities available for Wing Shooting with us in Chihuahua, Mexico. If interested, contact me at your convenience.
Capt. Chris Cady absolutely smashed the Redfish today, pictures and details to follow!
Capt. Kris Kelley
Castaway Lodge, Inc.
109 W. Austin
Seadrift, TX 77983