Change it up for Success

The Daniels Bridge, better known as the “Little Bridge”, is probably the best kept secret fishing spot on the Outer Banks. I wrote a blog entry about this secret spot back in May but it seems that this is always a great place to discuss strategy.Daniels 2

My summers are usually spent on the piers and surf early mornings and evenings. The western bridges seem to always be my back up spots when the weather turns ugly on the beach and typically during the fall.

The weather was pretty nasty this past week with the remnants of Hurricane Joaquin beating up the ocean side areas so I thought this would be a great opportunity to renew this old standby.

I had heard speckled trout had been caught here over the past several day so I thought I would give it a chance.

I arrived on Saturday around mid-morning and found a handful of anglers fishing on the southwest walkway. Most were using standard bottom rigs and catching plenty of bottom fish and feeding the crabs.

I moved to my favorite spot and surveyed the water. Plenty of current and slight chop. The north wind was blocked by the bridge but the water moved freely under it. I found the water a little stained and even though it was quite cloudy, the sky was bright.

I started with a small lead head jig and dark plastic finesse. I focused on the top part of the column. After about thirty minutes and many casts without hits, I moved to a little heavier head. I wanted to move the lure a little lower and cover the mid and bottom of the water column – hoping the speckled trout were in one of these lower levels.

I fished both close and far. Covering as much water as possible – varying speed allowed me to cover all levels. Still no hits.

My next move was to change to a lighter color, larger head but continued to stay near the bottom of the water column.Jigs

The first cast produced several bumps then simple pulls. The lure combination found the level where the fish were. Now to just catch them.

I varied the retrieve speed and action and finally coaxed the speckled trout to bite.

Over the next 30 minutes, I caught six beautiful throwback speckled trout and lost several more.

So the key to today’s success was my ability to adapt to the conditions.  And not be afraid the change.  I tried several lead head weights, plastics and colors. I focused on near and far areas and finally the various levels in the water column.

I changed to meet the conditions and the prey cooperated.

So next time you find yourself “skunked” – try a little change. You might just find success.

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony