Tidelines – November 15, 2018
It’s been easy this fall to catch a trout, but not so easy to catch a big trout. Still, the prospect of an afternoon trip predictably comprised mostly of spikes didn’t dampen the spirits of Capt. Tim Disano, of Tideline Charters out of the Sunset Beach area.
Tim’s worked as a captain for other guides on their boats, but this is his first full year of guiding for himself, and his positive energy was obvious as he welcomed John Metzger (Fish Post weigh master) and me onto his boat tied up at the Sunset Beach boat ramp. He was clearly excited to be on the water that day, and we could tell right away that he loves taking people fishing and putting people on fish, but he especially loves getting his clients involved in the process.
During the short run to our first stop, some shoreline that leads to an area inlet, Tim’s enthusiasm for our trip came through, as he not only briefed us on the basic plan for the day—target some area trout holes during the higher tide stage by throwing nothing but artificials, and then work our way back to the boat ramp area for red drum opportunities at the lower tide—but he also went into detail on the “why” and the reasoning behind just about every part of the plan.
The tide was just starting to fall, so the current was very manageable as Tim put a Z-Man purple paddle tail on a 3/16 oz. jig head in Metzger’s hand, and then armed me with a Vudu purple shrimp.
Clearly purple was a theme, and when asked Tim replied (and I’m paraphrasing here because the actual answer went into much greater detail and lasted about 5 minutes), “I’m not completely sure, but I imagine in darker water it creates something of a shadow effect and draws more of a reactionary strike.”
Tim used the trolling motor to hold us in place, and Metzger took the bow while I threw off the stern to a deep bank of 7-9’ of water located by a drastic point corresponding to a feeder creek.
The instructions are pretty standard in this situation—cast close to the bank, and let the current pull the lure down the shoreline as you maintain just enough tension to feel the bite. Give the shrimp a quick jig here and there, a stop and pause, and work the paddle tail with a steadier retrieve.
Metzger was the better student at the start, pulling tight to a heavy fish, but a lack of head shaking paired with the fish diving straight back down to the bottom next to the boat gave Tim the suspicion that Metzger hadn’t found our target species. Still, the landing net came out, and soon Tim was scooping a flounder that was clearly over the 15” minimum.
“Who put a flounder in my trout hole?” Tim asked, as he measured the fish anyway, just to give us an official length at 18”.
This first stop along the shoreline, other than the flounder, was relatively quiet, so Tim drifted us down to another area along the bank, this one absent of a feeder creek but dotted with multiple indentations.
Even though neither the weather nor the water temperatures had turned anywhere near cold, apparently a slow presentation was what the trout here wanted that day. I paused my retrieve, letting my lure sit still in the water while taking a moment to tell a dumb story about a mutual friend, and when I started again, a strike came immediately.
The fish, as predicted, was a spike, but still the tell-tale thump of a trout bite is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
As it goes with a spike trout bite, there was certainly more than one trout in that hole, but as it also often goes with a spike trout bite, the majority of our fish were all the same size. Metzger and I found a few keepers, though, but when moving down the rest of the shoreline produced the same results, Tim decided it was a good time to move around.
We hit a spot headed into the Calabash area, another spot closer to the waterfront, and a third in the ICW, each providing some trout action (with a rat red drum here and there), but with an eye on the falling water, Tim wanted to get at least a few casts in at his red drum hole.
Tim’s trolling motor got us up into the shallow creek, and his dual Power-Poles held the boat exactly as he wanted. We were told to cast up and towards the bank and then let the current drift our baits across one of the only holes in the entire creek (a 2’ depth change), a perfect spot for red drum to ambush bait in the shallows on the down current side as baitfish wash out of the deeper water.
I was now throwing a white shrimp with a chartreuse tail hanging from a popping cork, a rig Tim put in my hand after I lost my purple shrimp to an oyster rock. At first I felt like I had been given training wheels as punishment for losing a rig, but the popping cork quickly produced, so I dropped any objection as I came tight to one of our biggest (but still modest) trout of the afternoon.
“Who put a trout in my red drum hole?” joked Tim, but Metzger and I just kept casting and hooking.
Capt. Tim Disano, of Tideline Charters out of Sunset Beach, will be catching speckled trout (and red drum) throughout the winter months, and the bigger fish are just now starting to show with more regularity. Or you can book him for the spring trout bite, as March/April is perhaps the best time of the year to try and find that citation speck.
For more information or to book your trip with one of the nicest guys in the business, give him a call at (910) 279-2020, or visit him online at www.tidelinecharterfishing.com.
Be warned, though. Tim will share with you as much knowledge as you care to hear while spending the day together on the boat, but you may learn more than you ever wanted to know about such topics as the theory of purple.