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8.5 lbs and 28"

PostPosted:Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:33 am
by TroutSupport.com
Yesterday at 2pm. In a location that I'd all but forgotten about. Buddy of mine, Claytom Thomas, suggested we head over there. It's shallow rocks and mud and it was almost 2 pm by the time we got over there. We decided to take the long walk along the shoreline so as not to blow out the area we wanted to fish. About 100 yards into our shoreline walk to get there some ******* drives his cat boat right up to the shoreline and starts throwing a cast net for mullet. LOL. They were drunk drunk drunk too. We walked on past another 100 yards to where we wanted to fish. Just enough bait activity to make it worth while. This was also the perfect scenario to use the GrassWalker. We were casting to shallow rocks in about 12 to 18 inches of water and the fish were right behind them. Earlier in the day I was throwing a DD XL.. a new bait out by Lowel Odem and the custom corky gang.. I scored a nice fish on it on some deeper rocks low 20" fish, I also caught 5 trout on the GrassWalker out there as well. But here, we both had to use GrassWalkers. I really like the bone diamond one, I can use that thing up and down the Texas Coast and catch fish on that color whether its flats or oyster or worm rock or jetties. Anyway, the fish were situated behind rocks utilizing wind driven current to push bait over their heads and ambush as it come across the top of them. About 5 minutes into our wade I get thumped and set the Hook!!! She comes up shaking her head and peeling drag.

Let's talk about how to fight a big trout while we're at it. And I'm not talking about 18" so called gator trout like some people call them in florida when they're trying to market themselves to people that don't know anything, I'm talking about the big girls... 25" and better and especially 28" and up. There's been podcast of so and so talking about fighting certain fish with a certain part of the rod blah blah blah... but a big trout you fight with the reel. Specifically with the drag. And many times we see reds being fought with a reel down the line and pull tactic. That is not the best method if you really want to land a big trout. Keep the rod up, but don't pump it. Adjust your drag so if they run they can pull out as much line as they want when they want. You want a reel with a smooth drag that the fish can pull out smoothly. Why, because you don't want to tear that hole from the hook any bigger than it is on its own. Keep steady reeling pressure on the fish when it's not taking line but keep the rod up and don't pump it to take up line like we see bill fish or big game anglers do. Just keep the rod up and reel when she's not taking line. This way the you're not putting more tugs on that mouth skin that you don't have to. Rod up, Steady Reel; fight her with the drag. When she comes in to you, don't be in a rush to net or put the boga on her, take your time, and let her get past being green. If you try to net her when she's green she's going to surge and maybe get the hooks in the net, just let her play out. Once you get her too you and either net her or put the boga on her, keep her head in the water as much as possible. Lift her to weigh her and take picture and only if you have to work on her to get the hook out.

28" 8.5 lbs on Bone GrassWalker (I've got a 30.25 PB in length, but she was skinny from the summer).
Good luck Guys!

Re: 8.5 lbs and 28"

PostPosted:Sat Mar 30, 2019 2:42 pm
by kickingback
Very nice sow Tobin! Thanks for posting and sharing some fishing expertise! :clap:

Re: 8.5 lbs and 28"

PostPosted:Sat Mar 30, 2019 3:51 pm
by Crusader
Nice one, dude!

Re: 8.5 lbs and 28"

PostPosted:Sat Mar 30, 2019 4:56 pm
by FingerMullet
What a beautiful trout! That Bone Diamond color is awesome!


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Re: 8.5 lbs and 28"

PostPosted:Sun Mar 31, 2019 12:04 am
by Ron Mc
honking fish

Re: 8.5 lbs and 28"

PostPosted:Sun Mar 31, 2019 4:36 am
by karstopo
Beauty, good tips on fighting big trout.

Re: 8.5 lbs and 28"

PostPosted:Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:42 am
by Ron Mc
Any time your rod is up, you're fighting with the tip of your rod, and that's great for absorbing shocks from power turns and head shakes (fighting from the reel is a low rod) - but yes, light drag set on big trout is important, and of course Tobin is right about minimizing risk of a mouth tear-out on big trout.

Re: 8.5 lbs and 28"

PostPosted:Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:29 am
by Drifting Yak
Another nice spec Tobin - Congrats!
Question: I've been searching but can't find much on how to properly handle a big girl like that. Have read that you can mess with their internal organs if you put too much pressure on the belly area (say from cupping your hand there while taking a photo) but really nothing beyond that. So how do you properly handle/hold a gator trout when you're doing CPR? Just want to make sure we're doing everything we can to help them survive after the release.

Re: 8.5 lbs and 28"

PostPosted:Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:55 pm
by TroutSupport.com
Ron Mc wrote:Any time your rod is up, you're fighting with the tip of your rod, and that's great for absorbing shocks from power turns and head shakes (fighting from the reel is a low rod) - but yes, light drag set on big trout is important, and of course Tobin is right about minimizing risk of a mouth tear-out on big trout.



Yes Ron, but the main thing is that the angler does not want to pump the rod. Yes, let the tip work and absorb, but also the reel is key. Yes, I 'm sure others use the terminology 'low rod / fighting with the reel', but that is not what I'm laying out here. So many will pump the rod to pull, using the rod like a lever, then reel down to take up line and that is not optimal. The angler should keep the rod tip up and only reel to take up line while the rod remains high. The rod stays up and stationary. When an angler lowers the rod to reel in many times they do not reel with enough pressure and there is a reduction in tension (if only for a second). Keeping the tip high and not pumping allows the tip to do work yes, and leaving it high and not pumping it applies consistent pressure on the fish (not less pressure, then more pressure etc etc. ). You want consistent tension and the best way to do that is rod high and not pumped, keep it high and reel when the fish isn't peeling line off.

Re: 8.5 lbs and 28"

PostPosted:Sun Mar 31, 2019 4:24 pm
by Ron Mc
Got it - definitely caught both reds and jacks that wouldn't budge at some point without pumping.
I can see the same effort opening a big hole in a trout membrane.

Re: 8.5 lbs and 28"

PostPosted:Sun Mar 31, 2019 4:26 pm
by TroutSupport.com
Drifting Yak wrote:Another nice spec Tobin - Congrats!
Question: I've been searching but can't find much on how to properly handle a big girl like that. Have read that you can mess with their internal organs if you put too much pressure on the belly area (say from cupping your hand there while taking a photo) but really nothing beyond that. So how do you properly handle/hold a gator trout when you're doing CPR? Just want to make sure we're doing everything we can to help them survive after the release.


Great Question Yak. I like to keep them as vertical as possible. I'd like to stop using the holding implement while taking the pic, but sometimes I'm in a rush to release them. I think the best is with two hands to get that leverage off their neck. One hand under and just front of the pectoral fins, the other just in front of the anal fin. I think it's ok to push the tail portion up or out a little but I dont like to get them horizontal any more with all the weight of the front on neck with a boga. I know my photo looks like it's horizontal but it's quite vertical in actuality. Holding the horizontally It's too much pressure on the back bone behind the neck. I appreciate your question about how much pressure to put on the belly portion. I like to keep my hand towards the rear of that belly area. I don't like fish grips for releasing big trout; they tear huge holes in the mouth of the fish where boga or boga like implements tend not to tear a big hole. This is actually important. In order for that fish to breath after the release they open their mouth to take in water, and close it to force water out the gills. If they have a huge HOLE in their mouth due to a holding device it doesn't help them survive. The device doesn't have to be a boga either... I bought the little $12 one at Bass Pro and honestly I love it. It does't have a scale but that's fine with me. I don't have the sort of $ that I can throw $$$ at a boga. I'm not sure I like the bags either, but the bag is probably better than an ordinary stringer. I'm testing a special stringer right now made by fish-hide to see if it's something I like. I need more time with it. I held a fish on it the other day and she swam away strong. But sometimes there is nothing you can do; sometimes they won't revive. I couldn't revive a big fish from last year and I tried for nearly 30 minutes. I think sometimes mentally they still think they are caught, and just give up.. but who knows.

Back to caring for fish.. once I have the holding device in the mouth of the fish I try to keep her head in the water as much as possible while I get ready to unhook her. I think too many keep her out of the water looking at her and handling her. Yes the gils still transfer oxygen while she's out of the water and wet, but I think keeping them in the water is super important. Perhaps i'm reaching for pliers, I keep her head in the water, then lift her momentarily to get the hook out, then put her back in the water and lead her around. Then take a pic and get ready to release her. When I think she's ready I'll hold her tail and release the holding device and just hold her there stationary and let her 'gil' no need to drag them backwards. When she tries to tail flick I know she's ready. That's something I have to credit Capt. Cisneros for, you want to release them strong.

Things I haven't implemented that I probably will... I might be looking into a net soon. I hate wading with more and more gear but it takes too long to boga or lip grip these fish. They just have to tire more in order to get that implement into their lip. The greener they are when you get them into the net the better they will release. That's about all you can do.

I will also say that another part of good conservation is releasing fish you don't have to keep. A large part of the spawning biomass from trout comes from 18" to 24" trout, not just the big females. Keep a few to have for fresh dinner, but it's time we get past the limit stringer or deck shot. I've been down in Baffin for 2 weeks and I haven't kept a single fish. It's ok to keep some fish, I'm not vehemently opposed to that, but as we grow as anglers keeping the full 5 just to take a picture isn't as worth what it used to be. The high is in the experience of catching the 5 or 10 or what ever the limit is. Yes, everyone likes to show proof but at some point we get past that and I'll try to take a pic of each fish before releasing them. Honestly I'd rather eat black drum or smacks any way; Flounder are in trouble tho... LOL, they're tasty.

Re: 8.5 lbs and 28"

PostPosted:Sun Mar 31, 2019 4:29 pm
by TroutSupport.com
Ron Mc wrote:Got it - definitely caught both reds and jacks that wouldn't budge at some point without pumping.
I can see the same effort opening a big hole in a trout membrane.


Absolutely... those fish are totally different story and I totally agree.

Re: 8.5 lbs and 28"

PostPosted:Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:10 pm
by Tlump10
Nice fish and good information! Thanks for sharing.

Re: 8.5 lbs and 28"

PostPosted:Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:28 pm
by Drifting Yak
Thanks for the info Tobin. Can't wait to get one of the big girls....and release her properly! :mrgreen:

Re: 8.5 lbs and 28"

PostPosted:Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:09 am
by shoffer
And that's how it's done, gents. Nice job, Tobin. Thanks for the great post and report.

Re: 8.5 lbs and 28"

PostPosted:Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:25 am
by Dandydon
Ditto from the Dandy Don! Tobin is the Trout-Master. He learned a lot when we fished together (ha ha). Keep up the terrific reports!
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