Winter fishing pattern taking shape

Whenever we get through this roughest stretch of this season, we can expect the fish to have gone into full-blown winter patterns.

The best fishermen will find the balance between water temperature, rising or falling barometric pressure and hours of sunlight to determine where, when and how they’re going after bass, sac-a-lait, speckled trout and/or redfish.

It’s going to be difficult to predict this week’s action after recent conditions. Remember, it was warm, tidal ranges were good, and winds were mild going into Sunday afternoon when wind jumped ahead of the cold front that brought us the first back-to-back freezing overnight temperatures.

Conditions will be the determining factor, but know that even deep-water locations in the marshes produced fish in big numbers.

Weather

The second strong cold front of the week is scheduled to push through to the coast Friday night, and that means Friday’s 10-15 knot southeast winds will give way to 15-20 knot north winds into Sunday. We can expect rough nearshore conditions with what the Weather Service calls “very rough” inshore water surfaces through the weekend and 5-8 foot offshore seas.

Rain comes back into Friday’s forecast, and there’s a chance of rain Monday and Tuesday. It’ll be cold.

Freshwater

Points where deep canals empty into bayous provided the most action in the Atchafalaya, the Verret-Belle River system, and the marsh bayous and canals south of Gibson and Amelia.

Black/blue jigs-n-pigs worked, but so have short, bulky soft plastics. Smaller jigs on lighter lines attracted more strikes than larger, longer jigs on heavy line.

In clearer water, where duck seed continued to float on the surface, green pumpkinseed or watermelon-colored jigs with same-colored crawfish soft-plastic trailers worked on bass up to 4 pounds. There was more action in clear-water areas. Late Wednesday, water temperature in Bayou Pigeon at the Crossover Canal was 58 degrees.

The coast

Finding shell beds, rip-rap, pilings or piers near deep-water locations proved to be the best spots east and west of the Mississippi River, likely because these direct the sun’s warmth into the water.

Clear water helps, and that’s where problems arise: Constant winds have stirred up the bottom and moved so much water that clear water is at a premium.

One place that’s remained fairly clear is the Sulphur Mine Lake near Golden Meadow. The canals and bayous off the lake are clear and producing trout on black/green and purple/chartreuse H&H Cocahoe Minnows worked slowly on the bottom in deep holes and the deep bends in the bayous.

Most action east of the Mississippi River is coming on live bait and fresh shrimp under a cork over oyster beds and shell flats.