The tackle I use may be slightly different from yours, but these details made the difference for me.
I'm not big on brands and I hate BS marketing.
I prefer things like specifications, numbers, items I can measure.
Because then I can be factual and get down to the nitty-gritty of how a thing really performs.
But at the end of the day, people want to know what I use.
So here it is in a nutshell:
- St. Croix Avid-X AXC64MXF
- Daiwa Tatula 100 8.1:1
- 12lb Seaguar Red Label Fluorocarbon
- Matrix Shad soft plastics and jigheads
And here is the longer explanation:
Winter Jigging Combo for Speckled Trout
During the winter I use a specific combination of tackle to help me achieve a great presentation to speckled trout.
What's a good presentation for cold weather?
A soft and slow fall.
Water temperature is low during winter, ranging from the low 40s to mid 50s.
In the realm of inshore fishing, that is cold.
This influences the metabolism of speckled trout and causes them to slow down.
They're not going to pursue a fast-moving bait, but one that is easily caught in front of them.
So a soft and slow fall is a great presentation to match the conditions.
The Tackle I Use to Achieve This Soft Presentation
What I use isn't just a rod and reel, but consists of a rod, reel, line and lure combination.
I just wanted to be clear.
Short and Light Rod
You need a rod for jigging, and jigging calls for a lot of casting and working of the lure.
This means fast motions up and down, like what you see in this video.
The best solution is using a shorter rod. Because there is less rod, there is less weight.
In this video I am using a rod that is 6'2". (Sorry guys, it was custom made and they aren't available for purchase. Otherwise I'd hook it up!)
Too Short? Yes, a shorter rod weighs less, but that doesn't mean it's better.
The drawback with going shorter is losing your ability to quickly take up slack.
You can't achieve good hook sets if your rod isn't taking slack out of the line.
- Longer rods remove more slack, faster.
- Shorter rods remove less slack, slower.
Short rods can be hard to come by.
Few anglers buy short rods, so why should rod companies produce them?
So, for the reasons listed, a rod that is 6'6" is the general "best" solution.
But, you should also know that St. Croix makes sub-6'6" rods in their Avid X line.
The Avid X AXC64MXF is 6'4", medium power and extra fast action, also great for speckled trout. My fishing confidant Ben uses one and has been happy with it.
This is easy. Just like the rod, you want a light reel.
Something in the 50-100 range is fine and should generally weigh under 7 ounces.
Anything heavier will wear you out.
I've experimented with a few different reels and really like Daiwa's Tatula 100 in an 8.1:1 gear ratio.
It's light, smooth and holds plenty of line for my wintertime jigging purposes!
I use a high-speed retrieve, 7.5:1, for quickly taking up slack.
12lb Seaguar Red Label Fluorocarbon is my first choice.
I have great reasons for doing so:
- casts smoother than braid
- more sensitive than monofilament
- great abrasion resistance
- sinks in the water
Braid casts like crap. I've used $30 100-yard spools of the best name-brand braid and it all eventually performs the same.
I'm not saying braid is a bad fishing line.
It's merely another tool in the toolbox, that I use for other applications.
Monofilament floats. I like to use something that sinks to get that smooth, slow fall.
With fluorocarbon, I can use a lighter jighead because it sinks.
Superior Presentation From my experience, over the the winter of 2016-2017, an 1/8oz jighead paired with 12lb fluoro outperformed a 1/4oz jighead with braided line.
Despite casting at the same spot, using the same technique with similar rod/reel combos, the fluorocarbon and light jighead consistently got more bites.
For soft plastics I use Matrix Shad.
For different reasons but mostly because they kick ass.
Lemonhead is the color I usually start with regardless of where I am fishing.
For jigheads I use the Goldeneye series, ranging from 1/8oz to 1/2oz, depending on water depth and speed.
Note: One of the biggest reasons anglers don't catch fish, especially in water 8ft deep or more, is because they choose the wrong sinking weight for their lure. Watch this video to learn how to do this correctly!
This winter jigging combo for speckled trout has worked for me and I'm confident it will work for you!
Hopefully I saved you time and money looking for a great jigging combo, and you get to have fun using it on the water.
Tight lines, y'all.