The smell of watermelon, or fresh-cut grass to some, is a great indicator that a slick is nearby. In case you don’t know what exactly I’m talking about: a slick is an oily or “glassy” looking area slightly lighter in color than the surrounding water. Kind of like if you’ve ever dropped a chip in the water and the oils float away from it. There is some debate about what EXACTLY is going on under the surface to create them but it’s most likely a predator fish, like trout, pouncing on bait. Biting the bait releases oily body fluids into the surrounding water. Or maybe it gets a little indigestion from eating too quickly, burps and tiny pieces of oily flesh are ejected into the water. Regardless of how they get there, these oils are lighter than the saltwater and float to the surface creating a slick.
This time of year, it’s a safe bet to assume that the majority of the slicks you see in your favorite spots are made by trout. That being said they are not the only ones. Reds, flounder, hardheads, and many other species can also create slicks.
Recognizing and reading slicks can be the difference between spending a long day practicing your casting and actually reeling in keepers. The smaller the slick the fresher. A larger slick usually means it is older but that doesn’t mean you should instantly dismiss it. The best case scenario is to come across multiple smaller slicks and active jumping bait in the same area.
But even in what should be a perfect storm of slicks and jumping bait you might have days when you stayed in a spot for what felt like hours with nary a nibble. Which begs the question “How long should I stand in an area with slicking activity before moving on?” Keep in mind that Trout, being predators, don’t like to sit still when feeding. For instance on a submerged grass bed, say 25 foot square area, it might take 15 to 30 minutes before you manage to get your lure in front of a fish in a way that looks tasty to her. But don’t waste your whole day just because of the slicks. If they aren’t biting, and you didn’t disturbed the area too much, you can always come back later in the day or on your next trip.
Remember if it smells sweet, it is probably made by feeding fish. If it smells bitter or fishy it most likely came from something dead or from a crab trap.
Check out this article by Boca Chica Bait Company for more…
Have fun out there and remember, make every trip a guided trip with MyFinFinder.