When coastal rivers and bays are in less-than-desirable condition, Daniels keeps his eye on the weather, looking for a day that will have winds less than 10 mph so he can make the 40-mile run from Long Beach Harbor to Freemason, North Island or Chandeleur.
Daniels (www.msfisherman.com) took advantage of a recent break in the weather and made the island run in his Blackjack 224 bay boat.
"Watch the weather," Daniels said. "This time of the year you will most likely have a narrow window to make the run."
This is a long haul over open water, so make sure you have a boat that will handle the trip. Also, it's not a run for first-timers trying out a new GPS; take a ride with a veteran island fisherman or hire a guide before venturing out on your own.
"On the ride out to Freemason I decided to stop and give it a try at North Island, which is about 7 miles north of Freemason," Daniels said.
According to Daniels, North Island is a marsh type island with a shallow flat on one side and a mud bottom on the other.
"We waded almost completely around the island before we found the fish," Daniels said. "We were in chest-deep water throwing plastics into 6 to 8 feet of water with a slow retrieve."
When wade-fishing, it's a good idea to spread out and keep moving until someone in the party catches a fish. Once a couple of fish have been caught, the other anglers can move closer and take advantage of the bite.
"The fish were in stained water on the inside edge of a tide line. That stained water was the key," Daniels said.
But when the bite slows, don't hesitate to pick up the anchor and move. According to Daniels, all of the islands in the area are conducive to wading.
Keep in mind, though, that a move can be a boom-or-bust proposition, Daniels emphasized.
"When the bite slowed down, we finished our run to Freemason to find crystal-clear water and no trout; luckily we had already picked up 42 nice ones at the first spot," he lamented.
Daniels is quick to point out that anglers shouldn't pass up a spot that looks a little murky when the water is gin clear because speckled trout mght very well be hiding in it to ambush bait.