, Port Arthur, Texas

December 29, 2010

Try swimbaits for big specks

Chester Moore, Jr
The Port Arthur News

—   It was our second pass over this particular spot, a mud flat with scattered shell about 1/4- mile from the ship channel.

    Targeting Lake Calcasieu’s (Big Lake) big speckled trout Ken Chaumont and I patiently worked Stanley Wedgetail Mullets, a kind of swim bait at a slow pace.

    After what seemed like my thousandth cast, the rod nearly shot out of my hand and I was fighting a big speckled trout.

    The fish was 23 inches long and nearly 13 inches around, putting it close to six pounds.

    “That’s how winter trout fishing for the big ones goes,” Chaumont said.

    “You make lots of casts and cover lots of ground looking for the big ones and ‘bam’ you get one like that.”

    Chaumont a veteran of Big Lake and the tackle industry has helped develop this particular swimbait into a big trout catcher and said swim baits are set to take over the saltwater scene.

    “They have been the thing for trophy bass fishing for awhile now and have been red hot on Texas lakes like Falcon and Choke Canyon,” he said.

    “Now we’re starting to get some real interest from the saltwater scene from those guys looking for really big trout. Our Wedgetail design gives this particular lure action like no other.”

    Swimbaits are essentially soft plastic crankbaits that allow anglers to cover lots of water and fish with a simple retrieve to target big fish. Most major tackle companies have some sort of swimbait on the market now ranging from the foot-long $40 rainbow trout mimicking Castaic Lures to more affordable fare like the Yum Money Minnow.

    “Swimbaits have bee invaluable for me fishing on Lake Falcon,” said 2008 Bassmaster Classic winner Alton Jones.

    “They will get big fish when other baits don’t seem to get the job done. I have seen big fish get up and follow a big swimbait when they seemingly get lockjaw in clear water.”

    This time of year mullet are the primary food source for speckled trout particularly the big specks which will feed under big rafts of mullet on water bodies like Big Lake and Sabine Lake.

    With a slow metabolism due to low water temperatures trout may only feed one big mullet a day so being able to mimic that bait source accurately is a huge advantage.

    The great thing about using swimbaits instead of typical winter producers like slow-sinkers is you can cover ground a little more quickly and do not have to deal with the monotony of throwing and essentially letting your lure sink and repeating the process.

    Anglers should not expect to catch trout after trout on these lures but this time of year that is not the game plan.

    Disciplined anglers know making lots of casts over the right habitat can equal the biggest trout of the year. More and more are borrowing for bass anglers and using swimbaits to make this happen and seeing some impressive results.