, Port Arthur, Texas


July 9, 2014

Go “loud “for local reds and trout

PORT ARTHUR — Local waters are murky.

Let’s face it, we have the worst visibility of all bay systems in Texas, much of it due to two major rivers flowing into our ecosystem along with lots of erosion issues along the Intracoastal Canal.

That doesn’t stop the fish from biting but it can require a different approach to fishing, often a “loud” one.

Over the years local anglers have become accustomed to using a variety of lures that make sounds to draw in speckled trout and redfish

The most obvious and among the most popular are lipless crankbaits like the Rat-L-Trap which was developed in similar habitats in Louisiana.  By closely mimicking a shad and producing a solid rattling sound it allows fish to focus in on an audible target that happens to look legit.

“The number of big trout we have caught over the years on Rat-L-Traps was always overlooked. Most people thought of them as great for redfish but they are stellar for trout too,” said retired Sabine Lake guide Capt. Skip James.

James said trout tend to prefer the lure fished a little more slowly than do reds.

“Trout are more cautious than redfish and the big ones always like a little slower approach than reds or even small trout. For murky to semi-murky conditions a Rat-L-Trap can really help anglers score.”

Topwaters rarely come without some sort of sounding mechanism ranging from large ball bearings to tiny BB like rattles to accomplish a variety of pitch. Over the years I have come up with preferences for various species.

For redfish, high-pitched topwaters like the Bomber Saltwater Grade Walkie Talkie seems to get the best results.

With trout in murky water something with a medium or heavy ball bearing like the Mirrolure Top Dog or Rapala’s Skitter Walk gets the strongest results.

Bass fall into the same category for me with the heavier rattles earning more strikes than those in the higher range.

Perhaps the most productive of all audible fish attractants are popping corks. For years rigs like the Mansfield Mauler were king and although they are certainly still productive, there are far more options out there.

I have been using the Paradise Popper X-Treme, which almost exactly mimics the sound of a speck slapping at the surface. Rigged with a Gulp! Swimming Mullet on a fluorocarbon leader is it my number one go-to rig for finding specks and reds in the Sabine Lake area.

Steve Walko of Houston frequents Sabine Lake and his Texas Rattlin’ Rig is a killer for trout and reds.

“As the rig is popped, slurps and rattling sounds simulate surface feeding, flipping tails of baitfish, and the snapping of shrimp. This noise is a primary factor needed to attract the attention of Trout. Once their attention is captured, they instinctively react and are drawn toward the sound,” Walko said.

Walko said he came up with the concept because he wanted to be able to respond to the conditions on the Texas coast.

“We designed these rigs with the Texas coast in mind and they have been used time and time again on Galveston Bay and Sabine Lake. There are quite a few good rigs out there these days but I have great confidence in mine because it was tested where I fish.”

I grew up fishing here so it was a shock to go down to Lower Laguna Madre many years ago and fishing in perfectly clear water. I actually had to train myself to fish in clear water whereas anglers new to our area have to make amends for a lack of clarity.

Fishing is all about details and paying attention to the volume of your fishing can help you score big on Sabine Lake and surrounding waters.

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on

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    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on

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