, Port Arthur, Texas


June 4, 2014

Try shrimp for Sabine summer specks

PORT ARTHUR — Studies by numerous institutions, most notably Louisiana State University, have shown super-sized trout feed mainly on finfish like mullet.

If your preference however is to catch a bunch of eating-sized trout live shrimp or lures that mimic it is key.

Live shrimp of course is impossible to beat and rigging it simply under a popping cork under the birds or on a free-line it can be deadly.

I like fishing it with a free-line with a 1/8-oz split shot rigged above a wide-gapped hook and pitch it against the walls of the Sabine Jetties. If you can get past the sheepshead, you can score on some serious specks.

This rig is also great under green lights at night in the channel and works well when fished around docks and riprap in the channel.

During summer, everything is on the move with the rafts of shad on the lake and shrimp so it can pay to work a shrimp imitation super-fast.

“I used to tell my clients to throw out their lure and reel it in as fast as possible. To get the attention of those schooling trout working it with no kind of action and staying up toward the surface makes a big difference especially early in the morning,” said retired guide Capt. Skip James.

James likes a DOA shrimp in glow/chartreuse or clear gold glitter rigged on a ?-ounce jighead with the built-in weight removed.

“During summer I fish it as is most of the time but I sometimes fish it on a straight jighead,” he said.

James said shrimp near the surface push the bite button on trout like nothing else.

“It just drives them crazy,” he said.

Many times trout will feed heavily on shrimp and corral them against a shoreline.

A few years back I found trout feeding on trapped shrimp in an eddie along a stretch of shore between Willow and Johnson Bayou, I had passed up many times This shoreline tends to form eddies on tides on incoming tides around cuts, but they are usually small and filled with flounder. Because this location had several small cuts and major changes in topography, it formed a large eddie that is one giant pot of seafood gumbo for marauding specks.

On the Sabine River near my home, we catch many schooling trout with the DOA shrimp by simply pulling it across the surface. My cousin Frank Moore and I simply throw out the lure and reel. Schooling trout will literally jump out of the water striking at the lure.

“We started using the shrimp on the surface thing with the bass we catch in brackish water. You’ll see these bass chasing shrimp all over the bayous. There is shad everywhere that they feed on but when there are shrimp around, they find themselves the focus on largemouth fury,” Moore said.

He noted when he first started taking the technique to trout he made the mistake of fishing the lure too slow.

“With the bass they like a medium retrieve but with the trout the faster the better. You don’t want to burn it in but it needs to move fast enough to get the trout’s attention. It’s almost like when they see a shrimp they go crazy.”

Whether your shrimp is real or faux it can lead to serious numbers of speckled trout in the Sabine system during the summer. Get you some shrimp and start catching specks.

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

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From the Fieldhouse blog