If you’re looking to catch the biggest trout of your life, now is the time.
The spawn kicked off with the full moon in April and continues for the next several months. While the few days before and after the full moon are considered prime time, don’t overlook throwing a big topwater lure anytime you are on the water. The April full moon is on the 30th, and May’s full moon is on the 29th. Therefore, the beginning and ending days of the month should provide great action and the chance to catch a speckled beast.
The good news is kayaks are great platforms to pursue trout with topwater lures. The low profile makes it easy to get close to and move with the schools of bait where the trout are hanging out. Rafts of mullet and pogies are usually a sure bet that trout are shadowing them along the edges of the bait school. Working the lure from the low profile, seated position of the kayak aids in not spooking the bait — or the trout.
There are literally hundreds and hundreds of topwater lures available, but choosing one is not that difficult. If you are new to topwaters, buy a name brand, quality lure with hooks made for strong saltwater fish. Reds hit top water plugs too, so you want something that can hold up to an unexpected redfish strike.
Colors are often more attractive to fishermen than fish, but you can’t go wrong with the more subtle, natural baitfish colors. Topwater baits come in either silent, or a variety of rattling pitches. Arm yourself with a small variety of colors, sizes and sounds and you are set for some true heart-stopping action.
Walk the dog
Presentation is important, and you can’t go wrong with the universally popular ‘walk-the-dog’ retrieve. The action is imparted by the rod rather than the reel. Rhythmic twitching while simultaneously taking up line takes a little time to master, but once you do, it becomes second nature. Once perfected, the lure swims in a side-to-side cadence that trout just cannot resist. Working the lure from the seated position in the kayak is easy, but rods with short handles work best.
Anywhere you find them, trout hit topwater lures. However, your best bet for the big spawners are the larger lakes and areas closer to the coast. The beaches and jetties on Grand Isle are prime spots, as are the oyster reefs in Big Lake. The shorelines and grass beds of Lake Pontchartrain are usually great, but this year’s early opening of the Bonnet Carré Spillway has the water dirty and fresh, and any trout action will likely only be in the eastern-most reaches.
If you’re fishing near the beaches or other hard bottom, don’t be afraid to get out and wade. You’ll eliminate extra noises like hull slap that can easily spook big trout. Stake out or beach the ‘yak and slowly walk along, pay particular attention to current lines, sandbars and the movement of any baitfish.
Wait on the hookset
As amazing as it is, working your lure along the outer edges of the bait schools produces results. Why they pick a hard plastic plug over the hundreds of live baits is a mystery, but a welcome one. Don’t cast in the middle of the bait school or you’ll spook them and turn off the bite. When the trout hits, your natural reflex is to set the hook. However, this often ends with a missed fish. Wait until you feel the weight of the fish before setting the hook. If a fish misses the strike, there are two methods to draw a subsequent hit. One is to leave the lure still as if it is injured, and often the trout returns for a kill shot. The other is to speed up the retrieve as if the lure is trying to flee. This oftentimes triggers a reaction strike. It’s hard to tell which works best on any given day, so you’ll just have to try both.
If you have never fished a topwater lure, tie one on and use it until your arm falls off. One explosive strike is all it takes to turn you into a believer. Most fishermen would rather catch two fish on topwater than 10 fish using any other method. Yes, it’s that much fun.