Gerard Caswell was looking forward to his first speckled trout trip to Big Lake for the New Year.

After all, the 54-year-old Eunice attorney's previous attempts had been stymied by the rainy weather and holidays, leaving Sunday (Jan. 6) as the first available opportunity for him to hit those fabled speckled trout waters.

Although the forecast promised a sunny morning, Caswell and his friend, Wayne Vidrine of Ville Platte knew they would also find murky waters and windy conditions.

The forecast was foreboding, with northerly winds predicted to gust upwards of 20 knots.

But they were determined to get out there and fish.

"When we arrived and I looked at the waters, I knew fishing for speckled trout was about out of the question," Caswell said. "The waters were so churned up and chocolate, and even Basket Reef had foam on top."

So the anglers decided to head toward areas near the Grand Bayou weir, and there they struck red, spotted gold.

"There was not another boat out there, and the water was pushing out of the weir pretty strong," he said.

Noting birds picking in the eddies southeast of the weirs, Caswell anchored the legal distance from the structure, and he and Vidrine began casting 3-inch pearl Gulp! Minnows.

Just as soon as the baits reached the water, the anglers had a double on.

"It was incredible, and the fish were big," the angler said. "We kept getting doubles for the first few casts, but we experienced difficulties fighting the fish, handling the net and fighting the current — doing all three with a rod in one hand and a net in the other.

"So we decided to take turns so we could help each other out. Wayne would cast and catch a fish as I netted, and then I would cast and he would be the netter."

Throughout the morning, Caswell and Vidrine scored on over 40 redfish ranging from 22- to 34- inches.

"We kept releasing fish after fish all morning to get to our limits of five fish under 27 inches," he said. "We finally ended up with 10 fish at 22 to 26 inches by late morning."

With redfish that size, anglers would have expected long runs with drags screaming, but not so, Caswell said.

"I was fishing with mono at 12 pounds, and even so the fish would only immediately take drag, he said. "I think they would tire quickly from fighting that current in coming to the net, as well as the usual lethargy from the cold waters."

Leaving the area at 11 am, Caswell and Vidrine motored all the way upwind to Calcasieu Point.

"The weather was even nastier, and the whitecaps were quite ominous," he said. "I had to move very carefully at safe speeds even in my Blackjack 22-footer. And, we observed only one other boat on the way back heading toward the weir from Hebert's Landing."

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