Good Vibrations — Spinnerbaits offer another option to catch speckled trout
When most anglers pick up a spinnerbait, they’re likely to be trying to catch redfish or bass. But these anglers know trout will also fall for the bladed baits.
Most saltwater versions of spinnerbaits use tail baits (plastics) as trailers. The usual rule of thumb applies — use darker colors in stained and muddy waters... and lighter colors in slightly stained or clear waters.
He, too, was surprised but not shocked, as the angler was working spinnerbaits for marsh reds — not trout.
The specks, however, bit steadily.
“That’s a good trout,” Chaumont said to me while admiring a fish that made him think it was a redfish at first. “What’s the matter with you? Never saw a trout caught on a spinnerbait before?”
All I could recall were the spinnerbait trout I caught while fishing for redfish in the 1960s and 1970s in the Holly Beach and Constance Beach surfs, the Calcasieu jetties, the Lake Pontchartrain old wooden trestles and the London Canal in back of UNO’s Lafitte Village.
I caught trout in those days on small H&H spinnerbaits. Most of these fish were small, barely keeper trout, and supplemented the plentiful redfish caught using the white or yellow skirts on the H&Hs.
"Well, Ken, if these work so well here — we should be able to catch them under birds and over reefs too!" I quipped.
We did eventually find and catch some fine marsh reds that day, but I couldn’t let go of the idea of using spinnerbaits for trout over the reefs and under birds.
I reasoned that if this, indeed, was no fluke occurrence then this surprising encounter could really change the way I would fish for speckled trout. After all, not only have I caught trout on the above-mentioned H&H spinnerbaits, plenty on Rat-L-Trap’s Spin Traps and Mann’s Little Georges, as well.
So Chaumont and I planned yet another two-days outing a week later — after he found more fish.
My cell chirped, and it didn’t take long to pack the camera and tackle and head over to my camp located 40 minutes away from Calcasieu Point Marina. Chaumont was on the trout, both on the reefs and under birds.
When I arrived at the launch the next morning, I made sure we started by casting Egret Baits’ Bayou Spins over a choice reef in Turner’s Bay.
I had a keeper on my third cast, and Chaumont sported a grin as wide as the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland.
"I told ya!" he said.
Chaumont also found several other respectable trout on that great reef.
The next morning we ventured west from the Prien Park Lake launch to Bayou D’Inde.
Birds were working this area, and we followed the edges of the channel by trolling westward and coming back against the current. Birds, trout, glass minnows and small shrimp were heading toward the Ship Channel at the mouth of the bayou.
This time, it was my second cast with the Bayou Spin that picked up a trout. Chaumont and I later boated a few others with spinnerbaits sporting both white/chartreuse and Cajun/pepper Wedgetail Mullets as trailers.
"A lot of people don’t think that trout will hit spinnerbaits," Chaumont said. "This is totally wrong, as you can see. So you can throw everything you thought you knew out the window — we’ve caught plenty now on the Bayou Spin using a thumper blade.
"It’s kind of like bass fishing;. you’re just throwing atop and along structure, and catching these trout."
Not surprisingly, however, he focuses his efforts on areas that have the most promise.
"In working spinnerbaits for both specks and reds, I have found that slow-rolling them in the marsh works well," Chaumont said. "Sometimes trout, as well as redfish, will pick them up on the shallow channels ledges leading from a marsh flat, and at other times these fish will hit them right where they enter the water on the marsh edges and points."
"The best way to find out is to look for gamefish and bait activity in the marsh and just throw them."
Gonzales’ Greg Hackney will be fishing his 11th Bassmaster’s Classic this month, Feb. 22-24 on the Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in Oklahoma. This Louisiana BASS professional has had 38 top 10 finishes, and earnings reaching toward $1.5 million. He has enjoyed three first place rankings in BASS tournaments.
Also, he is so good with a spinnerbait that Strike King developed the "Hack Attack Heavy Cover" spinnerbait with his assistance and in keeping with his nickname.
And he said spinnerbaits can be deadline on trout, as well as the bass and reds for which the lures are primarily marketed.
"I caught one of the largest speckled trout I have ever taken on a Strike King, double willow-leaf, ¾-ounce Bottom Dweller spinnerbait," Hackney said. "That trout measured 36- inches long, and I estimated that it weighed between 8- and 10- pounds."
But there is a trade-off to using blades for trout.
"I don’t get as many strikes when using spinnerbaits, but when I do — it’s usually a bigger trout since these fish feed more on baitfish than shrimp," Hackney said. "The big trout are looking for menhaden and mullet, and that spinnerbait looks more like a baitfish when it flashes than a shrimp."
Hackney has also taken good trout on Strike King’s Redfish Magic — a short arm, Colorado-bladed spinnerbait very similar to the Egret Bayou Spin version.
"When I go to Venice, I’ll use the Strike King Redfish Magic spinnerbait to locate trout," the pro angler said. "I’ll catch all sizes of trout on that one. But on the willow-leaf Bottom Dweller, I’ll catch larger ones."
He’s not hard-headed about sticking with the bladed baits, using them primarily to locate fish before he pounds on them with more-traditional lures.
"Once I locate trout with the Redfish Magic, then I’ll switch to a plastic and jighead, like the Strike King caffeine shad or the swimming caffeine shad," he explained. "Recently in Lake Pontchartrain, we caught 3- and 4-pounders on the regular shad. The fish there were all feeding on pogies."
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