Slidell's John Falterman Jr. looks forward to March, April and May when he has his eyes on the prize of larger speckled trout.

"I'll start by trolling MirrOdines and work the Lake Pontchartrain trestles on the east, as well as the Causeway Bridge on occasion," the guide said. "Most of my trolling is done at the trestles, since it is near my home where we manage to catch some real good trout.

Falterman will usually use a trolling rod up front and pull blue/silver lures, whereas he will have a couple of plugging rods in the back tugging pink and black/gold versions.

He slowly trolls parallel to the trestle pilings and work perpendicular to the wind-driven or tidal flow.

"This technique has been effective for catching larger trout that hit the baitfish on these structures in Lake Pontchartrain," he explained.

Other MirrOdine colors he will drag for bigger trout include blue/silver and black/gold, and he'll even turn to 3/4- and sometimes 1-ounce Rat-L-Traps on the trestles.

A favorite topwater he uses is the bone/orange throat Bomber Badonk-A-Donk, which he will fish when he sees surface action in the Irish Bayou area, Lakeshore Estates, the Chalmette Wall, the MRGO rocks, Lake Borgne and the Biloxi marsh.

"My clients who don't use topwaters will be fishing sinking Berkley Gulp! and Matrix baits," Falterman said. "But when I see swirls on top, I'll cast the Badonk-A-Donk, and it has produced some really respectable trout for me."

Falterman said hard plastic topwaters and suspending plugs just seem to entice a larger trout to bite.

"They seem to get intimidated with that bigger bait," he said.

Of course, Falterman will use plastics, as well, and cites the same advantages and disadvantages as Big Lake's Capt. Adam Jaynes.

"I can say that, on the average, topwater baits will produce larger trout than plastics," Falterman said. "But they are also more expensive, and you have to be careful of not losing them to deepwater hang-ups, such as all that submerged structure below the trestles.

"With the (soft) plastics, they are relatively inexpensive and can account for larger fish with the way we use them here — especially along the trestles and Causeway."

Soft-plastic Matrix lures fished on 3/8-ounce jigheads are the bait of choice when cold weather drives trout deep.

Another advantage of using plastics is that they're easier to work than hard-plastic topwaters and suspending lures, said Falterman.

Editor's note: Capt. John Falterman Jr. can be reached at Therapy Charters at 985-649-3474.