In this excerpt from Trout Masters Too: How the pros do it, Capt. Charlie Thomason with Capt. Charlie Thomason’s Bayou Charters shares tips and tactics that can be used by trout anglers across the coast.
— Always keep your rod in the 11 o’clock position when reeling in fish. You need to let the rod do its work. If the rod is pointed at the fish when it is near the boat and the fish makes a run, it will pull the hooks. Keeping the rod up also keeps the head of the fish up for netting.
— Use Rejuvenade in your live well to handle ammonia. “We use the heck out of it,” he said.
— Always carry a 6-foot cast net and know how to use it. Sometimes live bait isn’t available for purchase.
— During the June to September period, add 10 pounds of ice to your livewell for every 20 gallons of water in it. It will keep live bait alive by lowering water temperatures and increasing oxygen levels. Shut off all intake valves to keep the system closed.
— Never mix live shrimp and live minnows in the same livewell. Minnows eat the legs off of shrimp. However, croakers and shrimp can be mixed.
— When Chinese tallow tree leaves begin to turn colors in the fall, it is a sign that speckled trout are beginning their movement into interior marshes from the outside.
— Stow a length of 1/8-inch wax-coated rope in your boat to replace a broken trolling motor release rope. “I see people all the time have to quit their trip because a trolling motor rope breaks,” Thomason said.
— Attach hard baits to the line with a loop knot to allow the lure to work naturally.
— Before spooling braided line on your reel, put one wrap of electrical tape on the spool to prevent the line from slipping.
— When positioning the boat to fish a spot, come in as quietly as possible, using a trolling motor. Ease the anchor down quietly, as well.
— Back the drags off fishing reels completely when storing them after a trip. If drags are left tight, impressions on the drag disks can be created, decreasing drag function.
— Every fourth trip, check the water in both your cranking and trolling-motor batteries. Use distilled water if topping off is needed.
— When fishing for trophy trout, use the 10-cast rule: If you haven’t caught a sizable fish by then in a prime location, move to the next spot, maybe not far away — but move. “When fishing regular trout, I use the five-cast rule,” he said. “I move a ton. I’m not going to hang out in a spot and wait for the fish to turn up.”
—Slow down. Don’t overwork either artificial or live baits. Be less aggressive and more methodical.
Learn more about how the best guides and anglers across the Louisiana coast catch trout day in, day out by purchasing the Trout Masters Tool Kit, which includes a special package price for Trout Masters: How Louisiana’s Best Anglers Catch the Lunkers and Trout Masters Too: How the pros do it.