Hefty speckled trout are no strangers to Capt. Adam Jaynes. On Feb. 8, the Orange, Texas, resident took several on Calcasieu Lake.
“They all ranged upward from 3 to 6 pounds,” the 28-year-old charter guide said.
But that afternoon Jaynes decided to slip on his waders and work some flats in a cove on the west side of the lake for even larger fish.
Wading is Jaynes’ favorite style of fishing for lunker specks, and he anticipated at least one good bite. An incoming tide worked in his favor.
“I saw this mullet jumping four times out of the water,” said Jaynes, who runs Just Fish Guide Service. “So I walked over to that area and started casting.”
Jaynes was throwing a Yo-zuri Crystal Minnow, and a fish hammered the lure on the angler’s second cast.
The drag on Jaynes’ reel sang a little as a silvery silhouette appeared just beneath the surface.
It didn’t take very long for the fish to find Jaynes’ Boga, which pegged its weight at just north of the 7 ¾-pound mark.
The angler released the trout after a few pictures, and Jaynes went back to working his lure.
Jaynes said the weather was a key part of spring fishing on Calcasieu Lake.
“The waters had just warmed up again after staying below 50 degrees for a while,” he said. “The fishing had been tough as a result.”
But Jaynes was seeing movement of baitfish again as temperatures rose.
“We had been catching trout ranging between 3 to 8 pounds before the very cold temperatures settled in,” he said. “With warming waters all week, we were back to catching them.”
And Jaynes’ tactics remain the same whether he’s fishing Calcasieu Lake or nearby Sabine Lake.
“Sure, there are all the usual locations likely to hold big trout, but the fish simply won’t be there if there are no baitfish in the area,” Jaynes said. “They just won’t be in the same traditional locations on any given day.
“You have to find these fish, and I will motor around looking for mullet movement. It’s always a plus when I can find slicks. ”
As for lures, Jaynes uses Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows, Egret Baits’ 4-inch Kick A Mullet Jr. and the Corky Fat Boy — each of which he works a little differently.
“All the hard baits I work are mullet imitators, and I use suspension plugs when I observe not much surface activity,” Jaynes said.“I retrieve the Kick A Mullet very meticulously, slow-rolling it, and let that rattling tail push water by swaying it back and forth. I’ll often count out the seconds — sometimes up to four, letting it fall and then working it with slow twitches.
“The Corky is one of those baits that you can have a tendency to overwork in cold waters, but it is also one that you can walk the dog with, as well.”
Unlike other anglers, Jaynes throws soft-plastic lures before throwing suspending plugs.
“I use plastics as locator lures to find speckled trout,” he said. “I am especially fond of Egret Baits’ 5-inch Wedgetail Mullets — especially the limeaid color.
“I’ll fish the Wedgetail on 1/8- or 1/16-ounce jigheads so it can fall slowly and easily be worked over shell and mud flats.”
When turning to hard baits, however, there’s one piece of equipment that shouldn’t be under-appreciated.
“If I have to add another very important tool when throwing hard baits for these fish, it has to be the rod,” Jaynes said. ”I use a Sarge Free Bird Custom, which weighs just 2 ½ ounces. Since it’s so light, I can feel the most-subtle taps or bites these big fish give, especially in cold water.
“You’ll end up catching more fish with lighter, sensitive rods than you do with others.”
The rest of Jaynes equipment consists of 30-pound FINS Windtamer braided line with a 4-foot-long leader of 30-pound Berkley Big Game monofilament. Including leaders adds stretch to prevent fish from pulling off on the strike and when making runs.