Last week’s strong rains have dumped plenty of freshwater into Big Lake, but it really hasn’t slowed down the speckled trout bite so far, according to an area fishing guide.
“You look at the water and think, ‘How am I ever going to catch a fish today?’ But we’ve been catching fish in it,” said Capt. Nick Poe, with Big Lake Guide Service. “The fishing has actually been good.”
Poe - who joked that he hadn’t been able to see his trolling motor in a week - said he’s switched from his typical 1/4-ounce jighead all the way down to a 1/16-ounce in the dirty water.
“They’re still there and they’re still biting,” he said. “But in dirty water, you just have to keep in mind that they can’t see your bait as well, so you’re going to have to fish a lot slower, with a lot lighter lead head.
“You’re looking for that slow sinking presentation. Don’t do a lot of fast twitching or anything like that. Just barely bump it along the bottom - that way it stays in their line of sight longer. Right now, that 1/16 has been the ticket.”
Poe suggested trying any of the reefs in West Cove, as well as reefs down the east bank like Basket Reef and Commissary Point. Plan on sticking and moving, he said.
“If you get 15 on one reef, that’s a good stop — that’s a great stop,” he said. “You’re going to have to bounce around and fish hard. Usually we’re picking up three or four fish, but we’re picking up three or four everywhere we stop.
“It’s not fast and furious, but you’re steady catching fish all day.”
Poe also has had success using topwater baits like a Heddon Spook Jr. and the black MirrOmullet XL with an orange belly, and suspending twitchbaits like the black MirrOlure Soft-Dine with an orange belly.
Soft plastic-wise, he’s been using MirrOlure Lil Johns on the 1/16-ounce jigheads.
“Anything with chartreuse in it because the water is so dirty, you need something bright,” he said.
He landed his biggest speckled trout of the spring this weekend — a 27-inch 7 1/2-pounder — and he’s hoping the weather settles down heading into next month. In addition to specks, he said customers have been catching a mixed bag including redfish and flounder.
“May is usually excellent, if we can get the weather to cooperate,” Poe said. “It’s typically one of our best months.
“Even if it blows, if it would just blow out the same direction for a while, it doesn’t matter to me what it’s doing. As long as you can get some consistency to it, you can find fish in a pattern and you can come up with plenty of fish to make customers happy.”