Capt. Jared Adams said now is the time to be fishing Calcasieu Lake for the huge trout for which the Southwest Louisiana water body is known.
Adams, who owns Adams Trophy Charters out of Hackberry, said his clients already have racked up some impressive fish this season.
But you have to be ready to ditch your boat.
“When (big trout) hear a boat slap or anything, they just ease down the bank,” Adams said.
He said wading is the way to go, a lesson he learned after clients out of Texas insisted he take them wade-fishing.
However, these big fish are very cagey.
“Even wading, 90 percent of the fish we catch come on the last 10 feet of our casts,” Adams said.
That means this isn't a numbers game.
"You're not going to catch 60 to 100 fish, but you're going to catch 15 to 20 good ones," Adams said.
Think wade-fishing isn't necessary? Adams pointed to his Feb. 2 charter during which Houston's Peter Landry landed a 10-pounder.
He said the key to consistently catching trophy trout is understanding where these big trout live. And that doesn’t always mean shell reefs.
“Right now, the soft mud bottoms are where you want to be,” Adams said. “These big trout are like shrimp: Whenever it gets cold they’ll bury themselves in the mud.”
That will change within the next month or so.
“Come March or April, when they get ready to go into the spawn, they’ll be around those shell bottoms,” the guide said.
“What you’re looking for is the major and the minor feeding periods,” said Adams, whose charter service racked up 51 trout topping 8 pounds last year between March and the end of May. “That major feeding time or minor feeding time is generally when those big fish will eat.”
Of course, wade fishing means you can’t cover a lot of water, but Adams said that’s actually a good thing because you are forced to fish methodically and can make repeated casts that can drive fish to grab a bait — even if a feeding period hasn’t come round yet.
“You can throw it over one only so many times before it will hit the bait,” Adams said.
Best lures include topwaters like Skitterwalks and Super Spooks, and slow-sinking jerk baits like Corkys, Adams said.