When August rolls around, Capt. Nick Poe pretty much has three locations on his mind to target speckled trout out of Big Lake: the beach, the Cameron jetties and the rigs near Johnson Bayou.

“There are still plenty of opportunities to catch fish in the lake,” said Poe, with Big Lake Guide Service. “But the weather dictates it. If we can get out there, that’s where we’re going to be. If we can’t get out there, we’ll be fishing the (Calcasieu) Ship Channel.”

When he targets the surf near Johnson Bayou or along Rutherford Beach, Poe likes to position his boat about a cast off the beach.

“I pull in and if I see the water is pretty, I get on the trolling motor and put it on half speed or so and just go. It’s power fishing,” Poe said. “Topwaters and jigs — as fast as you can get it in there and as fast as you can get it back out there. You hit a fish, drop the anchor and wear them out — at least that’s the plan.”

For Poe, the topwater bite doesn’t necessarily stop early in the morning. He favors a MirrOlure She Dog or Top Dog in chrome and chartreuse, chrome and blue or chrome and black.

“It strictly 100 percent has more to do with the water clarity than anything else,” he said of the topwater bite duration. “I really look for bait, mainly. If I can find the bait, I’ll just get in there and fish it. 

“The two things I’m really worried about are bait and water clarity. If the water is pretty all the way to the beach, then they’re there — it’s just a matter of finding them.”

Poe said he literally casts so his lure almost lands on the beach, then he works it into the shallow surf.

“I’m casting into about 4 or 5 inches of water, and a lot times that fish will be in 4 or 5 inches of water,” he said. “That’s why a topwater is so effective on the beach — just keep working it through the surf.”

If he’s jigging with MirrOlure Lil Johns on the beach in shallow water, Poe typically always uses a ¼-ounce jighead.

“Rarely if ever do I throw a ⅜-ounce jighead on the beach,” he said.

At the rigs near Johnson Bayou, Poe jigs with MirrOlure Lil Johns and the lightest jighead he can get away with.

“I like using a ¼-ounce jighead, but the tide may dictate different,” he said. “Opening night always and forever will be a great color. Chartreuse ice is another one we’ve been throwing a lot lately in petty water, and watermelon red glitter is another one.”

If he’s targeting specks at the Cameron jetties, Poe said he personally prefers an outgoing tide.

“But there are a lot of people who catch them on an incoming tide,” he said.

Jig-fishing is the way to go there, Poe said.

“You’re going to have strong currents at the jetties, so ⅜-ounce lead heads will be necessary at times,” he said. “I try to get about a cast off the rocks, but there are some spots at the jetties where I’m off a pretty good ways.

“I’m casting out toward the rocks and working it all the way back to the boat while maintaining contact with the bottom.”