There aren’t many activities that would lure otherwise sane middle-aged men to the swamps when the rest of the state is asleep. Frogging is one of them.
“Cuz, you should have been here yesterday,” is the phrase with which I’m most frequently greeted upon my arrival. Such was the case at Calcasieu Lake this week. However, strong north winds and funky feeling fish couldn’t stop Captain Nick Poe all day long.
Poe, a McNeese State student and the son of Captains Jeff and Mary Poe with Big Lake Guide Service (337-598-3268), has been on Big Lake nearly every day of his summer vacation, and he has found the fishing to be excellent the last few weeks.
“The lake finally calmed down some because the wind has finally laid down a little bit,” said Poe as I jumped into his boat with Poe’s fellow McNeese State student Kristin Fry. “Trout were jumping out the water yesterday, and you could see the baitfish flicking around everywhere you looked.”
Trout have been so active at Calcasieu Lake that they have been seen and heard tailing around and spawning in shallow water. They have been seen slowly cruising by bay boats. And they have been seen 15 at a time as limits have been brought back to the dock.
However, Calcasieu Lake didn’t look calm this morning. In fact, the wind started rebelling as soon as Poe got the words out of his mouth. A strong north wind that followed this week’s late season cold front began pushing up a moderate chop out in the open water.
We began throwing topwaters over shallow flats on the west side of the main lake, but it was immediately evident that the trout weren’t interested in the least. A quick move to Turner’s Bay and one solitary flounder only solidified the evidence that the fish were in a funky mood.
“They’ve got to bite sometime today,” Poe said as we stored our gear for a trip down to Nine-Mile Cut. “Dad just called and said he caught a 5-pounder, so we’re going to go check to see what’s going on down there.”
Poe’s phone rang as we closed in on Jeff Poe’s boat. It was Jeff telling us that the bite had already shut down. Of the boats in the lake Thursday morning, several had one fish here and two fish there. As some moved offshore to fish the beaches and rigs, Nick Poe turned his back toward Turner’s Bay.
As we continued to push, past locations and possible hot spots began to crowd Poe’s mind. After noticing that the wind was finally beginning to lay down, he made the decision to run back south. A good guide can’t be kept down for too long. This was the decision that finally put us on some trout.
A big group of birds picking over some shrimp had gone unnoticed by all the other boats fishing the south end of Big Lake, and Poe made a sharp turn and pushed his boat hard toward the action. The trout that bit on the first cast was all the proof we needed that our luck was about to change.
“It was tough today,” Poe said as we idled back up to the Big Lake Guide Service dock. “It’s going to take a few days for everything to settle down after this front, but then it should be back to what it was before… fish everywhere and biting just about anything.”