Fish was almost too big for his net
Tommy Vidrine is well-known for catching lots of speckled trout, including big ones, and he caught his biggest one ever at the end of November fishing in Grand Isle Pass. He loves catching trout this time of year, and he said anglers who sit out the winter miss out on some great fishing.
Vidrine caught the 8-pound, 28 inch long speck on a glow-colored Overcast Swim Shad with a 1/4-ounce Death Grip jighead. He was using a medium-light Zook custom baitcasting rod with a Daiwa Coastal reel. His line was 17-pound test monofilament. He hooked the fish on the incoming tide.
He’d been fishing with his wife earlier in the day, but had just dropped her off and was fishing alone when the big fish bit.
“I had just dropped my wife off. We’d been catching some small trout in the back of the island. It was kind of windy and the tide was coming in strong. I wanted to see if I could get a couple of big ones hiding behind them underwater rocks,” he said.
Vidrine landed a few 3-pounders, and then the 8-pounder hit.
“Those big trout like to hide behind those boulders where they don’t have to work for their food. That water just pushes that shrimp and that bait over those rocks and the trout snatch them up as they come in. It’s a food trough. The big fish don’t like to swim hard, so they just hide out and wait for the bait to come to them,” he said.
Angler’s winter tip: slow down way more than you think you should
Vidrine said he knew right away that the fish would break the 8-pound mark.
“I tried to put it in the net three times, and it was longer than the circle on my net. She came out of the net two, three times and finally I got her in,” he said. “The fish was 28 inches long, and I’ve caught fish that long before. But the girth on this one was really something special.”
He put the fish in the livewell to give it a chance to recover before releasing it.
When fishing for trout this time of year, Vidrine said anglers need to slow down when reeling in their lures. He stressed that most people simply reel too fast, even when they believe they are slowing it down. He also said if you’re targeting bigger fish, it’s best to reel without jigging the lure.
“When I jig it, it seems like I get the smaller, schooling trout. I get a lot of bites jigging it, but it’s almost always school trout. But the bigger fish just want that steady retrieve (without jigging). And when it’s cold, you have to slow down a bunch,” he said. “You need to slow it down way more than you think.”
Click here to get more fishing tips on Tommy Vidrine’s YouTube channel.