Trout Masters Too excerpt: catching big specks on Lake Pontchartrain

Capt. Eric Dumas talks about the tackle he uses to catch trout

In this excerpt from Trout Masters Too: How the pros do it, Capt. Eric Dumas with Living a Dream Guide Service talks about his obsession for speckled trout, and what he uses to catch them.

It seemed to the young man that everyone was catching big trout but him. So he started launching closer to the Trestles railroad bridge on the eastern end of the lake. He says that it took him 10 trips to learn how to catch trout there.

“I had been catching 12- to 14-inch fish. I couldn’t believe the size difference that two miles made — 2- to 2 1/2-pound trout, with an occasional 4-pound fish.”

Now Dumas has notched up two 8 1/2-pounders, caught on back-to-back casts at a now-removed oil rig out of Lacombe. He has caught many 7s, and 6s are “pretty common.” Four- and 5-pounders can be caught throughout the year. He says rather nonchalantly, “You got that shot every day of the year.”

After a few trips to the Trestles, Dumas again decided he needed a bigger boat. “I upgraded to a 22-foot bay boat, and then it was on. Christopher was 15 or 16, and we fished and fished and fished — until you couldn’t really fish anymore. I basically taught myself how to fish.

“There is something about a trout. A lot of people will tell you they are not easy to catch. There is a lot to pay attention to: angles, tide movement and patterns.

“I am more obsessed with trout than any other fish, except maybe tripletails. If someone offered me a 9-pound trout or a 20-pound tripletail, I would have a problem. I’d have to have two of me. I eat them. I don’t much fish for them, but I eat them.

“As far as redfish go, I’m going to catch them, but I’m not going to look for them unless a customer wants them.”

When Dumas uses artificial lures, he casts a lot, so he uses equipment friendly to casting. His reels are Shimano baitcasters, either Curados or Chronarchs that are light in weight and don’t wear him out.

In contrast to wanting light weights in his reels, Dumas prefers 6-foot heavy-action rods — bass-fishing worm rods. These assist in hookset in the deep waters of Lake Pontchartrain. His favorites are Castaway Skeleton series models.

Line is always monofilament, except when trolling in late winter and early spring. Strong currents and braided lines don’t get along, and a fisherman will be “twisted up all day long” with braided line. He does admit that it can be done with 2 feet of 15-pound-test or heavier monofilament or fluorocarbon shock leader.

Still, his strong preference is for 17-pound-test fluorescent clear/blue Stren monofilament. The line is highly visible to an angler’s eye, and even when a bite can’t be felt, it can be seen when the line twitches 2 or 3 inches.

Learn more about how the best guides and anglers across the Louisiana coast catch trout day in, day out by purchasing the Trout Masters Tool Kit, which includes a special package price for Trout Masters: How Louisiana’s Best Anglers Catch the Lunkers and Trout Masters Too: How the pros do it.

About Jerald Horst 959 Articles
Jerald Horst is a retired Louisiana State University professor of fisheries. He is an active writer, book author and outdoorsman.