Trout Masters Too excerpt: catching big specks on Sabine Lake

Capt. Jerry Norris shares his thoughts on trophy-sized trout

In this excerpt from Trout Masters Too: How the pros do it, Capt. Jerry Norris with The Original Sabine Lake Guide Service discusses how he rigs up to catch big specks in Louisiana’s least-known saltwater fishing hole.

Big speckled trout come out of both sides of the lake. Norris’ largest speck is 11 pounds, 12 ounces, and he has notched up four 10-pounders and “10 or 12 9-pounders” on his six-shooter.

Norris catches big fish, in spite of a no-nonsense approach to his tackle. He says that he has been using the same Shimano Chronarch casting reels with Super Free technology for over 10 or 12 years. “They are durable and they cast good,” he says tersely.

The only time he uses spinning reels is when he uses live bait, not a favorite tactic with him. “Casting reels are more accurate,” he explains, “with less wobbling in my hand. Any time I cast, I cast to a certain spot. I pick it out and cast to it.”

His rods are 6-foot, 6-inch medium-light-action All Star rods. “They are light, easy to cast and have a lot of backbone. I don’t net a lot of fish. I flip them into the boat.”

He spools his reels with 10- to 17-pound monofilament. The heavier lines he prefers for use with large topwater lures like Zara Super Spooks. He doesn’t use a leader for topwaters.

His standard rig for fishing soft plastics is a 12- to 14-inch, 20-pound-test fluorocarbon leader with a loop knot on each end to provide more action for the terminal jig.

Jigheads are typically 1/4-ounce Bass Assassin Screw Locks with 1/0 hooks. “All my hooks are short shank,” he states. “A longer shank inhibits the action of the plastic.”

His choice of soft-plastic tails to put on his jigs is limited to Bass Assassins, as well: either the paddle-tailed Sea Shad or the straight-tailed Shad Assassin in fire tiger, red shad or morning glory colors.

Norris also uses topwater lures, mainly Zara Super Spooks and MirrOlure She Dogs. Colors are black/chartreuse head on dark days and silver/blue back on clear days. He admits to being “not real fired up on colors on topwater lures. It takes a fairly aggressive fish to hit topwaters. When they get aggressive and in the mood to hit topwaters, they hit anything.”

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.

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