Spawning trout mean big boxes, guide says
With a little cooperation from Mother Nature, Capt. Nick Poe expects May to be a banner month for speckled trout on Big Lake.
“May is usually some of our heaviest boxes of fish all year long,” said Poe, with Big Lake Guide Service, in mid-April. “We have a lot of bait right now, which is kind of weird. In the last week of March, I hit a group of birds and they were eating shrimp, which was strange for that time of the year.
“We’ve got a few shrimp starting to show up, but the lake is flooded with immature, tiny pogies, so that looks good.”
Poe suggested heading to the south end of Big Lake if you’re after bigger specks this month.
“That saltier water is key for those fish to spawn — they’ve got to have it. So the south end of the lake — the closer you get to the Gulf the better off you are as far as salinity goes,” he said. “The Ship Channel will also produce fish in May …. All up and down the channel it acts as a conduit to the Gulf, and it will shoot saltwater all the way up to Lake Charles.
“It may not be there but for a couple of days, but it will be there and those fish will go with it, so you can catch fish all along the channel pretty much anywhere in May.”
May is typically a great month to throw topwater lures (See Topwater Troubles? on page 156 for tips from Poe on how to connect with some big trout) but sometimes the fish, especially earlier in the month, can be somewhat finicky.
“So a lot of times you’ll get a lot of blowups, but you won’t be catching any fish,” Poe said. “So you can switch to a suspending bait or a jig, and a lot of times they’ll just eat it up.”
Poe’s go-to topwater lure is a ShePup with a red head, a chrome belly and a chartreuse back. His favorite twitchbait is a black MirrOdine with an orange belly.
His go-to soft plastic is the Lil John from MirrOlure, and he almost always fishes with an 1/8-ounce jighead.
“Unless I’m fishing in the (Ship) Channel or dealing with some kind of mega-tide or something like that, an 1/8-ounce is usually what I have tied on,” Poe explained. “But usually if there’s a mega-tide you’ve got dirty water, so I probably wouldn’t stop and fish it, anyway.”
In pretty water, Poe opts for the Lil Johns in opening night and watermelon red. If the water is a bit more dirty, he goes with colors like molting and glow.
Whatever technique you choose, May is definitely a month to be out on the water.
“It’s that time when everything gets kicked off and really going good,” he said.
Editor’s Note: Capt. Nick Poe, with Big Lake Guide Service, can be reached at 337-598-3268. For more information, visit www.biglakeguideservice.com.