There was a certain chill in air that morning as we rode across the bay. The dark clouds didn’t really help the warmth factor either. The Desperado 22 (desperadoboats.com) cut across the chop seemingly floating above it all as if it were some sort of magic carpet riding above the white caps. The wind was pumping hard out of the south ahead of an approaching early season cold front. We knew the fish were going to be there; in fact they’d been there all summer. We’ve found that only some of the big trout will wander off when it gets hot in the summer, and others will stay, growing accustom to the shelter and rich food supply of large mullet, pogies, needle fish, and ballyhoo that they seemingly begin to become fond of.
While we know we can catch big trout all year in certain areas, there is something magical about fishing for them between late October and mid April. Perhaps it is metaphorically similar to the ‘Old Man and the Sea’ tale with the cooler months darkness and howling winds churning waters that challenge captains and anglers alike. I know myself, as well as many of my Texas and Florida friends wait all year for the weather to worsen just so we can dawn our Simms waders and jackets and get in the water wading shallow grass and / or oyster areas with mud of varying thickness, hunting that one elusive strike from a big speckled trout. Note: You do not need to be in mud up to your knees, actually a thin veneer of mud only two to three inches thick will do the job. This does not rule out areas with mud up to your thighs though, those are still applicable (grin).
As we rounded the corner the Desperado came off plane and we pulled back to an idle. We were still at least seventy to eighty yards out from where we had planned to park the boat. We would use the troll motor from this point in. Sure the big Zuk 4 was quiet enough, certainly quieter than a lot of outboards, but since we wait all season for a shot at one of these fish we just figured we’d do it right. Take your time and ease into place. Plan your trip down to where you are going to shut off the outboard, and where you plan to anchor the boat. You can’t just go there and idle in anywhere, bang lids and anchor chains around, jump out of the boat, and expect to maximize you chances at catching a big trout whether you are out on your only Saturday or in a tournament.
Capt. Brent Juarez out of Galveston has learned from fishing the Galveston and Trinity Bay area his whole life and has spent several years in different trout and redfish tournament series. He knows that when it comes to catching a big trout, its likely to come on a big bait. Brent will be throwing Super Spooks and Mirrolure Brown Original Fatboys most of the time even on the coldest days of the year. Another option would be the Heddon OneKnocker, basically Heddon took the old Zara Spook and infused it with DNA from the Super Spook so to speak. They added the big rattle, raised gill plates, and 3D Holographic eyes. It’s still a good-sized lure, certainly worthy of a big trout meal, and it’s a little easier to throw all day. Heddon is also producing it now in almost all the super spook saltwater and freshwater colors. I for one have always been a big fan of that size and have field-tested it with very positive results. Brent’s favorite color for Super Spooks will be the bone silver. Other good colors are the solid bone, the speckled trout, and the freshwater ‘Oakie shad’. If you use the freshwater versions in saltwater upgrade the hooks to a quality galvanized hook size 2/0 or 3/0 (the 4/0’s are a little too small for me for these plugs). Colors for the FatBoys can vary with water color, some of the favorites are pearl with black back, pickle (dayglo), and Texas Chicken. In stained or dirty water the amber and the black with chartreuse tails are good as well.