Big Trout

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 ( 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.


My Story. Born right on the water in Southern Louisiana, I was fishing with a Snoopy pole while still in diapers. Fished Freshwater until the end of college catching large mouth bass in the 8, 9, and 10lb range. Decided to give the saltwater bays a try and my first attempts I got my 'butt' handed to me even though I was a good bass fisherman with numerous fish over 8lbs. That was 20 years ago. So to say that we understand your saltwater fishing frustration is to say the least. We've been there, and we've figured out what works and what doesn't. I started diving into the knowledge and using my skills from Ecology and testing those hypothesis to find what works and why as it pertained to where the fish actually were, and then also to find them the day of. I was lucky enough to find some great fishing guides along my journey... those that think fishing guides don't have your best interest in mind haven't fished with the guides I know and how quickly they forgot the guides and articles that they learned from. Guides are a valuable collective of people in our fishing community and I feel like finding a couple good ones after use the best learning resources will greatly shorten your learning curve. I know we all want to do it on our own, but there is also something to say for utilizing, and partnering with guys that are on the water everyday, to Maximize your putting that education into practice. With our DVDs you can do it on your own, but you can also learn to do it faster combining the resources of the community. Over the 20 years that I fished saltwater I have fished all Texas Bays and into Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina. Not only that but my understanding of how each estuary and bay system works, and how I can simply teach it to you is also something I've been very fortunate, and blessed to be able to deliver to you. I now mostly help you guys and develop new tools for you. I am forever indebted to my customers for the life and chance I've been given. It's something I don't overlook. I don't fish as much as everyone would like to believe, running and making sure you guys come first takes a lot of time and resources. But I still go when I can and when I do I like to go to different areas and fish new water every chance I get.