Right place, right time, right lures for big trout

Right place, right time, right lures for big trout

If ever there was a time that is drop dead perfect for chasing big trout, this is it. Afternoon highs in the upper ’70s with overnight lows in the mid-50s will set up warming tides on shallow flats that will definitely have wall-hog trout on the move and feeding on mullet.

Water temperatures on Sabine Lake and at Rollover Pass on East Galveston Bay were 61 degrees last Monday, but with spring-like weather, the water temperature along most of the Texas coast will likely bump up a few degrees.

This past weekend, the afternoon highs on Baffin Bay were right at 80 degrees, and that triggered a pretty good run on trout in the 7 to 9 pound class. On down the coast, near Port Mansfield, anglers fishing 5-inch paddle tail jigs in purple/chartreuse did pretty well on trout from 4 to 7 pounds while fishing mud and grass flats bordering the ICW.

On Sabine Lake and east Galveston Bay, there were plenty of boats on the water over Valentine’s Day weekend, with big time numbers of waders. It doesn’t take much of a warming trend to get salty fishermen out of the house and on the water.

This is the time of year when the Louisiana shoreline of Sabine Lake is the go-to spot for anglers looking to tangle with solid trout. One of the best areas is Coffee Ground Cove. The islands off the ICW between West Pass and the mouth of the Neches River are very popular for waders. The unique thing about Sabine Lake is that both wading and drift fishing will produce good numbers of big trout. In fact, guide Jerry Norris says that about 90 percent of his time is spent in the boat while fishing soft plastics or slow sinking Corkys along the Louisiana shoreline.

“If I can catch the weather right, with a slight southeast breeze on a warm afternoon with an incoming tide, it’s almost guaranteed that we’re going to box some nice trout,” says Norris. “The upper end of Sabine Lake holds lots of mud, especially around Coffee Ground Cove. That’s just one big shallow flat that warms up fast. It’s a good place to work a topwater plug all day long during February and March.”

Other good places to target big trout on Sabine Lake include the mouth of Willow Bayou and on up toward Johnson Bayou. Greens is also a good area to fish. You can wade this shoreline or fish it from a boat with a trolling motor.

Some of the best lures to use in that water are soft plastic jigs and slow sinking mullet imitation plugs. Norris likes the Assassin rat tailed jigs in purple/chartreuse and limetreuse. Last year about this time the Mirrolure slow sinking Mirrodine lures were deadly on trout. The 3-1/8 inch Mirrodines in chartreuse/pearl and red/white were a good choice.

“Topwater lures are good to use all day long,” says Norris. “The entire Louisiana shoreline is nothing but one big shallow flat that runs for miles. It’s perfect to fish for big trout with topwater lures like a Super Spook Jr., or Mirrolure Top Dog Jr. Best colors are bone/silver, pick/silver and green back/white belly.”

The key to catching trout on Sabine is to look for mullet. Sometimes it’ll be just a few mullet jumping. Last year while fishing near the mouth of Johnson’s Bayou with Norris, we found a ton of mullet and the trout were everywhere. The mullet were scattered out over about two acres of water. We set up a drift close to the bank and worked our way out with a southerly breeze. Closer to the bank, the topwater bite was best with a Super Spook Jr. in bone/silver. But as we got farther out in 4 to 6 feet of water, Assassins and Yum Houdini Shad caught most of the trout. We had them rigged on 1/4-ounce jig heads. The key was to bump or swim the jigs along bottom.

We will most certainly get another run of cold weather over the next few weeks. That will slow trout fishing for a day or two. But as soon as the high presser slacks off and the sun warms things up, trout will be on the hunt for mullet. And that’s when we need to be on the water armed with all the right lures.


Robert Sloan can be reached by e-mail at sloan288 [at] aol [dot] com.