Big Lake, big waves, big redfish!

Gerard Caswell was looking forward to his first speckled trout trip to Big Lake for the New Year.

Gerard Caswell of Eunice displays one of over 40 redfish taken in southern Big Lake. He and fellow angler Wayne Vidrine met little fishing pressure along with high, cold northerlies yet found the right place to be at the right time.
Gerard Caswell of Eunice displays one of over 40 redfish taken in southern Big Lake. He and fellow angler Wayne Vidrine met little fishing pressure along with high, cold northerlies yet found the right place to be at the right time.

After all, the 54-year-old attorney’s previous attempts had been stymied by the rainy weather and holidays – leaving Sunday, January 6 as the first available opportunity for him to hit those fabled trout waters.

 Although Sunday’s forecast held great promises of a sunny morning, Caswell and his friend, Wayne Vidrine knew they would also find murky waters and windy conditions.

The forecast was foreboding – with northerlies predicted at gusting upwards to 20 knots.

But they were certainly determined to get out there and fish during the first week of 2013.

“When we arrived and I looked at the waters, I knew fishing for speckled trout was about out of the question,” said Caswell. “The waters were so churned up and chocolate, and even Basket Reef had foam on top.”

So the anglers then decided to head toward areas near the Grand Bayou weir, and there they struck red, spotted gold.

“There was not another boat out there, and the water was pushing out of the weir pretty strong,” he said.

Noting birds picking in the eddies southeast of the weirs, Caswell anchored the appropriate legal distance from the structure, whereupon he and Vidrine began casting 3- inch pearl Gulp! Minnows.

Just as soon as the baits reached the water, they had a double on.

“It was incredible, and the fish were big,” said the angler. “We kept getting doubles for the first few casts, but we experienced difficulties fighting the fish, handling the net and fighting the current . . . doing all three with a rod in one hand and a net in the other.

“So we decided to take turns so we could help each other out,” said Caswell. “Wayne would cast and catch a fish as I netted . . . and then I would cast and he would be the netter.”

Throughout the morning, Caswell and Vidrine scored on over 40 redfish ranging from 22- to 34- inches.

“We kept releasing fish after fish all morning to get to our limits of five fish under 27- inches,” he said. “We finally ended up with 10 fish at 22- to 26- inches by late morning.”

With redfish that size, anglers would have expected long runs with drags screaming – but not so said Caswell.

“I was fishing with mono at 12- pounds, and even so the fish would only immediately take drag, he said. “I think they would tire quickly from fighting that current in coming to the net as well as the usual lethargy from the cold waters.”

Leaving the area at 11:00 am, Caswell and Vidrine motored all the way upwind to Calcasieu Point.

“The weather was even nastier, and the whitecaps were quite ominous,” he said. “I had to move very carefully at safe speeds even in my Blackjack 22-footer. And, we observed only one other boat on the way back heading toward the weir from Hebert’s Landing.”

Would Caswell do it all over again even though they didn’t catch a single speckled trout?

You betcha!

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