By Chris Berzas
Fishing under the birds this past fall in Louisiana’s Calcasieu Lake, Egret Baits’ Ken Chaumont of Lake Charles, La. decided to test a new lure that caught his attention.
Its design could be best described as a 3 1/4- inch plastic shrimp that is notched along the tail and weaved with strands of durable nylon. Also, a ¼ oz. jighead with an attached hook courses the length of the interior of the body with the hook protruding on its dorsal surface.
At the time, this shrimp was only one of two sent to him by the manufacturer for testing.
I happened to be there doing a trout story earlier that morning, and I admit I wanted to see how lure company reps test new items before marketing them.
Of course, I had to swear an oath of confidentiality short of signing a non-disclosure agreement – but I am certainly happy I stayed around for the duration.
We were working the main reef out of Turner’s Bay on a sunny afternoon during the week, and the water was void of boats and other guides.
“Look here, I have a trout already,” said Chaumont hoisting aboard what was the first of many trout in the 14- to 17- inch range.
The angler was using a 3-inch, weighted Comal popping cork with the shrimp placed about 18- inches below the cork.
For a couple of weeks, Chaumont kept catching trout after trout in the same 14- to 17- inch lengths under birds and atop reefs throughout Calcasieu Lake.
“I caught over 50 specks on just one of the baits before I began working the other one,” said the angler.
In November and December, anglers Chris Ramos and Raymond Duhon joined Chaumont in testing a few more VuDus as Chaumont offered Egret Baits’ first batch for sale.
Here are some fishing tips this trio has to offer since these baits are now offered in good numbers to saltwater anglers.
Under popping corks
“The number one way to fish the VuDu for speckled trout is under a popping cork,” said Chaumont. “I’ll use a Comal 3-inch popping cork (coned) with the VuDu shrimp at 18- to 20- inches below it. The cork is weighted and will cast better than any non-weighted ones.”
According to Chaumont, he’ll use light or ultra-light tackle with a Lew’s speed spool baitcasting reel or spinning reel spooled with 10-pound test fluorocarbon line.
“It will be easier to cast and you’ll get more distance,” he said.
“You want to pop it a couple of times . . . stop . . . pop it a couple of times again . . . and stop,” said the angler. “Most of the time it’s when you stop it – after you’ve popped it – when the trout attacks the shrimp.”
Angler Chris Ramos of Sulphur has also been successful yet with a slightly different style and method.
“I’ll fish the VuDu under a Bomber Paradise float,” said Ramos. “I’ll place the VuDu 12- to 18- inches below the float and pop it often. It really works well when fishing under the birds, and I find it imitates the sound of a trout popping the shrimp on top.”
Both Chaumont and Ramos agreed that the VuDu shrimp lends itself to be easily worked by youth anglers as well as adults learning to fish for speckled trout.
“This shrimp will allow children and adults to spend more time on casting and catching fish as opposed to the length of time spent changing live- or market- shrimp repeatedly on their hooks,” said Chaumont.
“This bait is designed for schooling trout – not trophy trout,” emphasized Chaumont. “The VuDu shrimp is best utilized when fishing under birds and over reefs when trout are active.”
Lake Charles’ Raymond Duhon is amazed by what happens to the VuDu once it’s inside a trout’s mouth.
“Whenever I got a strike, I have yet to lose a fish on a VuDu,” said Duhon. “The trout get hooked on the hard palates on the top of their mouths. And that occurs no matter what size they are.”
And Chris Ramos said that it’s not only small, 12-inch school trout that attack the VuDu.
“Many of the fish we have taken were above 14- inches,” said Ramos. “Two we caught on the VuDu were at 4 pounds!”
On one VuDu shrimp alone, Ramos said he has taken over 100 trout, and the bait was still in good shape.
Tightlining the VuDu
“Another excellent method to work these baits is to troll the VuDu,” said Chaumont. “You place the trolling motor on low and cast the bait behind the boat without a cork.”
Prien Lake anglers will readily recall when this fall, many speckled trout were taken in 12- to 18- feet of water on the edges of the channel that runs through Prien Lake northwards. Trolling then worked very well for these suspended speckled trout.
“I also work it without a cork,” said Ramos. “I’ll use a steady retrieve and then allow it to stop and fall. I’ll give it a one- two- count after casting before beginning the retrieve.
“Or I’ll simply fish it on the bottom and pop it every now and then,” said the angler. “The tail is so loose that it provides a lot of action, and the VuDu shrimp’s eyes glow in the water.
“It’s really a great effective bait that attracts trout,” said Ramos.
Chaumont has also enticed flounder with the VuDu.
“It’s also excellent on sand flats when tightlining for flounder,” said Chaumont. “I’ve taken many flounder when working the usual locations where you find them.”
Where to obtain the VuDu
For now, Egret Bait’s new VuDu shrimp can be bought two per pack only online through their website and Facebook site.
These can be accessed at: http://www.egretbaits.com/egret_store.html#!/~/category/id=4232109&offset=0&sort=nameAsc online, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EgretBaits/app_251458316228.
Some tackle establishments are also offering them now, but it’s best to check by giving them a telephone call for availability.