Speckled trout in the shallows

The few days before the turn of the New Year, Big Lake’s Captain Bruce Baugh (337-660-1814) was busy with some great speckled trout.

Peter Landry of Houston caught this lunker Big Lake speck at better than 8- pounds when fishing with Captain Bruce Baugh in Big Lake a few days before January 1.
Peter Landry of Houston caught this lunker Big Lake speck at better than 8- pounds when fishing with Captain Bruce Baugh in Big Lake a few days before January 1.

“It was an awesome trip, and we were in a bunch of redfish,” recalled Baugh. “We were throwing pink, broke-back Corkys for these fish in West Cove.”

The anglers almost left the area because of the redfish, but decided to stay put because some large speckled trout began showing.

“Peter Landry caught the largest trout, an 8- pounder,” said Baugh.

For a while there, between all the redfish and good trout we were catching, all of us had a fish on,” he said. “I placed my rod in the rod holder on my belt with the fish still on it so I could get a picture of my three clients fighting fish at the same time.

“I almost lost my rod because there was a real good trout on it as well,” said Baugh.

“Everybody’s rods were bowed up, and the trout was buckling the rod in my belt so hard it was pulling drag.”

But between the reds and the big trout and the quadruple play by the anglers and the guide, the fish were brought in, and the captain got his photo as well.

According to Baugh, wadefishing season has started in earnest at Big Lake. Big speckled trout can be found in pods on select, shallow reefs and flats from Turner’s Bay southwards to West Cove.

“It’s my favorite time to redfish,” he admitted.  “Even though about all the shrimp have exited, these big trout will stay in schools looking for their primary prey which is the mullet.

“The water temperatures were 48- degrees recently, and many people think the trout will get into deeper holes here,” he said.

“Many of these bigger trout will not migrate deeper, they’ll be ambushing mullet and you will actually find them shallow in mud flats and shell,” said Baugh.

And getting close to them by wadefishing is exactly how Baugh has learned about their behavior.

“They will often just lay in the mud because their bellies are muddy when we catch them,” said the guide. “And these big trout will actually try to dislodge your hooks in the mud, on shell, and sometimes even on your legs.”

Also, Baugh said that there is less fishing pressure on these fish at this time because either duck season is in progress or the observed fact that not many anglers will fish in cold, wet weather.

“In some of the nastiest weather on the lake, we have taken big trout up to the 10- pound range,” he said. “It can be miserable on the lake, yet it can be great for catching a personal best speckled trout in terms of length and weight.”

In general, anglers will wadefish for lunker speckled trout in Big Lake beginning in late November and thru February. It is becoming a popular tactic of stealth now accomplished by many of the local anglers and guides.

Baugh will use 20- lb. braided line with 20- lb. fluorocarbon leader cast from a Fish and Tackle Unlimited Green Rod.

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