Topwater times on Calcasieu Lake

 

Photo by Chris Berzas Adam Jaynes is quite the master at dogwalking topwaters for big trout – like this trout over five pounds taken on a clown Heddon Super Spook.
Photo by Chris Berzas
Adam Jaynes is quite the master at dogwalking topwaters for big trout – like this trout over five pounds taken on a clown Heddon Super Spook.

 

by Chris Berzas

At the mouth of the cove on the southwestern portion of Calcasieu Lake, Captain Adam Jaynes found what he was looking for.

“All of this is a huge flat, and in several places there are some real nice reefs in here,” said the 26 year old angler.

“And look, there’s some mullet moving in front of us . . . moving really well,” he said.

These were not the rafting schools of mullet that most anglers cherish finding, they were of the single-jumping variety that are observed in most sections of any saltwater estuary at any given time of the day.

“These trout ought to be on the down-current side of this marsh flow, kind of out there on that point,” said Jaynes. “They’re waiting . . . just eager for their next meal (mullet) to come by.”

Jaynes had made 30 casts or more before the first explosion on top occurred.

“Ohhh . . . the fish wasn’t hooked,” he said – as his line went suddenly slack.

Fortunately, the angler kept on working the clown Super Spook on its retrieve following the miss.

With the hard bait about halfway to the boat, the trout struck again – and immediately the angler was turning reel as his drag would scream in spurts.

“The trout came back!” Jaynes exclaimed. “He ate it, didn’t he?”

After a brief tryst with the trout, its sides gleaming in the slightly tainted waters, the fish was netted, weighed and photographed. It was pushing the six pound mark on Jayne’s Boga.

“There’s more in here, and we should get on them now,” he said after placing the hefty trout in the livewell.

After another 45 minutes had passed, the angler boated three more from that flat, two at over six pounds, and the other at five and-a-half.

And these better fish were taken after spending part of the morning at Turner’s Bay with 20 other boats taking many small, school trout and redfish under birds.

Jaynes has been very successful at taking lunker trout, admittedly loads of five- to seven- pounders and many eights and nines which he terms the “Big Fish”.

As for topwater plugs, Jaynes has a fondness for Heddon Super Spooks and the smaller Spook Jrs.

Photo by Chris Berzas Getting up close and personal to the big ladies in a stealthy way is accomplished by wade-fishing. In his experience, he has taken as many as 30 in these size ranges when wade-fishing as opposed to the two- to three-  usual lunkers taken from boats
Photo by Chris Berzas
Getting up close and personal to the big ladies in a stealthy way is accomplished by wade-fishing. In his experience, he has taken as many as 30 in these size ranges when wade-fishing as opposed to the two- to three- usual lunkers taken from boats.

He dogwalks them in a combination of varying speeds and brief intermissions.

Observably, Jaynes sports an unorthodox manner of working the rod when dogwalking.

“A lot of people work topwaters with their rod tips down,” he said. “For me personally, it’s uncomfortable.

“I’ve always worked that rod tip straight up and down,” he said. “You can adjust how that topwater works left and right by varying the speed and the length of your sweep. If I want it to work wide left and right, I’ll retrieve it slow and pop the rod a little higher.

“As for the rate of retrieve, I’ll work them pretty quick especially when it’s warm, and I will slow them down a little in colder waters,” he said. “But what’s most important is to experience how those trout want them – because the big fish can be peculiar about speed on any given day out here.

“I find that trout chiefly prefer topwaters in water temperatures of 60-degrees and above, and suspending plugs on waters with surface temperatures under 60-degrees” said Jaynes.

“And during the summer, I’ll spend the early mornings and late afternoons casting topwaters,” he said.

 

Sensitive tackle a necessity

Photo by Chris Berzas Light, durable and extremely sensitive tackle is a necessity according to Jaynes
Photo by Chris Berzas
Light, durable and extremely sensitive tackle is a necessity according to Jaynes.

“If I have to single out the most important tool when throwing hard baits for these fish, it has to be the rod,” said the angler. ”I use a custom rod, a Sarge Custom, where you pick out all the elements of the rod to include the guides, the color of the thread and everything else.

“It’s super light, at a mere 2 ½ ounces, and you end up with a lot less wrist fatigue from casting big baits all day,” he said. “Since it’s so light, I can feel the most subtle taps or bites these big fish give especially in cold water. You’ll end up catching more fish as a result with lighter, sensitive rods than you do with others.”

The rest of Jaynes equipment consists of FINS Windtamer braided line (30 pounds test) with a 30 pounds Berkley Big Game monofilament leader at four feet. Monofilament leaders are important for catching big trout in his opinion because they add stretch to where it’s needed – on impact and pull.

 

Wade-fishing adds size and numbers

According to Jaynes, wade-fishing for the big trout even in the coldest months of the winter is what he likes to do most of all when using topwaters.

Jaynes said that the wade-fishing season runs from about mid-November to somewhere in March, yet he enjoys wading for trout in the summer as well.

Photo by Chris Berzas Locations in Calcasieu and Sabine Lake that will hold big trout like these are mud and shell flats with the source of the prey of these lunkers – moving mullet. These include the southern shell reefs and flats from Turner’s Bay southwards to West Cove in Calcasieu Lake; and the Coffee Ground area southwards along the east banks of Sabine Lake.
Photo by Chris Berzas
Locations in Calcasieu and Sabine Lake that will hold big trout like these are mud and shell flats with the source of the prey of these lunkers – moving mullet. These include the southern shell reefs and flats from Turner’s Bay southwards to West Cove in Calcasieu Lake; and the Coffee Ground area southwards along the east banks of Sabine Lake.

“The advantage to wade-fishing has to do with stealth,” he said. “When in a boat and you catch one fish . . . well by the time your get it to the boat and unhook it and then cast again – you’ve already drifted where you just caught that fish. You’ve messed up that entire school.”

According to the guide, wading anglers can walk up to the reef and catch that first good fish, and the rest of that school of larger trout will remain there. There is much less noise, and wading anglers can work the waters thoroughly without spooking that school of larger fish.

“I can stand there and maybe catch 30 good fish as compared to two- to three- in a boat. Now we’re talking big, big fish specifically,” he said.

The angler also mentioned that wade-fishing is slowly coming into its own in Calcasieu Lake as well as Sabine Lake.

“There’s not that many anglers doing it here especially in the winter, and there are only a few as well on Sabine Lake,” said Jaynes. “Of course, wade-fishing for big trout in Texas is widely practiced all along the coastline and bays.”

For more information, Jaynes can be reached at Just Fish Guide Service: (409) 988-3901 or visit his website: Just Fish Guide Service.

 

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