A great way to cover water and mimic what big trout are eating this time of year is is to use swimbaits.
Swimbaits are essentially soft plastic crankbaits that allow anglers to cover lots of water and fish with a simple retrieve to target big fish. Most major tackle companies have some sort of swimbait on the market now, ranging from the foot-long $40 trout mimicking Castaic Lures to much more affordable fare.
“Swimbaits have been invaluable for me fishing on Lake Falcon,” said 2008 Bassmaster Classic winner Alton Jones. “They will get big fish when other baits don’t seem to get the job done. I have seen big fish get up and follow a big swimbait when they seemingly get lockjaw in clear water.”
The Jones quote might seem out of place, but when largemouth bass and speckled trout reach a certain size they switch to eating almost exclusively large fin fish. Numerous anglers have reported similar reactions to using swimbaits for specks by producing big fish when other lures do not.
This could be a product of “newness.” Most trout have never seen a swimbait, the aforementioned attribute of water coverage, or both.
The Texas Coast has many oyster reefs from large natural ones to small and medium-sized manmade reefs. The reefs on the south end of bay systems tend to get hot as spring wears on, and they all hold big fish.
One of the keys to fishing these reefs is to match the hatch. During spring, sand eels are prevalent on the reefs, which is why using eel imitations such as Mr. Twister’s Slimy Slug and the Norton Sand Eel can produce.
The most important thing to keep in mind about any of these lures is to fish them on the right size jig head. Fishing with 1/8-ounce jig heads is great for shallow reefs with light currents. However, you need something heavier that will get down to the bottom and be able to fight heavy spring currents. So, use 1/4-ounce.
Drift with the current and let the lure bounce, bump and crash into the oyster reef. Water conditions during spring usually range from off-colored to murky to just plain nasty. So, anything that might grab the attention of a trout is worth trying.
Make sure you have enough line out, so you are not fishing vertically. The lure will not be able to work properly that way.
In addition, it is important to keep contact with the lure. Springtime trout are not overly aggressive, and they often hit soft plastic lures lightly. Use a super-sensitive monofilament or braided line for best results.
—story by TF&G STAFF