by Capt. Adam Jaynes
Brittany landed this solid trout out of a school of actively feeding fish on a glo/chartreuse Killer Flats Minnow on a 1/4oz jighead
If I had to describe the fishing over the last few weeks it would be "incredibly easy." Limits of trout have been just about automatic day in and day out barring strong winds. Most days that the wind has blown it ended up slicking off around 11:00 or so and then the fish go insane. Our water is absolutely gorgeous right now, on the verge of being too pretty actually. The school fish have still been doing their thing all the way from Black's Bayou to the south end of the lake. The birds for the most part have been acting kind of strange by just not picking very much in general. Once you get on a school and the birds leave be patient and stick around, those fish are still there and will almost always come right back up again. The shrimp have gotten quite a bit bigger so the schools have been much easier to spot and follow.
Charlie pulled this solid trout out of a school with a glo/chartreuse TTF Trout Killer
There are a couple of things I will always do to try and catch bigger fish when I get on a school of trout. The first thing I will try is to fish a little deeper if all I am catching are small fish in the top of the water column. I will switch from an 1/8oz jighead to a 1/4oz to help me get down better, we also catch more redfish by fishing down deeper. The only problem with getting down underneath the school is dealing with the gaftop. I know some people swear by eating them but those fish sure aren't welcome on my boat! Another tried and true method to call out larger trout from a school is to put on a topwater. I have been loving the Flush from TTF's GunDog line of lures. It is easy to work and the paint has been considerably more durable than many other topwaters that I have fished. I am throwing the speckled trout pattern along with the pink/chrome. Downside to throwing anything with treble hooks into a school is the time it takes to unhook a fish while you have trout jumping out of the water right in front of you! Also, the higher chance of putting a hook in your hand while trying to hurry to get out and catch another fish. Another simple switch is to put on a larger plastic like a Trout Killer or a Split Tail Mullet. I also started throwing a Maniac Mullet in schooling trout back in early March and can testify that you will start catching much higher quality trout with it as well. If you want an even higher chance of pulling a redfish out of the schools of trout try either a Hoginar or a 3/4oz chrome Rattle Trap.
A pair of solid reds pulled from underneath a school of feeding trout
I have been ignoring the schooling fish for the most part over the last few days to go after some better fish. Although getting a bite and catching a fish on nearly every cast is an absolute blast I do personally prefer however to go after larger trout. I have been wading and drifting and both have produced solid trout in the 4-7lb range. The catching is not nearly as fast and furious but I haven't had a trout under 4lbs either so pick your poison.
Brian fooled this good trout on an early morning wade with a speckled trout pattern GunDog Dummy
Whether wading or from the boat I have been keying in on slicks and mullet jumping for the lives. I am not sure why but I haven't been able to get the better fish to eat any soft plastic over the last few days. They have been very very particular. It has been either a speckled trout pattern Dummy or a silver/black HD XXL. They have been down and determined to inhale the Dummy, the strikes have been flat out vicious! I have thrown the Little Dummy, She Dogs, Super Spooks, Flush, and Skitterwalks but the only one I have had luck on has been the Dummy. Not sure why, go figure.
Took this trout four tries but she ended up inhaling this GunDog Dummy
The other lure I have been getting them to eat, or should I say they have been destroying is the HD XXL by Dynamic Lures.
The HD XXL is a jerk bait designed for freshwater use that I have been using for a little while now for trout and redfish. It has a very unique design in which you can adjust the internal weight to get the lure to suspend at different depths. Thus far I have been fishing it as a floater, jerking it down to around 3-4' and then letting it float up close to the surface. It comes packaged with bb's to adjust the weight from a floater, to suspending or sinking.
Dynamic Lures HD XXL doing work..
I particularly like to throw it over shell, pulling it all the way down until I make contact with the shell and then let it float back up. The strikes are explosive! The HD XXL has been very durable so far, the hooks do eventually begin to rust as they are for freshwater so I switch them out for VMC's. It's one of those lures I use solely to target larger trout and has been producing some very nice fish for me so far.
This solid trout couldn't resist the HD XXL..
With the heat of the summer upon us I will spend the rest of this month along with July and most of August targeting better trout in areas that provide deep water access close by just like I do during the winter. You can generally count on these fish feeding first thing in the morning and also late in the evening just before dark. However, that's not to say that these same hefty fish won't bite during the heat of the day when everything aligns just right and the majority of the boats have already headed in. The school fish should also continue to do their thing for a while. The next bite we have to look forward to the most are the hoards of schooling redfish that will begin to show up on a consistent basis as the shad get bigger. One thing for sure is the weather is going to be hot, drink plenty of water and put on the sun block. If you can put up with the heat the fishing is going to be hot as well!