For better or for worse, a fishing guide’s day is all about results and filling up the box.
So when Capt. Jakamo Laboureur —a longtime user of a No. 1 kahle hook to catch speckled trout out of Shell Beach, La. — decided to switch hooks this spring, it wasn’t a decision he made lightly.
“I feel like I changed my religion,” Laboureur said with a laugh. “Kahles are tradition down here; I grew up with them. Every other guide uses kahles.”
So why in the world did he make the move to a No. 2 live-bait hook by Owner?
He credits a deer-hunting buddy who used them with great success on a fishing trip the two took for initially opening his eyes to the possibilities.
“He was using them and talking them up one day,” said Laboureur, who operates Jakamo South Fishing Adventures. “He kept saying, ‘See how this one’s hooked; see how this one’s hooked.’
“There were all hooked right in the corner of the mouth.”
But Laboureur didn’t switch hooks on his charters until he decided to try them out with a client who was struggling to catch anything one day.
“He was super nice, but he couldn’t catch a fish to save his life,” Laboureur said. “At the end of the day, I was like, ‘You know what? Let’s just see what happens here.’ I gave it to him, and it was like night and day.
“I’ve been sold ever since.”
The live-bait hook is shaped more like a circle hook, but it’s a little thicker and what Laboureur describes as more “heavy duty.”
“The fact that it’s smaller in size helps,” he said. “It can get deeper in the trout’s mouth and they don’t seem to notice it as much.”
It works equally well under a cork, with a Carolina rig or on a drop-shot rig, he said.
“It’s especially good for Carolina-rigged fishing because you basically let them eat it, and then you just kind of lift and reel,” Laboureur said. “You don’t jerk real hard, and you catch them in the corner of the mouth every time.”
Not aggressively setting the hook — particularly for speckled trout — is a big key to catching more fish.
“Nine times out of 10, you hook them in the corner of the mouth. I find my hookup ratio is much better if I let them eat and lift and reel, especially with the trout,” he said. “With the redfish, you can go ahead and set it.
“But with the trout, it’s definitely a lighter hook set.”