Sometimes speckled trout can make you feel like the smartest guy in the class — or like the kid not paying attention way in the back row.
On days when you have the right-sized jighead, the right color lure and you’re in a hotspot retrieving at the perfect speed, the trout slam your plastics and it all seems so easy.
But go back there the next time with the identical setup, and you might not catch a fish.
Of course, conditions change and the presence of baitfish and tidal conditions can be a big factor, but Capt. Nick Poe with Big Lake Guide Service in Lake Charles, La. has a trick when trout are acting a little finicky and aren’t committing to his MirrOlure Lil Johns.
With an exaggerated jigging motion, Poe pulls the jig way up in the water column — then he simply lets it fall with slack line.
It’s a tactic he regularly uses regularly when fishing the ledges of the Calcasieu Ship Channel, casting into 10 feet of water and working down the gradual slope of the ledge.
Getting a bite while the lure is falling is expected. But getting a bite while the lure is falling — and not feeling it — is something altogether different.
“When fish are kind of acting like they’re getting harder to catch — maybe the tide has shifted just a little bit — give it a big, high jig then let it fall on slack line,” Poe said. “But it’s got to be on slack line. You’re not going to feel the bite.”
The tough part is convincing yourself it’s OK not to feel it — then following through with continuing the high jigging action.
“The next time you jig it, you’re jigging it so hard you’re actually setting the hook,” Poe said. “That’s a trick, but it works.
“Slack line is a big deal.”
And if he’s facing with a very slack-tide day, Poe — who usually always uses a ¼-ounce jighead — switches things up and goes with an even lighter jighead to keep his presentation as natural as possible.
“I’ll go to an ⅛-ounce, and with the sweeping action of your bait, you cast upcurrent and the bait sweeps back across the reefs,” he said. “If you have too heavy of a leadhead on, it’s just going to be digging into the mud the whole time, and it won’t sweep properly.
“So if the tide’s not as strong, go to a lighter leadhead and your bait will have the same presentation it would if the tide was strong and you were fishing with a 1/4-ounce.”