We had decided to meet around six by the Pleasure Island Restaurant on Sabine Lake. Today I was going to be filming a segment called KTBS Outdoors, in Shreveport Louisiana. I was fishing with some friends of mine for big specks and I could not have picked a better angling team.
First, I had Brett Crawford, president of All Star Rods, a great guy and heck of an angler. Then there was Jim Franklin, he won the Troutmasters that year and was as fine an angler as I had ever met, and topping off my team for the day was Dickie Colburn, 30-year veteran Pro guide on Sabine.
I had waded the oyster reefs on Sabine in the past, I had waded the surf and on the jetties, but what was in store for me that day I will never forget.
It was overcast and the air temperature was a chilly 50 degrees. The water on this 90,000-acre lake looked stained and rough as Tony, Ted and I walked down the ramp. We loaded up in two boats and headed out.
Apparently, Jim & Dickie had already agreed on a spot and I was right behind them. We sped across the shallow lake full throttle but 20 minutes into the ride, he started slowing down. I was surprised to see that we had stopped at the oyster reefs commonly referred to as community hole.
Jim cut is motor and drifted in. There were two waders on the reef. He talked with one of them briefly then signaled to follow him. We idled around the deeper side and waited. He had picked up the wader and was carrying him to his rig that was anchored a good ways off. They must have fished just about the entire reef.
When Jim returned we went a few hundred yards back up and anchored. I asked Jim how the other anglers had done and he said they hadn’t caught a fish…this was not good.
With Tony and Ted in my boat, I proceeded to enter the water. The plan was to let Tony shoot and Ted use the trolling motor and stay back away from us.
I waded over to Jims boat and they were already in the water ready to go. As per Jim & Dickie’s instructions I had tied on my favorite topwater….a trusty Mirror Lure called a Top Dog. This one was a straight bone color and brand-new. Of course, I had brought some corkies and plastics because I knew how Specks could be sometimes, but when I stopped Jim to show him my choices, he said ” Wont need ’em bud, come on, let’s fish…”.
He went on to tell me that the guys that were just in here threw mostly plastics and didn’t catch a trout but a few days back they had murdered them right here, strictly on topwater….big trout too.
I put my toys away and got in the ” topwater trout” mode.
We do what is commonly referred to as “the grind” down here. In a large arch and about double casting distance apart, we move very slowly down the reef, stopping every few feet and fan casting the area before moving on. The water depth was about mid stomach and a tad on the nippy side.
Working the baits on a 7’6 All Star Titanium rod, and 15-pound Berkley Big Game green, all of us used the ” Walk the Dog” retrieve. Point the tip up and twitch it back 10-15 times then pause….That’s when they exploded on it.
We had waded for a good 20 minutes without a hit and we were about where that guy had been wading. I was getting concerned that we wouldn’t get bit when Dickie gave the first call, we all stopped and watched. A nice 7-pound Speckled Trout was landed.
Then it was Brett’s turn, then Jims, then I forget who, we all started catching trout…and big ones. By the time it was said and done, we had 24 trout to 9 pounds with the smallest going a hefty 6 pounds, with a 6,7,8,9 as top four fish, if only we had the Ten!
The only thing we could figure is that these trout were hanging at the end of the reef, and we had snuck up on them. One monster trout after another, and all on Top Dogs, we worked our way towards the end of the reef.
Bone was absolutely the ticket, they were destroying mine, in fact, I was retying after every fish, I wasn’t going to lose this puppy. I had one 7-8 pound trout run right at me and hook me with the treble hook between the legs.
I was out there sloshing around with this big trout between my legs that was pissed and had a mouth full of treble hooks…. Boy-howdy did that get them roaring and yes, Tony got it on film, and yes, I landed it!
That was a day I will never forget. My largest trout ever came that cold overcast morning, a straight up 8 pounder that is in my freezer right now, and will soon be on the wall.
The time of year, the right bait, and a stealthy approach, all played a role in this angling adventure.