SLICK FISHING FOR TROUT
Captain Jeff Poe
NOTE: This week, we'll talk with Captain Jeff Poe who has fished Lake
Calcasieu, near Lake Charles, Louisiana, for more than 20 years. His wife
Mary, also a licensed captain and guide, has fished the lake all of her
life. We'll look at the type fish that you can catch at Lake Calcasieu
-- a huge saltwater lake off the Gulf of Mexico -- and Poe will tell us
how to catch them.
QUESTION: Why are there so many speckled trout, redfish
and flounder in Lake Calcasieu?
POE: The lake is loaded with pogies, shrimp, glass minnows, finger mullet
and other bait that these fish eat. The 52,000-acre lake adjoins the Gulf
of Mexico and has a tremendous saltwater-marsh estuary on the backside
of the lake. Plus, the numerous oyster beds in the lake help create ideal
habitat for many of the inshore species. The average water depth is 6
How do you fish Lake Calcasieu?
POE: There are several different methods of fishing the lake. The first
method is to look for slicks. When trout feed, they often eat pogies or
shrimp and then regurgitate what they eat. The oil that is in the body
of the fish they have eaten creates a slick on the surface. These slicks
indicate where the fish hold. By approaching these slicks with my Minn
Kota trolling motor, then cutting off my trolling motor and drifting to
the slicks, we don't spook the trout and often can catch quite a number
of fish from each slick. If the slicks occur on an oyster reef, the fish
usually will hold in one spot, and you can sit in that spot and catch
all the fish you want to catch. But if the slicks are in open water, that
means the trout are moving. Once you determine the direction the trout
are going, you move with them to continue to catch fish. Often, if the
schools of trout are moving, they'll move into the tide.
How do you approach a slick?
POE: I get on the up-current or up-wind side, and at 200 to 300 yards
away from the slick, I shut down my big engine. Then, I use my Minn Kota
trolling motor to get closer to the slick. I try and cut my trolling motor
off while my customers and me cast in the slick. If the fish are moving,
I use the trolling motor to keep up with the fish. The trout always will
be out in front of the slick.
QUESTION: What baits are you going to be casting to the
POE: I usually will fish a Mirr-O-Lure Top Dog or a She Dog, or I'll throw
soft plastics, like Norton's Sand Eel, a Bass Assassin or a DOA shrimp.
QUESTION: How do you make the decision as to whether
to throw top-water lures or soft-plastic lures?
POE: Most of the time, you can catch the fish on either. The angler decides
which way he prefers to catch his trout -- on top where they can see the
fish blow up on the lure or with soft plastics where the fish takes the
bait under that water. If the trout hug the bottom, we'll stay with our
soft plastics. But if we see trout busting bait on the surface, many times
we'll throw the top-water lures.
What type rod, reel and line do you use?
POE: I like a Waterloo Rod with a Shimano Curado bait-casting reel. But
we also have spinning reels for anglers who prefer to fish with spinning
QUESTION: What type of retrieve do you use when you cast
into a slick?
POE: We let the trout tell us the way they want the bait. Most of the
time, we'll twitch and shake the bait. If I fish a top-water lure, like
a She Dog, I'll use a steady walking retrieve until I get a bite. I may
switch and start using a stop/start-type of retrieve. When I'm fishing
soft plastics, the trout almost always take the bait as it is falling.
For more information on fishing Lake Calcasieu, contact
Captains Jeff or Mary Poe with Big Lake Guide Service at (337) 598-3268,
or go to www.biglakeguideservice.com.
TOMORROW: FISHING THE BIRDS FOR TROUT