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John's Journal... Entry 156, Day 1


Captain Jeff Poe

EDITOR'S 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 feet.

QUESTION: 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.

QUESTION: 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 slick?
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.

QUESTION: 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 tackle.

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.




Check back each day this week for more SLICK FISHING FOR TROUT ...

Day 1 - Captain Jeff Poe
Day 2 - Fishing The Birds For Trout
Day 3 - Rooting Out Reds
Day 4 - How To Find And Catch Flounder In Lake Calcasieu
Day 5 - Double Dip Fish

John's Journal