John's Journal... Entry 252, Day 5
FLEET FISHING EQUALS MORE FISH IN THE BOX
Biddy's Top-Water Baits
Editor's Note: Captain Ronnie Biddy, a fisherman for his entire life and today a guide at Hackberry Rod and Gun Club in Hackberry, Louisiana, near Lake Charles, has guided on Lake Calcasieu for 11 years. Today, Biddy will share his favorite top-water baits and techniques.
One of the most-exciting ways to catch speckled trout and redfish at Lake Calcasieu near Lake Charles is on top-water baits like MirrOlure's She Dog, and Heddon's Zara Spook. "My favorite colors are bone-and-black and chartreuse," Biddy explains. "I cast those top-water lures out, and by twitching my rod tip, I make the lures walk back and forth in a walk-the-dog-type motion. When I cast the She Dog out, I'll let it hit the water and sit still. Then I'll retrieve the bait quickly, regardless of what the fish does. I've had trout blow up on a top-water bait five or six times before it ever gets back to the boat, and still not get the hooks in their mouth. Most anglers make the mistake of trying to set the hook on the strike and not on the feel when they fish for trout using top-water lures. They'll try to set the hook when they see the fish blow up on the bait instead of waiting until they feel the fish on the end of their line. I believe the best way to fish a top-water bait or trout is to be blindfolded. That way you'll only set the hook when you feel the fish because you won't be able to see him attack the bait. When you fish top-water lures for trout, imagine you're fishing plastic underwater lures, and don't set the hook until you feel the fish. Often, I'll stop the bait after a fish explodes on the lure and doesn't get it because the trout will then attack the lure as soon as I start it moving."
Many anglers have problems fishing big top-water lures because a trout often will throw the bait after it's hooked. To prevent this problem from occurring, Biddy recommends that you keep your line tight from the time you strike the fish until the fish is laying safely in the dip net. Although Biddy will be the first to say that top-water baits will catch fewer trout than subsurface lures will, he's quick to explain that, "You usually will catch bigger trout on top-water lures than you do on soft-plastic baits. On plastic lures, the average trout you take will be about 18-inches long. On top-water lures, the average trout you catch will generally weigh 2 to 4 pounds. This isn't to say plastic lures won't catch big trout, because we catch big trout on plastic lures every day, too."
A typical day of fishing out of Hackberry Rod and Gun begins at daylight when the fishermen meet their guide and leave the docks. "We usually will run to four or five different reefs during a day of fishing. We eat our lunch in the boat and return to the dock about 2:00 p.m." When I asked Biddy why he liked being a fishing guide, he laughed and said, "I used to be a roofer, and being able to go out fishing every day instead of being on a hot roof every day is a much better life." Biddy works 250 to 300 days a year as both a fishing guide and a duck-hunting guide, and I asked him how he always stays excited about fishing and hunting, putting in that many days a year as a guide. "When I get mentally or physically down I just say to myself, 'Biddy, if you don't like this job, you can go back to being a roofer.' When I think about roofing, I realize how good my job is and how much I enjoy it," Biddy explains.
To learn more about how to catch more speckled trout, redfish and flounder at Lake Calcasieu or to book a trip, go to www.hackberryrodandgun.com or call (337) 762-3391.