“If you want to catch big fish, you’ve got to use big baits.” I wish I had a dime for every time I’ve heard some old salt give someone this piece of advice. I also wish I had that same dime for every time I’ve seen that advice pay off. Ok, we all know that if we want to catch trophy speckled trout and redfish, we have to put away our shrimptails and break out the big plugs. But which ones and what colors should we use? And where are the bigger fish hiding from us part time fishermen? To find out the answers to these questions, I went to the experts. And who would know better than two of Galveston’s best fishermen Captain Pat Murray and Captain Tim Young. Both are professional guides and were more than happy to lend me a hand in finding out which big lures work best for big fish. Captain Pat Murray, Murray’s Guide Service (713-668-0590)– Murray likes the Galveston bay complex and chooses to make his living in this area. ” I personally believe that the Galveston Bay System has the most diverse fishing for trophy fish of anywhere on the Texas coast.” “I prefer to wade the shorelines and bayous of East and West Bays, says Murray, The soft mud bottom in these areas attracts a great number of baitfish, thus the trophy sized trout and reds will also be in these same areas to feed on the larger baits.” Murray prefers a 51MR MirrOlure with Gold sides and Chartreuse back and belly, which produced a nice 30 inch 8.5 pound trout for him last year, or a Bone colored Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow. “If I have someone in a group that can’t quite get the knack of working a Jumpin’ Minnow, I will usually have them tie on a topwater Mirrolure, Broken-Back Redfin, or Storm ThunderStick. All three can be worked as slowly as necessary and have such great action that even beginners can catch fish and they can be much easier to use than some other plugs.” Captain Tim Young, Texas Guides-Sport Fish and Game (713-427-1697)– Young primarily fishes in Galveston’s East and Trinity bays and is well known for consistently catching quality sized speckled trout. “I use several different plugs when we’re hunting trophy trout, says Young, but which one I use at any given time is determined by the action of the natural bait in the water. I like to refer to these plugs (Storm ThunderStick and Jointed-ThunderStick, Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow, and the B&L Corky) as “Situation Baits” because they fit into the different situations such as bait activity and water color. The only problem that some fisher-men have with the ThunderStick is that, after throwing a Jumper all day, they can’t get the same distance.” “When the bait is moving around nervously on the surface, Tim says, I’ll usually start out throwing a Jumpin’ Minnow. But, he continues, if the fish are swirling at the plug and not taking it, I’ll switch to the ThunderStick.” Young says he prefers the Storm lure in these cases since it will dive slightly to the shallow running bait and stay in the strike area longer. As for color, Young says in off-color conditions a chartreuse works best because it stands out in the darker water, but when the water is clear a silver/black-back ThunderStick or G-finish silver Jumpin’ Minnow. As you may have noticed, our two expert fishermen may like the same lures, but have slightly different techniques and ideas on what tips them off to where the fish are located. However, their favorite big fish lures all have a couple of things in common. They all weigh between 1/2 and 5/8 ounces and are approximately 5 to 6 inches in length. They also resemble the favorite food of all trophy sized bay fish, the ever present mullet. One other strategy that seems to repeat itself with our experts is that to consistently catch big fish, you have to leave the boat and wade into the shallows. After all, what better way to hunt for a trophy than to get down it’s own back yard.
– Texas Saltwater Fishing Guide