Really Hammerin’ ‘Em

Sometimes it seemed to me that there were too many ways to fish for speckled trout. One mid winter night back in the late 50’s, my Dad and I were heading down to the mouth of the Colorado River to meet a neighbor, Dub Middleton, and expose me to another way to catch Mr. Spec, fishing under the lights.   We were headed to a nondescript, bait camp, near Matagorda, Texas, close to where the Colorado River empties into the Gulf of Mexico to fish for specs at night under some bright, flood lights.    This is the same Colorado that is in my post of May 11, 2009, [“The Salt Water Barrier”].

The principle was that the reflection of the lights on the water drew small fish and shrimp in to feed on the minute sea life and the abundance of small bait drew the larger predators, the trout. The action can be fast and furious, and finally, it was!

Starting about 8:30 PM, the three of us beat the water to a froth and to show for the effort, had only caught and released 4 small ones. At that point, Dub and I choose to take a nap on the couches inside the bait camp and two hours later, my Dad rushed in and woke both of us exclaiming, “Get up quick and come see all the fish!”

All the fish was right. The tide was beginning to come in and with it, bringing in stained, almost sandy, water, and in the reflection of the large lights, the water was dimpled by hundreds of specs slashing through the thousands of bait fish that were carried in by the tide!

Savoring the spectacle for maybe 5 seconds, our primal urges kicked in, and we began casting into the melee. Using a Tony Acetta #5, silver spoon, with a yellow buck tail attached, every one of my casts resulted in a hard hit and a spirited fight and resulted in a 1-1/2 to 2 pound trout flopping on the dock.

Left is my old Tony Acetta, #5, silver spoon, with the original, yellow, buck tail. This spoon is lighter than a Dixie Jet, and worked slow to medium, has a better flash. It was a perfect imitation of the bail fish the specs were feeding on. Over the years, the hook has been replaced several times, but his spoon is over 50 years old and has been used countless times, just be sure and wash them thoroughly in fresh water, and they will last a long time.

This action continued for about 30 minutes. Then, the tide changed heading back out toward the Gulf and with the change of the water movement, the bait and predator fish followed. As hot as the action was, it was all over now. Nothing remained except for us to ice down the fish, collect our tackle, bid adieu to the camp operator and start our 2 hour drive, back to West University.

At the time, my family didn’t have a freezer, so all of our friends and relatives enjoyed the fish we happily gave to them.