SWIMBAITS RESEMBLING TROUT CAN SCORE BIG FISH By Bill Schaefer
SAN DIEGO—It is that time of year when a lot of the Southern California lakes plant trout for the benefit of fishermen.
Usually, winter in the Southland can bring difficult fishing for largemouth. But who do the trout benefit more, the trout fishermen or the bass fishermen? Now that most bass anglers have adapted to winter fishing by using trout imitation lures, it’s anyone’s ball game.
Some lures look so real they look like a taxidermist made them. When thousands of pounds of trout stream into the lakes at planting time, it’s like a dinner bell went off. If you’ve ever seen it, it’s hard to believe there are any trout left when they are done.
The trout plants wake a lake up and the normally sleepy larger fish are now on the prowl for an easy meal. That’s where the trout swimbait lures come in. They just attract giant bass. You may not get a giant every time you go out, but if you put in the time, you will eventually score a record for yourself. It may be cold and rainy or sunny and warm, but it seems like the transition right before a storm – and maybe just into the storm – is the time to score bass.
For lures, the list is endless now that the swimbait explosion has taken place over the last several years. There are inexpensive lures to ones only a few can afford, but many in between that will work well.
Sizes vary from 4 inches to a 2-pound rainbow trout. If the lure looks like a trout or close to it, they will work. Do a little homework and find out what the lake you’re planning to fish is going to plant; this will help with color selection. Most lakes plant rainbows, so a variation on this will do well. Throw parallel to the shoreline, as most trout will cruise along the shore and the bass will use the shallows to trap them.
For the heavier trout lures, a medium-heavy to heavy triggerstick will do the trick. Load it with a heavily braided line like the new Maxima braid in the 50- to 60-pound range and a fluorocarbon leader of at least 30 pounds. You don’t want to throw that expensive lure into the lake after a few casts. Always keep checking your line as well for nicks or cuts. The tackle can match the lure size you are throwing. It will wear you out a bit, but just keep thinking of the reward and the adrenaline rush you will get with a giant catch! CS