Now for most people the thought of chasing fish in the months of Jan. and Feb. seems a little on the foreign side, even crazy at times. The cold water and dreary days don’t really motivate the casual angler like bright skies and springtime conditions when everybody wants get on the water. Well the calendar has now become our friend and the good days are outnumbering the bad.

If you are thinking about tackling trout or redfish any time soon, you need to be properly armed with an assortment of proven fish producing lures. Along with the lures, it’s paramount that you also dress appropriately and take all the necessary precautions to stay safe in the unpredictable spring time conditions. Here’s a list of some of the proven big fish producing plugs that no late winter or early spring fisherman should leave the dock without.

Perhaps the most famous plug along the gulf coast for early spring fishing is the B and L Corky. This plug is responsible for the state record trout on rod and reel caught by Jim Wallace which tipped the scales at 13 pounds and 11 ounces. The legend of the Corky has spread with each huge trout that falls for this super subtle and ultra life-like bait. The standard Corky is made of rubber and has a wire body inside that connects the two treble hooks. The density of the rubber gives the plug a slow sink rate that tantalizes saltwater fish much in the same way that a whacky worm works on largemouth bass; they just can’t stand to see it flutter through the water column. The Corky comes in different sizes, colors and variations so each angler undoubtedly has a favorite model.

My personal choice is the Corky Devil; this plug has the same front half of the regular Corky with a smaller back half that turns into a tail. The Corky Devil also has only one treble hook, which makes unhooking fish a little bit easier, especially when they really crush the lure and get it down in their throat. You can work this plug with slow steady retrieves or violent shakes then letting the plug flutter down towards the bottom, both styles work. The Corky is definitely a first team member of the spring fishing squad.

Another potent plug you can add to the list is the Mirrolure Catch 2000 and the Catch 5. These plugs are also slow sinking plugs that imitate mullet and catch their share of fish. The Catch series of plugs are hard plastic bodies, which make them durable, and there is no tuning necessary to keep them running true. The catch series of plugs are great for folks who lack the confidence or technique to throw the Corky because they are really user friendly and produce some outstanding catches.

Speaking of cold weather, you can bet that it’s not gone for good, especially in Texas. This time of the year it is a must that you dress correctly and take into account all the different conditions. Just because it’s sunny doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way all day. How many times have I seen a wild spring front roll into an area and drop the temperatures dramatically and leave folks in shorts or bathing suits scampering for shelter and heavier clothes? Many anglers I know have gone from neoprene waders to breathable models for the ease of motion they provide. That’s well and good, but they offer no insulation from the cold water. So, be sure to layer your clothing underneath. Thermal underwear, fleece or wool are the best bets to stay warm while wearing breathable waders.

Another tip for this time of the year is to bring along a whole spare set of clothes in case you get wet for whatever reason. The effort it takes to bring them will seem small when you can put them on and shed the wet ones. Also some sort of wind proof jacket, slicker suit or poncho is always handy to have on the boat in case someone gets wet and doesn’t have extra clothes. The heavy slicker or poncho will help keep you warm and keep wind off of you during the boat ride.

Late winter and early spring fishing is an experience that can certainly change the way you think about this time of the year as long as you are prepared and take the necessary precautions. I promise if you catch that big fish you will certainly know what I mean.