Local Fishing: Capt. Dickie Colburn
RAT-L-TRAPS COVER ALL THE BASES
Over the years I have thrown everything from unweighted tails to Corkies under a popping cork when wade fishing, but until this past week I had never tied on a Rat-L-Trap when stalking big trout.Not that it worked because we never caught the first trout with one, but my two clients caught redfish until Carter Sensat finally cried, “Uncle.”
I still haven’t personally caught the first fish on a Trap while wading, but only because I stayed with a Corky Fat Boy the entire time.The game changed when the redfish crashed the party and interrupted a slow, but steady trout bite on fish up to four pounds.Unwilling to allow one more red to mangle his last Fat Boy, Darrel Pence cut it off and tied on a more durable half ounce Rat-L-Trap.
Carter watched him immediately start catching and releasing slot reds until he could no longer stand it and waded back to the boat to dig one out of a box of mine.It was a half ounce model and close to the same color and that proved to be good enough for both Carter and the rampaging redfish.
I have to believe that they caught some of those fish more than once as the bite never slowed down, but every fish pulled drag like it was their first mistake.I did manage to catch two more trout as well as more reds on my Corky while all of this was taking place, but never got the first shot at the sow trout I was looking for.
It is no revelation for anglers in this area that a redfish will track down and kill a Rat-L-Trap, especially for those that spend more time fishing the river and bayous than the lake.They throw spinner baits and plastic frogs as well when dealing with scattered grass, but most of them prefer to hunt reds with a Trap or a shallow diving square bill crankbait.
There is no telling how many redfish Capt. Chuck Uzzle and Chris Gunn caught fishing the river with Traps prior to Chuck deciding to start a guide business and share his boat and knowledge with paying clients.Chris, on the other hand, chose to continue fishing only when he wanted to fish, but the Rat-L-Trap is still his “go to” bait.
How confident is Gunn that the Trap remains his best option for duping redfish?I was talking with him at the launch only last week and while in the process of discussing a hot stretch of shoreline he stated, “I don’t get to fish nearly as much as I’d like to and I am always afraid that the redfish might be biting and I’d never know it if I was fishing with anything other than a Rat-L-Trap!”
While the afore-mentioned shallow diving crankbaits don’t cast as easily as the Trap and don’t effectively fish deeper water, they are absolutely lethal when fished around hard structure lining the shoreline like bulkheads, retaining walls and partially submerged cypress knees.If you fish one long enough you will not only catch reds, but specks and bass as well.
The benefits of fishing a square bill have not eluded the makers of the Rat-L-Trap and they have now added the Echo 1.75 in 15 different colors to their fish catching arsenal.I have already caught several nice trout on both the Sexy Chrome and Ghost Minnow patterns.
This is not to infer that speckled trout will not readily ambush a Rat-L-Trap.I don’t throw them a great deal when chasing trout exclusively, but I rely on input from a lot of excellent recreational fishermen that just wear the trout out with the lipless crankbait.Not surprisingly, they all have their favorite colors and the majority of them rely on a half ounce model.
I don’t know that I had ever thrown a Trap at a trout before fishing with Gerald Jones many years back.He not only knew more about fooling flounder with an ultra-light rod and small jigs than the rest of us, but also knew that the trout in Sabine Lake would eat a Trap as long as it was pearl with pink eyes.I’ve since caught trout on any number of different colors, but I never beat him and his pearl Trap with any other color!
I undoubtedly don’t fish the Trap as much as I should because I fish soft plastic Swim Baits so much.The Swim bait works a little better on flounder as well and has a smaller profile, but what it doesn’t have that the Rat-L-Trap does is an internal rattle chamber and that subtle noise can be every bit as important as profile or color.
I may not ever tie a Rat-L-Trap on the end of my line when wading, but I will never fish fresh or saltwater without a wide selection of the proven lipless crankbaits on board.They are user-friendly for both the novice and professional angler and the only mistake you can make with them is failing to tie one on!