There are few guarantees if any when it comes to trout fishing in the winter. You can expect to stay cold and wet all day, the wind is going to whistle from the wrong direction, and you hope for a few swings at best in eight hours of fishing. Now, does that sound like fun or what?

For those reasons alone, the following words will be of interest to my mom, only because she will read this column simply because I wrote it, Gene Locke because his picture’s in the paper, and that small contingency of hard core anglers looking for one big trout. Simply put … “Chasing big trout in the winter is not for everyone!”

Friday morning was too cold to fish even for people that love to fish, but there we were plowing across the lake at daylight in hopes of catching one more big trout for a picture. Gene was all bundled up with his silly looking, but supposedly warm, Sgt, Preston of the Yukon hat pulled tight against his cheeks while I silently questioned leaving my gloves at home.

As I slowed to a stop, he tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Did you see that slick back there?” I wasn’t expecting to see any slicks with a surface temperature of 51 degrees, but there it was forty yards behind us. By the time I could get the troll motor down, another one popped up within casting range and Gene lobbed a Catch V in the middle of the oily circle.

He hadn’t made two turns on the reel handle when a big trout started peeling off line. We eventually got it alongside the boat, but not into the boat. I never even offered to get the net, but I poor mouthed his ability to land the fish nonetheless. Two casts later, a five-pound trout intercepted my Catch V and Gene slid the net under her in spite of my ugly ways.

I missed my next strike about the same time Gene stuck an even larger trout. I netted his fish that time without being asked and we had our day made in the first hour. Eight hours later, however, we were still on the water and the wait paid off. In the final minutes of daylight we both enjoyed the ultimate reward for standing waist deep in frigid water and making hundreds of fruitless casts.

Once again, it was a Catch V that the heavyweight trout swam through schools of mullet to eat. Both trout were easily 7 to 8- pound class fish and Gene’s had the length to be even larger. A couple of photographs and the fish were back swimming with the mullet no worse for their brief battles.

We had the best conditions we could have hoped for all last month, excluding the wind, and the result has been an excellent run on big trout. The keys have been no extended cold weather and very little runoff from local rain or the lakes. In the month of January alone we caught 13 trout at least 27-inches long. We released all but one, an 8.68-pound trout that still had some disappointed angler’s lure lodged in the roof of her mouth!

At least for me and my clients, this action is the exception rather than the rule. We did not catch this many big trout in the past three years combined. I may well have given up on Sabine too early in the past as we spent a lot of time on Big Lake, but staying home has paid off this year.

I also attribute it to the fact that we have stuck with the Catch V, 2000, Mirrodine XL, and Corky and fished nothing else. We have also thoroughly fished smaller areas and paid close attention to surface temperatures. I am convinced that staying put is the ultimate key to locking horns with a big trout.

I have caught several big trout on a Corky, but if I had to pick only one lure to fish on Sabine, regardless of conditions, it would still be the Catch V. The last three trips Gene has scouted with me, he has boated two or more big trout on each occasion with his favorite Catch V. I have customers catch fish with the Catch V or the smaller 2000 on days when they cannot get a bite on anything else.

I had a group for two days recently that climbed out of their SUV with a sack full of Corkies. The first day I caught nine trout and they caught one between them. The second day they fished only Catch V’s and 2000s and caught 14 trout. I didn’t fish at all, but I got to do a lot of netting.

We still have at least a month of miserable weather to go for those of you that now feel like you possibly missed out on something special. I can’t help you with the cold part, but if you want a shot at a big trout, you need to tie on a Catch V, stay put in the warmest water you can find, and keep on casting!