“What the heck are they using,” asked Oscar Vilma after spending the better part of an hour watching two young fishermen just wear the trout out. Obviously frustrated, he posed the question in slightly stronger words, but the message was clear.He had seen enough.

While they were catching fish virtually every cast, Oscar was changing lures virtually every cast and we had four only keepers in the box when his wife, Tina, asked in a serious tone of voice, “Do you have any frozen shrimp?”It was still early in the day, but my clients were already entertaining mutinous thoughts!

We were the only other boat on the entire flat and a couple of hundred yards east of the them, but I knew that we were drifting the same depth of water over the same type structure.I was also not as keyed into what color or what lure they were using as I was their speed of retrieve.For the better part of a month we had been forced to crawl plastic tails over the shell in order to catch any trout at all and they were fishing their lures at a much quicker pace.

I couldn’t leave an area that was obviously holding hungry trout, but I was very much on the clock and needed to figure something out in a hurry.It was time to undo what I spent the first twenty minutes of the trip instructing them to do.While Oscar simply started retrieving his four inch Sea Shad a little quicker, I tied a watermelon Lil’ John on two feet of line under a cork and handed it to Tina.

She was still undoing a minor backlash when a rat red buried her cork.She no sooner got it back in the water than a small keeper trout went airborne and destroyed the plastic tail in the process.I replaced it with a Sea Shad in the same color and two more quick keepers got the best of Oscar.I tied the same set up on his line and we motored back to repeat our drift.

The difference in catching and not catching had apparently been all about keeping our lures in the top column of water.I fished the same color Diedapper on a Bass Assassin Swim Bait hook and caught fish on the second drift as well when I wasn’t netting their fish.We finished with seventeen solid trout and released at least that many more before the heat and a flat lake proved to be too uncomfortable for the couple.

I was pleased to catch those trout before my party mutinied, but I was equally pleased to find some trout that weren’t dead on the bottom for a change.I have also now fished the new Assassin Swim jig hook enough to buy into the fact that I can fish every paddle tail grub in my arsenal exactly like a Swim bait.Unlike with conventional jig heads, paddle tail plastics now swim upright and don’t roll over on a slow steady retrieve.I prefer the one eighth ounce model over the quarter ounce, but that may change as well when fishing deeper water.

If I am going to start the day with a Swim Bait, I still opt for the Usual Suspect as my first choice, but this new hook enables me to not only fish more colors, but a larger plastic body as well.The five inch Diedapper and five inch paddle tail Sea Shad rigged on the Swim Hook adequately fill that need and both work well with the 1/8^th ounce version as it is built on a 3/0 hook.

I no longer fish tournaments, but there are plenty to fish this summer for folks that enjoy the competition as much as the catching.Simon Outfitters hosts a weekly bass tournament on the river and the Triangle Tail Chasers offer their members a chance to chase redfish for money as well.

If you want to fish in a tournament that affords you the opportunity to win everything from boat, motor and trailers to $50,000 scholarships every time you go fishing across the summer, then you need to sign up for the CCA S.T.A.R. tournament today.Not only can the kids win as well, but the modest entry fee is a small investment in the promise of even better fishing trips for years to come.The CCA has literally become the voice of all saltwater anglers over the years.

Anyone that chases bass on Toledo Bend also has a chance to earn a nice check for catching the right bass every day through September 7^th .A ten pound plus bass will earn you anywhere from five hundred to five thousand dollars as will one of the 100 tagged bass that were released prior to May 1^st . You can sign up by going to the tournament web site atwww.basscashback.com <http://www.basscashback.com>.

The fastest growing saltwater tournament in the state takes place the last weekend of July and it is one that Sabine anglers do not want to miss. The “Cops helping Kids” affair is a benefit event hosted by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Association that gives back to the community while catering to its entrants like no other. The auction, door prizes and steak dinner at the Captain’s meeting are worth the entry fee alone, but there is a lot of money up for grabs as well. For more information, you can check out their web site atwww.copshelpingkids.com.

The following weekend, John Thomas and the folks at OCARC will host the longest running benefit tournament in this part of the state for the umpteenth consecutive year.This is truly a family oriented affair and aside from prize money awarded the winning fishermen all of the proceeds go to support the center.

I personally favor the benefit tourneys, but having an opportunity to win money every time you go fishing adds a little more excitement to every bite.Even if you are just looking to enjoy one more fish fry…… take the kids fishing this summer and be safe!