For The Record-  Capt Dickie Colburn

The wind was blowing a little harder than we would have liked and the rain that was forecast to have already passed was still hanging around when I shut the big engine down.We had already made a pretty big round checking out the effects of all of the runoff and, much to our surprise, the water was dirtier on the west side of the lake than the east.
Austin Lejeune pointed in the direction of a small group of terns pecking at the surface and, more importantly, working over a very small area.When we eased up within casting range it was apparent that they were working along the edge of the tide line and one side was much clearer than the other.
I never saw the first bait fish or small shrimp skip across the surface, but Austin’s ridiculously long cast with a chartreuse Softdine immediately produced a jolting strike.“A red, no doubt”, he shouted, “but any bite is a good bite in these conditions.”
The big fish pulled a few yards of line off his reel before shaking her head just above the surface.“Get the net,” he excitedly urged while making a run for the front deck of the boat.“This is a big trout and I haven’t caught a big trout in over a year.”It was indeed a very nice trout that probably weighed a tad over six pounds.Austin’s hands were still shaking even after releasing his big trout.
“How do you explain that,” he asked with no expectation of my answering him. I’ve been wading since the first week of November and I had to drive out in the middle of the lake and fish under liar birds to catch a good trout!”We worked another hundred yards of the distinct color change before Lejeune pointed out that our birds were back in the same place.
This time, however, they were working over slot reds and lots of them.Rather than allow them to lay waste to our more valuable Softdines, we tied on Usual Suspect Swim baits and the action continued at the same furious pace.“I would tie on a Hoginar,” barked Austin, “but you can’t catch them any faster than this anyway.”
And so the afternoon went.I don’t know what time it actually quit raining, but the fish never quit biting.We lost touch with our school of reds, but thanks to the terns we found a school of trout working in the dirtier water near the Intracoastal.Most of the trout were undersized, but Austin managed to keep his limit of 16 to 19-inch trout.
We never caught another big trout, but I did hook a strong fish that pulled off of a black-chartreuse She Dog that we never got to see.It fought like a big trout, but that could have been a case of wishful thinking.Austin also missed one more trout in the 4 to 5 pound class that blew up on his clown colored Super Spook.
The trout that we caught over the last couple of hours of daylight bit everything we tied on which has not been the case for us of late.We have been forced to downsize to three inch Swim Baits and shorter plastic tails like the Sea Shad and Lil’ John.These fish ate five inch Assassins and Split Tail Mullets just as quickly even when fished under a cork.
By the time we left the lake there were small groups of terns pecking as far as we could see, but it was too late to check them out.As more runoff reaches the lake this pattern could all change, but it was reassuring to catch not only more, but better trout as well.
On a safety note, there is another big floater between Middle and East Pass that I initially thought was wedged in the bottom.It apparently isn’t as it is now closer to the gas rigs.Slow down, keep an eye out and don’t forget about the other piling right in the middle of East Pass.They are both large enough to cause serious damage should you run up on either of them!
Even if there is no rain in the forecast, don’t leave your Frogg Toggs at home.They are easily your most appreciated piece of equipment on that first chilly boat ride and light enough to be worn all day. They also take up very little space on those days when you able to start peeling off extra layers of clothing.