Just for a moment, put yourself in the shoes (OK, OK – fins) of a big speckled trout. You’ve been relaxing in a mud flat in the East Matagorda bay. Finally, what you’ve been waiting for comes to pass; the light starts to peek through winter cloud cover, warming the shallows where you’ve been waiting out the winter.
You move through the waters of the mud flat looking for a familiar landmark; you soon come across that mud patch abutting a shell pad where you’ve spent some good times in your life, eating your fill of big shrimp and finger mullet by the hundreds.
You take up your favored feeding spot right where the mud meets the shell bed, watching the water above you for signs of a meal. You spot a delicious looking six inch mullet at two o’ clock and get ready to spring into action.
Immediately, you propel at full speed and attack; exploding the waters surface. The six-inch mullet is devoured instantly and lays to rest in the yellow interior of your mouth. You slowly sink back to the warmth of the mud bottom.
Soon after, a wobbling, wounded-looking mullet pierces the water’s surface, several feet away. Vibrant in color, the four inch bait fish gently dances, flaunting its dazzling body as it sinks leisurely through the water column.
Your spotted body jumps back into attack mode and seals the wounded mullet’s fate. Only this time the mullet fought back.
A fierce head shake hurls the previous 6-inch mullet from your jaws; but the invisible, pulling force never ceases. You grow tired and succumb to the grip of a Boga at your lip.
“It’s gotta be at least ten pounds!” someone exclaims.
Two other people come up and look you over approvingly. You think you see the flash of a camera.
Then it’s over as quickly as it began and you’re back in the water, free but utterly exhausted.
“Courtesy of a Corky Fatboy!” is faintly heard as you dash back to the warming protection of your feeding ground.
Of course, trophy trout don’t actually understand what we’re saying (do they?). Otherwise, they’d be well aware that being fooled by that lure was the fulfillment of an angler’s fondest wish.
After James Wallace caught that famous record breaking speck, the news got out in fishing reports in no time and trout fishers everywhere started to use Corky slow sinking soft baits just like Wallace had used. With their wobbly broken-back motion and a size about that of a topwater, these saltwater fishing lures can be just what a big speckled trout is looking for when used with a slow retrieve.
“James Wallace really grew our business with that catch,” says B&L Corky founder Paul Brown. “Once the word got out, we were sold out of each and every Corky almost instantly.” Of course, Corky saltwater fishing lures are still the hottest item at this family owned Houston shop, as they have been since that famous catch.
Captain Mike McBride, a fishing guide in Port Mansfield is a man who knows Corkys well and uses these lures along with his own one of a kind retrieve to land speckled trout on the lower Texas coast.
“You’ll definite work Corkys a little different depending where you are on the coast, but personally I pop the knot off when I’m trying to keep the slack under control.” Against the common wisdom and frequent mentions in fishing reports, McBride doesn’t use the ultra slow technique, preferring to work his lure vigorously. “The point of a Corky is that it makes those unpredictable movements that realistically imitate prey,” McBride states.
Matagorda trophy trout guide Captain Jesse Arsola tells us that he has a specific technique for working Corkys saltwater fishing lures.
“When trout are aggressive they will nail anything; but when you have to work for them to bite, technique really comes into play.”
“I use a counting system when I fish with a Corky. It’s actually pretty simple. I count how many seconds until the lure hits bottom, then I try switching up the time I let it sink before I take the slack out of the line. Then I just figure out what count I’m on when I get the most bites. If there’s an easier way to tell where the specks are feeding in a water column, I haven’t found it yet.”
Captain John Havens, a tournament angler from Clear Lake, Texas favors chartreuse, white, and gold sided Corky Devil and a rather routine retrieve.
“Make sure to stay in contact with the lure at all times to feel the most subtle of bites.” When working a Corky Devil, Havens retrieves with a lift of the rod with one or two twitches before allowing the lure to fall.