At Capt. Mary's suggestion, we rescheduled our Big Lake trout trip for a day that turned out to be as pretty as the canceled date was the opposite. A rare Thursday vacation for the Ryan boys and Mr. 10% landed us in the 22 foot Pathfinder of Capt. Daryl McGuffie of Big Lake Guide Service yesterday morning.

There was just the slightest ripple as Capt. Daryl killed the engine and began to drift just 10 minutes from the dock. Coogan and I, being die hard "against the bank" fishermen, had our doubts about throwing Top Dogs in water 7 feet deep in the middle of the lake, but the next two hours of surprising and violent explosions changed our attitudes considerably.

We first hooked up to about a half-dozen redfish who cruised over the reef in in the dawn sunshine. Later, the specks smashed the topwaters, and we were soon embrioled in a "triple hookup" of 20+ inch trout. The fishing was not red hot, but it was consistent. Every time it slowed enough that Capt. Daryl reached to pull the anchor, "Ka-sloosh!" another solid whack at the Top Dogs.

We briefly left anchorage to drift upon some slicks. Now, I had never had any success finding or fishing slicks before, but sure enough, any cast withhin 5 feet of the newly-formed slicks produced a huge blow up from a lurking red or speck. Coogan hooked up a nice red, and after a five minute fight brought it to the boat. The red had 2 "wingmen" following him, and McQueen dropped a top dog in front of them, not 5 feet from the boat. As I watched, and Capt. Darryl expertly filmed this event, a 12lb redfish peeled off from his mates and blasted McQueen's Top Dog. For a moment, pandemonium reigned, as Coogan and McQueen tried to sort out the tangle, and I hooted amazement from the stern. All told we caught two dozen fat specks, between 19 and 26 inches. All the fish were released after posing for pictures. McQueen had one over 5 and one at 6.25, which won him a Top Dog from myself and one from Coogan. Add in 15 or so nice redfish, and it was a very satisfying day on th e water. It was great to not have to clean fish at the end of the trip. Many thanks to Capt. Mary Poe for hooking us up with Capt. Daryl, and for giving us exactly what we wanted, big trout on topwater lures.

Capt. Daryl is one of the fine guides with Big Lake Guide Service on Calcasieu Lake in Southwestern Louisiana. You can book a trip with Capt. Daryl through I would recommend him to anyone. I can also vouch that Jeff and Mary Poe run a first class guide operation to go along with Big Lake's first class trout fishery. We will be back for another run at the S.T.A.R. leaderboard in 2002!