Fundamentally, how I targeted bigger trout came on the Eastern shoreline of Four Horse Lake in the Delacroix, Louisiana estuary in November 2003. That particular day, my best friend and long-time fishing partner, Brandon Treadaway, handed me at the time a “new” Catch 5 made by MirrOlure and the rest was history. We proceeded to catch a beautiful limit of healthy speckled trout at the mouth of a drain from an interior marsh bayou. Bait and other forage gracefully poured from the delta pantry and the trout, willing to be gluttonous, appreciated our offering.
So why am I telling you this?
Simple, I haven’t used a Catch 5 since 2012 and honestly I’m not sure why. It, as well as other tried and true MirrOlure products, etched their way into the lure making industry, and became the cornerstone for many of the newer companies seeking the same. Lures like the Catch 5, Catch 2000, Catch Jr. and 52 MR proved pivotal for many of us “artificial only” guys. Yet for some reason, we’ve lost sight of their productivity, or at least I have. That is until I came across a Jacksonville, Florida native Eddie Cabler.
Like many of you, Eddie is a follower of the page and chooses to humbly rests in the shadows of our community, despite being incredibly productive and well respected as an angler in that area. Seeking to learn more, we shared “follows” on Instagram and after about 30 seconds scanning pictures of huge trout, you can see why he’s been featured on TV and in many fishing magazines. One thing I found interesting though was his lure selection. In the majority of his pictures, Catch 2000’s and others from “The Forgotten” hang delicately from the toothy yellow canvas of a gator trout. In an effort to better understand his lure choice we exchanged messages, to which he gave me permission to share in this article. Additionally, I reached out to another close friend and personally admired angler from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Captain Glenn Ellis, because of his unwavering commitment to throwing these baits. Not only has he continued his success, but many of our outings together were spent using these baits. Also, I feel by having 2 perspectives leads to better understanding and hopefully, for me, reimplementation of these classics.
The 52 MR, by definition, is a sinking twitchbait. Verfied both by Eddie, Glenn and MirrOlure’s website, the bait sinks about a 1’/second, weighs a 1/2oz and is 3 5/8” long. With the line eyelet on top of the baits head, its design is to fish greater than 3’ of water with a horizontal decent. For this particular lure, Eddie uses a 6’9” Fenwick Work Class Rod with an Abu Garcia SX Spooled with 30lb Spiderwire Invisabraid tipped with a 4’ piece of 15lb flourocarbon leader (no preference). Optimal conditions he likes to throw this bait are in water temps ranging from 45 to 55 degrees. He then stated that one of key characteristics to fishing this lure is what it doesn’t do. Eddie feels that the minimal action this bait provides mimics the mood of the fish and baitfish in his estuary. “I retrieve this lure extremely slow, and every couple of cranks, I’ll give it just the slightest pop.” He compares this lure to a freshwater glidebait, and feels most confident when fish are sitting deeper in the water column (6-12’). Capt Glenn concurs, but states that he gives a little more action to the bait, “simply to add a little more flash.”
Catch 2000 & Catch Jr.
These baits were and still are fish catching machines. Both listed under the “Classics” tab on MirrOlure’s website the Catch 2000 is 3 ½” long and weighs the same as the 52 MR. The Catch Jr. is slightly less at 3” long and weighs 3/8 of an ounce. Designed to fish 3’ or less, it’s been “scientifically weighted to achieve neutral buoyancy at 10-16” in the water column. Shaped like mullets and targeting the part of water column mullets occupy it’s no wonder this bait has been a top producer for so long. Both Glenn and Eddie were quick to fire back and say that this is one of their favorite baits. They both throw them year round, but have found better success in certain times of the year. Eddie’s favorite time of the year is Spring – Fall vice Glenn’s which is November – April. They both distinctly stated they feel like they can “aggravate a fish” into eating their offering. In their preferred times, they both employ profound twitch cadences with notable pauses. Eddie stated that he almost “dead sticks” the bait after his cadence and urged that’s often when they hit it (when it’s sitting still). Glenn, verbatim, said the same thing but he called it “hovering”. Both feel that the bait is overlooked by many inshore anglers mainly due to the birth of the 17MR (MirrOdine), and personally, I can attest to that being true. But it still doesn’t discount the specific job the Catch 2000 can employ, and that is to fish skinny and imitate mullet.
The Catch 5 is a little younger in production than the aforementioned, but like the other 2 has fallen by the wayside for me as an angler. With a great profile (3 ½”) and weight (3/4oz) the versatility of this bait is truly endless. As mentioned in my opening story, 2003 was the first time I tied a loop knot to catch 5 and although I don’t use it currently, it’s good to know it’s still producing across state lines. For Eddie, he primarily throws it in the late summer and fall. Glenn, on the other hand, uses it all year especially at night or in off-colored water. He correlates its production to the sound and profile or when conditions aren’t exactly perfect. Eddie did have one absolute and that is he never throws it in the winter. Glenn will still throw in some wintertime situations, but his technique changes entirely. Instead of twitching it in cold water situations, he’ll just straight retrieve very slowly and let the “wobble” produce flash. All in all though, they both ensure a catch 5 is part of their arsenal, and encourage us to do the same.
WRAPPING IT ALL UP
The old adage, fishing lures are designed to catch fisherman and not fish, truly applies to me in this case. My angling ambitions to find the “next best thing” has caused me to lose confidence in the very baits that helped me develop as a junior angler. Fortunately, like most things do, our re connection has come full circle. In the next couple of months as I wait to move back to the TX Coast, I’ll reemerge these baits from their dusty bins and reflect on my forgotten fishing memories of when I once used them. I’m certain I’ll employ a pair of split ring pliers to change the rusty gnarled hooks earmarking their productive past. And, during that time, I’ll reflect on trips with those that helped me along the way. So, in an effort to encourage you to not make the same mistake I did, remember where you came from and never forget what was once forgotten.
Tight Lines and God Bless!