The Record Newspapers - Hometown News For Orange County, Texas



Last updated 11/20/2018 at Noon

It could only happen to Andy Wright.I picked up the phone and even

before I could say “hello”, Andy was begging for a short trip on the

river.“Have you got even an hour open this afternoon,” he pleaded.“I am

headed to a job in Alabama and I would love to bounce a Hoginar off the

bottom one more time.”

A growing number of fishermen fish the bladed bait all year long, but

outside of throwing it at schooling redfish, I reserve the deadly little

bait for deep jigging in the bayous and the river from late October to

early March.That fact is not lost on Andy!

He was living in Port Arthur in the late 70’s when James Chargois was

kind enough to not only introduce us to the bait, but show us where and

how to fish it as well.He fished it deeper than anyone else at the time

and for that reason alone, seldom had to worry about anyone else fishing

his better spots.

Aside from one community hole that was too close to the launch to hide

and consistently drew a crowd when the stripers showed up, we considered

anything he had shown us to be off-limits.There was more than enough

water left for Andy and me to find our own fish once James had tutored us!

When the striper bite, now nearly non-existent, exploded he was one of

the first local anglers to catch them virtually any time he wanted.Not

unlike the redfish he targeted, these hard pulling game fish favored

cruising the same deep haunts.They, too, could not resist the tiny

bladed lure slowly bounded off the bottom.

The list of the best at fishing this lure was short at the time and

virtually every one of them fished their own stretch of the river or the

Intracoastal.Because it was all but a guarantee that you were going to

lose several every trip, those same individuals ordered the components

and built their own.

They also had their own ideas about improving a lure that was very basic

in its stock form.The models hanging on tackle shop pegboard were very

simply a fish shaped piece of metal, with a weighted nose and two treble


The changes usually included two new hooks that were significantly

stronger and a wider variety of colors of reflective tape adorning the

sides of the lures.Some anglers, myself included, opted for only a

single rear hook.Much to our surprise, James would often remove the

reflective tape and simply color the sides black.

He also fished the lure more effectively because he developed not only a

technique, but a tool for retrieving snagged lures.This was pre-braided

line and most snagged lures could not be saved by simply tugging on the

monofilament line.If the flimsy stock hooks didn’t give way, the lure

was history.

Braided line is an ally, but because they will seemingly swim on their

own to hang up on the nearest ghost crab trap or piece of sunken debris,

hundreds of pounds of Hoginars now lie on or near the bottom of the more

productive fishing holes.

Finally….back to Andy and his uncanny good fortune.We made that quick

run and an outgoing tide that was not supposed to start until much later

yielded four slot reds and one oversized fish.Just before quitting time,

he hung his Hoginar up and after a few futile tugs I urged him to break

off and call it a day.

“Since we are quitting anyway, let me try a little longer to save your

lure,” he asked. I moved us upstream with the troll motor and he

excitedly announced, “It’s moving……I think I caught us an outboard motor!”

With his luck I would not have been surprised.As the slime covered

object neared the surface, however, I saw the broken crap trap float

line and grabbed it to keep him from breaking my rod. “Don’t put that

nasty thing in the boat I warned him,” just before I heard the

unmistakable thud of the wire trap bouncing off the floor.

“I don’t think this spot is a secret,” he yelled as I stepped down off

the front deck to assess how much mud and algae was now on the floor of

the boat. There was indeed a pile of black gunk, but lodged in the

twisted wire were several rusty jig heads, two spoons and thirteen Hoginars.

Andy graciously offered me the jig heads before lowering the trap back

over the side.“Why did you do that,” I asked.“The boat was already a

mess and we could have removed the trap.”

“Now you know where to get a few more Hoginars if you ever run out,” he


Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


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