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"Deadly Dudley Pulls Monster Trout From Lake Pontchartrain"
by: Al Rogers

"Deadly Dudley" pulls monster trout from Lake Pontchartrain

By AL ROGERS
Rodnreel.com

Captain Dudley Vandenborre hold up the monster trout in his Skeeter bay boat behind his house in Eden Isles.
Photo by Helmut Ermlich, Jr. - Rodnreel.com

Captain Dudley Vandenborre holding up the monster trout in his Skeeter bay boat behind his house in Eden Isles.

SLIDELL - Capt. Dee Geoghegan doesn’t particularly like to be woken early in the morning - especially on his day off. But when his partner’s wife, Kim Vandenborre, called him early Wednesday to talk about a fish, Geoghegan jumped out of bed in a hurry.

Mrs. Vandenborre described a speckled trout of monstrous proportions that had just been caught by her husband Capt. Dudley Vandenborre. According to BogaGrip in the veteran guide’s hand, the fish appeared to state-record implications, pushing well past the 10-pound mark. If certified by the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association (LOWA), his trout will tie as the seventh largest ever caught on rod and reel in Louisiana.

“It’s okay to wake me up for something like that,” said Geoghegan, as he stood at the counter of Busy “B” Bait N’ Tackle in Slidell. “You can tell I didn’t spend much time getting dressed. I got out of here as fast as I could.”

As soon as Geoghegan’s feet touched the floor he hit the ground running. He hurriedly threw on some clothes and made the seven-mile drive from his home in Venetian Isles to the foot of the U.S. Hwy. 11 bridge in Slidell, where he met his partner. Vandenborre carefully passed him an ice chest that held the monster trout. Geoghegan then drove to the Busy “B” to have the fish weighed on certified digital scales. Several locals who gathered gasped when it tipped the state-calibrated scales at 10 pounds 8 ounces (10.5 pounds).

Captain Dudley Vandenborre standing in front of the Busy
Photo by Helmut Ermlich, Jr. - Rodnreel.com

Captain Dudley Vandenborre standing in from of the Busy "B" Bait and Tackle Shop in Slidell Louisiana.

“Yea, he’s really excited,” said Geoghegan, who shares a partnership with Vandenborre in V&G Lures. “And Dudley’s really a low-key guy. For him, that’s saying a lot.”

In a career that has produced hundreds of trophy specks in the seven- to nine-pound range, this is believed to be the largest trout that Vandenborre has ever caught. But after the catch Wednesday morning there was no time to celebrate. After passing the fish off to Capt. Dee, he returned to charter, in hopes of catching yet another beast.

After leaving the Busy “B”, Geoghegan’s morning was long from over. He drove to the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (DWF) trailer at the Rigolets on U.S. 90, where a crowd had already gathered in anticipation of his arrival. He came here to submit the final paperwork and have a biologist verify the species of the fish. He later learned that someone had already called WWL – 870 AM radio, where the story had just broken on the morning talk program.

Vandenborre caught the monster fish on an avocado-colored Deadly Dudley Jr. TerrorTail bait, a paddle-tail version of the original Deadly Dudley bait. He hooked up with the fish while working the U.S. Hwy 11 span between Slidell and Irish Bayou on a trolling motor. It is a pattern that Vandenborre had employed in this part of Lake Pontchartrain here for more than two decades. Many veteran anglers from across the Gulf States see Vandenborre as the man who developed, refined and mastered this finesse technique in Lake Pontchartrain.

Captain Dudley Vandenborre proudly holds his 10.5 pound record Trout.
Photo by Helmut Ermlich, Jr. - Rodnreel.com

Captain Dudley Vandenborre proudly holds his 10.5 pound record Trout.

This technique and the Deadly Dudley baits have worked wonders for Vandenborre and many others in south Louisiana. By 7 a.m. Vandenborre and his three clients had boated several huge specks, including three that weighed more than five pounds. The group began their morning at the south side of the Hwy. 11 bridge and began slowly working the area, making periodic casts underneath the span.

For more than two weeks the annual spring run on speckled trout in south Louisiana has produced at least four fish over the 10-pound mark. Two were caught in Lake Calcasieu, south of Lake Charles, that weighed 10.2 and 10.4 pounds. Certification is pending on both of those fish. Then on Monday, April 8, another Lake Pontchartrain veteran, Terry Googins of Slidell, hit pay dirt under the Hwy. 11 span when a 10.2-pound speckled trout engulfed his avocado-colored Hybrid plastic cocahoe minnow.

Vandenborre’s catch Wednesday is the second 10-pound-plus fish taken from the Hwy. 11 bridge in 10 days. After the two Lake Charles fish are certified, Googins’ fish will rank as the tenth largest speck ever caught on rod and reel in Louisiana. However, that record may be short lived when Vandenborre’s fish is certified, bumping Googins to the No. 11 position. Vandenborre’s fish is expected to tie with Ed Sexton’s 10.5-pound trout he caught out of Venice in April two years ago. That fish, incidentally, was caught on a Deadly Dudley (original, blue-moon) in an area southeast of Venice.

The elusive state record remains the 12.38-pounder caught by the late Leon Mattes of New Orleans in May 1950. However, many anglers and marine biologists believe it is only a matter of time until a 13-pounder shatters that record.

Mr. Ellis Scogin (Busy B's Jason Scogin's father), radio show host Don Dubuc, and Captain Dudley Vandenborre taking time out for a picture in front of the Busy
Photo by Helmut Ermlich, Jr. - Rodnreel.com

Mr. Ellis Scogin (Busy B's Jason Scogin's father), radio show host Don Dubuc, and Captain Dudley Vandenborre taking time out for a picture in front of the Busy "B" Bait and Tackle Shop in Slidell Louisiana.

Vandenborre’s fish was 28 and 7/8ths inches long, and had a girth of 16 and 7/8th inches. By comparison Googin’s 10.2-pound fish was 30.5 inches long and had a 16 and three-sixteenths-inch girth. Most of the larger speckled trout, including six of the top 10 in Louisiana, are caught in April and May because the fish are spawning and heavier with eggs.

Vandenborre caught the fish around daybreak while casting under the Hwy. 11 bridge on a falling tide. Veterans who target large man-made structures in Lake Pontchartain like the Hwy. 11 bridge, the Trestles and the Twin Spans, say success the success of anglers here is largely determined by their technique.

“You throw your bait out and let it sink to the bottom,” Geoghegan explained. “You have to give it a six- to eight-second count. It’s critical to get the count on the drop.”

The depths in this part of the lake are between eight and 12 feet. As the bait falls to the bottom, the larger fish will strike. When this happens, Geoghegan said there is little room for error.

“When you’re counting, watch your line,” he said. “You’re going to see it twitch. That’s when you know a fish has picked it up. Set the hook hard – just like you’re bass fishing.”

Even veteran Lake Pontchartrain anglers say the technique is difficult to learn, even harder to master. However, that has not stopped hordes of anglers from converging on the various bridges on the east end of Lake Pontchartrain.

“Ever since the big trout started running, we’ve been real busy,” said Ike Torregona, who manages Tite’s Place Marina in Slidell. “We’ve had boats lined up down the street. I don’t expect things to slow down anytime soon. Not as long as fish like that are being caught out there.”

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