The trout truck has come and gone and you are lined up on the bank with dozens of other fishermen, who are not catching fish. My old fishing partner Terry Turner developed a method of catching stocked trout that rarely fails. In fact, when we fished we heard a lot of remarks like " Watch those two old coots. They always catch trout." When we limited out and left there would sometimes be a scuffle to take our spot. Terry and I made it our goal to fish every stocking in the Fort Worth area and try to catch 100 trout in a season.
Alas, Terry is disabled and cannot fish except in the handicapped areas these days, and I am not as nimble as I once was. But this past two weeks Weatherford put 300 good-sized trout in our local pond, and I have gotten to go 4 times between weather events. I caught 3 two days after the stocking and 5 the 3 times since, all by using the method described here. That is 18 trout in two weeks.
First, you need a good ultralight rig wound with 4 or 6 pound test line. I use 6 pound Trilene XL.
Then rig the terminal tackle as shown in the picture. Tie a small snap swivel to the end of your line using a Berkley knot. There are lots of web pages that tell you how to tie the knot. Insert the eye of a 1/4-ounce bell sinker in the snap. Then make up a leader of 4-6 pound line. I use 6 pound Berkley Trilene XT. Notice I use XL on the reel but XT for the leader. Tie a surgeon's loop knot in one end and a #20 Mustad gold treble hook on the other. The finished leader should be 12-18 inches long. A lot of people scoff at using a #20 hook. I really do not know why. Fly fishermen use much smaller hooks all the time.
Put the loop of the leader in the snap and close it.
Now take a pinch of Berkley Floating Power Bait for trout about the size of a pinto bean and mold it on the hook. Test to see if the hook floats with the amount of bait that you use. Use the minimum amount of bait that will float the hook. The idea is that the sinker rests on the bottom and the bait floats up off the bottom 6-12 inches.
Cast your bait to a likely looking spot and tighten the line just enough to bend the rod tip slightly. Do not drag the weight on the bottom. If you do you will mess up the floating bait that will pick up trash off the bottom. Trout do not want dirty bait.
Watch the rod tip closely. If it jerks then raise the tip to set the hook. Avoid a hard jerk. That is only 6-pound test line.
You may ask, "What is a likely looking spot for trout?" Most of the stocked ponds will have an aerator. Cast your bait just outside the ring of disturbed water on the shady side. If there is no aerator look for a spot where there is shade on the water. Cast to the edge of the shade. Terry and I observed that stocked trout tend to school and then circle around the pond. You will get bites when they pass your spot and then no bites until they go all the way around and pass you again. In a big pond that can take quite a while. After a few days they will break up the school and lurk in a favorite spot waiting for food. Try fan casting around you until you locate them. Remember that stubbornness is a virtue when it comes to fishing. It may take a while for Mr. Trout to find your bait.
If you follow these instructions exactly you will catch fish if the are biting at all. I feel for the fisherman who dangles a big hook beneath a bobber and wonders why he does not catch fish. Most of those folks are not interested in learning if you try to help them.