ten inch triple trout
The 10" Triple Trout, in purple trout, from our film, Southern Trout Eaters..."If the Vortex don't get ya, the Lightning Bolt will"

There is one swimbait that started the “S” swimmer revolution and whose simplicity is its genius.    The Triple Trout is an absolute staple in our swimbait fishing, our practice approach to tournament swimbait fishing, and a bait that compliments our efforts to explore big and small bait fishing.  The 10″ Triple Trout is a BIGBAIT and probably one of the more tiring lures you’ll ever commit to and learn to fish.  This bait can be a workout to fish, which is all the better because most don’t have the nerve, the physical conditioning or the guts to commit to a bait like the 10″ Triple Trout.

The Triple Trout is hand crafted, painted, and tuned in Long Beach, California.  Scott Whitmer is the man behind the 22nd Century Bait Company (named in relation to a song from “the Briefs”) .  Scott is old school in the Southern California trophy scene, and Scott continues to have fun with his fishing (well, he doesn’t fish anymore, according to him) and bait designs.

Here is a picture of Scott, from out interview session that was featured in Southern Trout Eaters:

scott whitmer 22nd Century Bait co
Mr. Scott Whitmer the man behind the Triple Trout and Nezumaa Rat, at home in his shop, Long Beach, CA

Scott’s style is very Southern Californian.  Long Beach in fact.  In South Orange County, we have a punk rock scene, but Long Beach always seemed a bit more rockabilly and 50’s greaser style, which is cool with us and we share a lot of mutual DNA.   Scott is a craftsman.  He has a strong and loyal following.  He prefers to keep a low profile and make baits and quietly expand his business.  His baits catch fish, period, and there it was no accident that Scott and his baits (the Triple Trout and Nezumaa Rat) were featured in our film, Southern Trout Eaters.  The film leaves no doubt of the 10″ baits effectiveness for big fish and numbers, and covers topics like changing tails and shows us fishing and catching some serious studs on it.

The Triple Trout was conceived around being a jointed swimmer that required no bill and provided switchback and erratic jerkbait like actions and stalls that would fire up the Southern California trout eaters to chase and eat.    There is something special about the 10” Triple Trout.  It’s a known big fish bait, getting it done in places like Diamond Valley, Casitas, the Castaics, Don Pedro, San Vicente, Clear Lake to name a few.   Our message is around simplification.  The Triple Trout is on a short list of baits that have proven themselves to catch teen and double digit sized fish consistently—AND it’s a HARDBAIT.  There are a LOT of JUNK hardbaits out there, so pay attention to the ones that are actually catching fish.  That says it all right there.  You have to separate baits that actually have caught really big ones into a separate buckets and then analyze soft vs. hard baits.   The Huddleston, The Triple Trout, 3:16 Baits by Mickey Ellis, the Lunker Punker, MS Slammer,  and Rago Baits pretty much cover 95% of fish catches on bigbaits when you drill into it.

ten inch triple trout colors
From Top to Bottom: The 10" Triple Trouts from the film, Southern Trout Eaters: Silver Trout, Blue Trout, and Mackerel Trout

Our Film, Southern Trout Eaters,  explores fishing the Triple Trout for the Blue Ridge and Ozark Mountain trout eaters.  There is no doubt that bass in the MidWest and South are crazy and fired up about the Triple Trout.   We have been throwing the Triple Trout since 2005 in the South, and it’s a bait we’ve put the most time throwing, next to the Huddleston Deluxe family of baits.    We’ve caught the trout eaters on the Triple Trout, but the really exciting stuff is catching the blueback herring eaters, the big gizzard shad eaters, the brim/perch eaters, etc with the Triple Trouts as well.   There are 6-7-8-10″ versions of the Triple Trout, and you can expect us to have a write-up for each.

spotted bass on the 10 inch triple trout
One of the largest spotted bass I've ever caught, and it was captured on film and included in Southern Trout Eaters. Get your head and gear right, because the 10" Triple Trout will expose weaknesses in your mental and physical approach to bigbait fishing in a hurry.

Gear for fishing the 10″ Triple Trout:

Rod:  GLoomis 966 BBR

Reel:  Shimano Calcutta 400 TE

Line:  P-Line CXX Xtra Strong Moss Green, 30 Pound

Hooks:  Owner ST-36  (3/0 up front and 2/0 in the rear)

Split Rings:  #6 Owner Hyper Wire Split Rings

Strengths:   The 10” is an excellent BIG FISH bait.  Double digits, teens, and the 7-8-9 pound fish will eat this bait.  You can cover a ton of water with the Triple Trout and look for followers and movement to understand what reaction the fish have a bigbait.  Excellent durability and fishability.  Can be fished at night, good thumping swim.

Ideal Conditions:   Water temps above 60 degrees or so.   The warmer the water, the better for the Triple Trout.  The fish need to be in a chasing, topwater, or otherwise positive mood where they’ll move to get a bait.   You create the bite with the Triple Trout at times, using a start stop and jerk bait like retrieve to turn neutral or negative fish into biters.   The clearer the water the better, but don’t fool yourself, this bait has enough thump and vibration  and color choices that even the dirty water guys will be impressed.

Notes:   If you want to get serious about trophy hunting, add the 10” Triple Trout right under 8” Huddleston Deluxe.  This bait separates men from boys.  When we recommend the 400 TE for bigbait fishing, this bait is a prime example.  In order to fish this bait effectively and not wear your arms and wrists out, you need the right rod and reel to match the physics this bait brings—and the fish that will commit to the bait.

10 inch purple trout
When they get the front hook on your 10" Triple Trout, you know they are liking the color you are throwing. 10" Triple Trout in "Purple Trout"

Since I had a brief visit in Arkansas, I was able to go thru some old boxes of baits and find some things I wanted to share.   With the recent release of our “Southern Trout Eaters” Huddleston Rig tutorial video, I thought the following was a good chronology of events and that ultimately have led up to where we are with our the Southern Trout Eater Huddleston rig.  The rig is literally 10 years in the making.

The first softbait I ever fished with any consistency was the Eagle.  The Eagle is a line thru bait and it weighs a good 4-5 ounces.  It’s a straight up bigbait and was the first bait I ever committed to fishing for days and days.    The problem with the Eagle was hook up ratios.

swimbait hook harness for the Eagle swimbait
This is the stock hook setup for the Eagle. Hook up ratios were a real problem in the early days with this rig. Even though this hook setup is worthless fo the Eagle, notice the skills and the ability to use crimps, figure eights and 80# mono to create a double stinger trap hook. Note to self, save this, you will want to re-use this harness on another bait with for another application, someday.

We (Cameron Smith, my pal from Dana Point, CA) and I were fishing San Vicente lake back around 2001-2003 quite heavily with the Eagle.  Looking back on it, it is funny because I’m not kidding I would miss 5-8 bites per day on this rig.   It wasn’t until Cameron and I got to tinkering that we made some adjustments.  I remember Rob Belloni came fishing with me on San Vicente one day.  He took one look at the Eagle and the stock hook harness and told me I need way bigger hooks, maybe play with rigging?    Bass World West was going on in Southern California and so was Anglers Marine.  Both places had their own ways of rigging up Osprey’s, Eagles, etc.  It’s hard to say where exactly this stuff came from but we wanted hanging trebles, bigger hooks and had to leverage the line-thru design because those were the baits of the day…The Rising Son, The Rago Trout (name escapes me, Jerry’s original line-thru) and the Eagle kept me busy for years.   Our hookup ratios went way up with our modifications, but God what I’d do to go back in time and have those days back.   The fish were there and eating.  We’d just miss a lot. Upper water column swimming bait that we’d fish super fast at times.  Burning it, popping it, making it look like a trout trying to escape.  Probably not always the best retrieve, but it worked for us, for a time.

Eagle Swimbait with stock hook harness
Here is the Eagle with the stock harness properly oriented as if it was rigged. 4 trebles pointing down and we still missed most of the bites. This bait swims in the upper water colum and doesn't get inhaled like a Hudd much, hanging and bigger treble setups soon followed. Fish would literally bounce off the bait.

Here is what we did in response and the evolution of our rigs and rigging.  Double barrel crimps, 80# mono for the harness, cut paper clips, split rings and Gamakatsu hooks.  You can tell my early swimbait rigs and trials because my baits have Gamakatsu treble hooks on them.  I have long since been fishing Owner.    Just a superior family of treble hooks in my opinion, hands down.

eaglette swimbait rigging
The Eaglette, the smaller version of the Eagle. Notice the harness, allowed us to put a treble hook under the chin of the bait to catch the fish that made the kill shots to the head,and had a rear trap that either dangled below or was imbedded up in the bait. The size of the Eaglette coupled with this setup made our hookup ratios go way up.
Eaglette Harness
Notice, cut paper clips. The paper clips up front for the trap hook under the chin had to be modified to fit around the line thru created by the OEM. We are still modifying paper clips to fit our Huddleston's today. Used a split ring as where to tie your line, and created loops and and hook hangers with crimps and 80# mono.
3 treble harness rig for Eagle
Here is a 3 hook setup harness that we used on the full sized Eagle. One hook under the chin, one right below the line-thru, and one near the rear fins. This was creative, and helped us get more fish to stick that came up on the Eagle.
three treble harness for Eagle swimbait
Here is the 3 treble harness rig, better visualized how it sat on the bait. That's a lot of hardware on a bait, but it definitely helped get fish to stick.
2 hook harness
Full sized Eagle with a 2 hook harness rigging. The rear treble was dangling and this is a definite pre-cursor to where we got our Southern Trout Eaters Huddleston Rigging. Cut paper clips and double barrel crimps and 80#. Too small a rear hook for sure, looking back on it. Still, we caught them much better on this rig, way less hardware than the 3 hook harness which tends to foul up quite often let alone get bit as well.
sample harnesses
The 3 hook, 2 hook and stock trap hook rigs we used for baits like the Eagle, Rago Soft Trout bait and Rising Son
The early line thru baits
Back in the day it was all about Eagles, Ospreys/Rago, and Rising Son baits. This was pre-Huddleston Deluxe 8" Rainbow trout. These baits fished well near or at the surface, but are limited in so many ways compared to the Huddleston
the early line thru baits
The Rago Osprey was custom rigged to become a line thru in this case with a small coffee stirring straw, while the Rising Son wisely used a plastic insert. The Eagle used a machined piece of aluminum as the line thru and I can tell you there are a couple of Eagles at the bottom of San Vicente that broke off on the cast with 20# P-Line. Stupid me should have been using way heavier line and been more diligent about checking for burrs in the machined aluminum.

And then came the Castaic SoftBait Company.   Not that they ever went anywhere, it was all the sudden coming together.   Ken Huddleston used to work for Castaic or own it or something along those lines.  Ken had direct involvement in Castaic Bait Company for a time and that can be seen in this next evolution.  These soft Castaics are a definite precursor to the 8″ Huddleston Deluxe   You had to literally remove the internal stock harness of the Castaic bait, then use a coffee stir straw to create a line thru and come out the belly at the right angle and get it all right, then create your double hook harness.  The crazy thing was, I nailed this rig the first time I attempted it, and I caught a fish around the Chimney area of San Vicente within the first 15 minutes of fishing the rig, and the fish choked it.   About a 6 pounder.  Anyway, to me, this modified and glued up and line-thru’d Castaic rig is a clear connection to where we are with the Huddleston Deluxe today.

castaic swimbait
Removed the internal 'top hook' harness from the bait, glued it back together, created a line thru with a coffee stir straw, and leveraged a double hook harness rig. Clearly headed in the direction of the Huddleston Deluxe of today.

And here is a Castaic Sardine with a trap hook rigging.  I will drop down to 60# mono and use the same 1.0B double barrel crimps to have a little bit lighter and more flexible harness that fits the smaller baits better.  The Castaic Sardine is an excellent bait for those looking to explore blueback herring.   If you do a little homework on herring and sardines, you’ll find the two are quite related, and both saltwater run.

castaic sardine rig
The Castaic Sardine with a mini version of our trap hook setup.
castaic sardine swimbait rig
Up close, those are #2 and #4 ST-36 Stingers....way too light weight of hooks for me now. This rig caught them Lake Lanier fish pretty good one spring for me. But they inhaled it. I'd probably use ST-56 in the same sizes now, but the bottom line is you can rig small swimbaits with a harness and double trap rig. I masked the hooks and hardware to match the belly of the bait, again all relating to things we did to get to our current Hudd rig.

There has been a lot of trial and error in our rigs and rigging and there will continue to be more.  The better you get with rigging and the tools of rigging, the more you’ll be able to create your own rigs for your own applications.