When Cowboy Outdoors decided to make a big, wedge-tailed soft-plastic artificial lure strictly a saltwater bait, speckled trout fishermen along the country’s coast benefitted big time.

The 3 ½-inch Egret Wedgetail Eel has been racking up speckled trout catches ever since the company got them from the original manufacturer two or three years ago, lure designer John Dean said.

“When Stanley Jigs had it, it had about a dozen freshwater colors,” Dean said. “Egret became basically a saltwater company, and we stayed basically with saltwater colors with that. We have 16 colors, all saltwater-oriented. They have done extremely well for speckled trout and redfish.

“Stanley Jigs was really the ones that brought the wedge tail concept out so many years ago. They applied the tail on lizards and creature-type baits. They had a vast array of different molds.”

It just grew from there.

“As time evolved, it got away from the freshwater side and jumped to the saltwater arena,” Dean said “We kept the Wedgetail, basically for saltwater application.

“We’ve pretty much got all the favorite colors that work well all over the country, especially the South.”

Dean won’t get an argument on the colors or effectiveness of the soft plastic with a big wedged tail.

Cajun Waters Fishing Charters’ Brady Giroir, who guides out of Dularge, swears by the Egret Wedgetail Eels.

“Oh, yeah, I even catch bass on them. And the little bitty ones (2-inch model), I catch sac-a-lait on them,” Giroir said. “Depending on the weather situation in February, I catch a lot of sac-a-lait on them.”

Mostly, Giroir uses the 3 ½-inch Egret Wedgetail Eel to catch speckled trout, and redfish, when he’s guiding and whenever he isn’t. It has become a go-to bait for the five-year veteran saltwater fishing guide.

“I fish them spring, summer and winter. It doesn’t matter,” Giroir said. “I catch a lot of fish on that bait. I just like the action on them. I like the big tail because it has a lot of action to it.

“I use the 3 ½-inch one; I just put it in on a ¼-ounce leadhead. Sometimes I swim it, sometimes I bounce it off the bottom. I even use it under a cork in the spring and fall over reefs, and on points and at the mouth of cuts.

“Chicken-on-a-chain is my favorite (color), pretty much my No. 1 bait. Then I’ll go to Cajun pepper and LSU. Those are my three favorite ones.”

Although he has never used the 5-inch Egret Wedgetail Eel, Giroir said he believes that model probably would catch bigger speckled trout. And, he said, if the fish were hitting that and missing the hook — short striking — he’d change to a 3 ½-inch model or switch to a leadhead with a longer shaft.

A ¼-ounce leadhead usually is just right for the 3 ½-inch Egret Wedgetail Eel, Dean said.

For more information on Egret Wedgetail Eels and other saltwater artificial lures in the Egret line go to Egretbaits.com or call 318- 256-5664.