June 2012 - Volume 32, Number 6


Red snapper aren’t the only fish swimming around structures just off the coast. Plenty of other fish are on the menu when you hit the shallow rigs.

“Ain’t no way!” Eddie snarled in response to Pelayo’s entreaty, which involved a “rig-fishing” trip.

Eddie, though only recently back from his northern exile after his second disbarment, was fully aware of the new and diminutive red snapper limits. He was also aware that bull croakers and white trout — for whatever reason — have long since vanished. And these two were always the mainstays that filled boxes during “rig-fishing” trips back when we were “Paaaw-tying Haaawty!” in Tigerland during the Disco era.

Caney Lake once turned out massive fish, and there are still some beasts lurking in the reservoir. Here some tips on how to put those lunkers in the boat.

It doesn’t take much to get a typical Louisiana bass angler out of bed early during June. He knows he’s not going to be out there on the lake all that long anyway.

After launching his boat in the dark, he falls into a predictable routine that includes a few topwater bites right at dawn. Maybe a slow-rolled spinnerbait around the grass just after that. And he wraps up his trip with a plastic worm around a few docks before retiring for an afternoon nap under a window unit.

Jig fishing is a standard for filling red snapper limits, so follow these tips to fool even the most-wary Gulf darlings.

Saltwater fishing has its ups and downs, but when snapper top your target list you’ll have a ton of fun with a bait based on the notion of up-and-down.

We’re talking jigs here. Drop it down, reel it up — well, there’s a little more to it than that, but along with that load of natural bait that you always carry, keep some hardware handy to add another level of sport to your game.

Of the many snapper species roaming Northern Gulf waters, jigging in one form or another appeals mostly to reds, mangroves and lanes. Pure jigging — nothing but the jig — is the main game for those crimson beasts, so we’ll start there with tactical tips from Capt. Damon McKnight of Super Strike Charters.

Resist the urge to stop at hotspots along the way and you’ll be glad you make the long haul to Breton Sound this month.

I’d talked about taking this trip for months and now, finally, I was on my way.

I was seated beside Capt. Casey Kieff (504-512-7171) in his 25-foot C-Hawk, which was cutting a meandering route through Hopedale’s China Pass, Halfmoon Lake and Lake Eloi en route to the deep sound.

Our destination: Breton Island, Gosier Island and the numerous rigs and platforms on that end of Breton Sound.

Heading outside is definitely a good option this time of year, but most days you don’t have to run that far.

Capt. John Gremillion quit guiding because he likes to fish too much.

After a stint in the 1990s working under Capt. Mike Frenette and the late Capt. Mike Adams as a deckhand, Gremillion got his captain’s license and began running charters.

The world’s top bass pros descend on Toledo Bend this month. Here is how they’re likely to decode the lake as they chase the $100,000 top prize.

Dean Rojas won last year’s BASS Elite Series stop at Toledo Bend with 70.15 pounds of bass caught over four days of fishing.

Rojas reportedly found fish on beds and caught some on grass flats by fishing a Big Bite Baits WarMouth (a soft plastic that imitates a swimming bream) and a SPRO Hydropop topwater popper on the edges of the grass.

Why run miles into the Atchafalaya Basin when bull bream await in the short passes right off the Intracoastal Waterway?

In sort of a hypnotic, mesmerizing motion the tip of my float wavered left to right in a semi-circle until it slowly sunk beneath the surface of the water.

“What the heck kind of bite is this?” I said to my friend Raymond Delco while lifting the tip of my rod straight up.

The tug from the business end of the line was all that was needed to tell me what kind of bite.

Catching big red snapper requires a different approach, and this accomplished trophy angler shares his tips.

“And they call this recreation?,” I thought to myself as the Snapper Time, a 21-foot Cape Horn, swung into a wide arc and slowed to pull up to a big yellow-legged steel oil and gas platform. Recreational means fun by most definitions.

I was a mess! The run south into the Gulf of Mexico from Caminada Pass left me completely soaked. I didn’t have a dry thread on me. My leg and thigh muscles burned from bracing myself against the vicious pounding the mean sea administered.

Coyotes, hogs and bears aren’t just an inconvenience — they can ruin the ability for deer hunters to pattern their quarry.

The bow season is under way. You’ve prepared the stand, scouted intensely and labored over the land — all in anticipation of enjoying the outdoors and taking a whitetail.

As time passes, you begin to ponder why no deer have shown up; then suddenly your heart pounds as an unexpected visitor makes its presence known.

Lake Raccourci trout are just dying to be caught. Here’s how to grab your share of the catch.

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after,” said Henry David Thoreau, the 19th century American poet, naturalist, hermit and philosopher. Obviously, Thoreau wasn’t from South Louisiana. Maybe up where he’s from men philosophize about why they go fishing. Is it to commune with nature or to connect with the divine soul of the universe, or some other such metaphysical nonsense?

You don’t have to drop to the bottom to catch red snapper. Instead, bring them to the surface to pick your targets.

I used to be fascinated at how quickly my grandfather’s catfish would come to the surface of his two farm ponds as he drove across the field in their direction.

Before he could even get out of his truck, whiskered mouths began skimming the water’s surface in an effort to be one of the first to get what they knew was coming.

He fed his catfish on a regular schedule, and although I don’t recall how often he fed them, those catfish knew exactly when he was coming to give them something to eat.

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway can be a tough place to fish, but this bridge veteran feels it’s well worth learning.

The average horse’s heart weighs 7 pounds.

The historic racehorse Eclipse, a distant sire of triple-crown winner Secretariat, had a 14-pound heart.

That meant the horse, like his progeny from the 1970s, could go longer and faster than other horses. Beating in the cavity of his rib cage was a biological, genetic freak that gave him an unfair advantage over his competitors.

The nation's top bass anglers head to Toledo Bend this month, and the coast trout action is as hot as it gets.