May 2013 - Volume 33, Number 5

Features

Anyone can catch a trout by chunking live bait, but these guides think the best bet for consistently putting fish in the boat is to go artificial.

“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Yeah, Sir Walter Scott’s insight rings true for interpersonal relationships, but when it comes to speckled trout fishing, the Scottish writer can stick that nonsense in his bait bucket.

Tricking trout is the name of the game.

While shallow beds are what most anglers think about when they target bream, it might pay to back off the banks when fishing reservoirs. Here are some tips on catching deepwater bulls.

Is there anything better than the fast action of a spring bream bed? The big redears we call shellcrackers in South Louisiana and chinquapin up north go to the warming shallows first, followed by bluegill and other sunfish.

When that happens, it’s time to take advantage of the golden opportunity to battle big panfish on a fly rod or ultra-light spinning gear.

Filling the cooler with chunky “bull” bream can work up an appetite, remedied by a fish fry at sundown. It’s just one more reason to love spring in the South.

You might think crickets and bobbers are absolutely necessary when fishing for bream. However, this couple has modified a popular bass-fishing technique to load their pontoon boat with fat Toledo Bend bream.

The day started out, well, rough. I hadn't slept well at all, and then I lost an altercation with a coffee cup. I was left teary-eyed as the hot liquid dripped out of my close-cropped hair and down my face.

The beach gets all the glory, but the waters to the north of Grand Isle are the real fish factory in May.

May and Barataria Bay go together like Christmas and Santa, like Brad and Angelina, like cheese and whiz.

If it’s May, there will be fish in Barataria Bay. Period. End of story.

They’ll be there, and it’s up to you to go catch them.

We all wish crappie would stay in their shallow spawning pattern forever, but that’s not how it works. Here’s how to catch D’Arbonne’s white perch during their transition to deep water.

We are constantly bombarded by television and radio commercials commanding us to “ACT NOW BECAUSE THIS OFFER WON’T LAST LONG!“

Although I hate to have to conjure up a picture of such gullibility, I can’t help but see an image in my mind of people running to their phones. I mean, this particular technique has to work or else marketers wouldn’t continue to use it.

Therefore, it is with much annoyance and even more embarrassment that I pass along the following information: The white perch have been up shallow at Lake D’Arbonne, and if you don’t act now, it will be too late because this offer won’t last long.

They might be the bane of bass fishermen because they’ll eat pretty much anything thrown in the water, but goggle-eye taste great and can stack up fast.

The Atchafalaya Basin and google-eye bream just kind of go together — like grits and eggs or beans and rice. I was in the saddle with the old Atchafalaya Basin pro, Jim Looney, the author or four books on fishing bass and an astounding seven books on fishing for bream and sac-a-lait in the huge swamp. After a short jaunt north from the Belle River public landing, Looney took a hard right into the 21-inch pipeline canal, the main thoroughfare to get deeper into the Basin that Looney always refers to as the “Spillway.”

Do you have trouble catching fish on a west wind? Then you’ve obviously never been to Empire.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how myths began centuries ago when the human race was as sophisticated as the average corn cob.

For instance, we all know that stuff has a tendency to fall down, so the entire earth must be subject to the same laws of physics. Therefore, there obviously must be a giant god named Atlas who holds up the earth on his back.

Sucks to be that guy.

There are certainly bigger fish to be caught, but there aren’t very many that are as fun as bream. Especially when thick bull bream are guarding their nests.

The broad-shouldered man actually tiptoed when he moved around in his boat. “Being quiet,” he explained, “is real important when you are fishing for bull bream in shallow, clear water.”

We were indeed in shallow water — 2 to 3 feet deep. Through the tea-colored water, multiple, round plate-sized bream beds could be seen as dark blotches on a lighter bottom. A resident male bluegill was likely hovering over or around the nest, guarding it against intruders that could eat his eggs or young.

There are certainly hefty trout swimming along the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. But what you’re looking for is crazy action and great table fare, you don’t have to burn much gas out of Cocodrie.

Pelayo punched his iPhone, put it to his ear, and discovered that his cousin Becky and her husband Al planned a trip down from New Jersey for Memorial day weekend. They hadn’t been down since the Saints’ Super Bowl, and Pelayo seemed pleased.

“Great!” he replied. “We’ll make a side trip to Doc’s Cocodrie camp for some fast and furious school speck action. Y’all remember that from a few years ago. This time of year it’s a slam-dunk — a no-brainer — in the upper Lake Pelto Area. We’ll have another short boat haul, get into some school specks under the birds for some action-packed fishing — then enjoy some great eating!”

This highly eroded basin continues to deliver crazy numbers of speckled trout this time of year.

It’s axiomatic that you never leave feeding fish to find feeding fish.

That old adage might make a great bumper sticker, but you’ll never find it on Capt. Chad Billiot’s truck.

The Houma Indian, a veteran of 23 years of guiding in the Timbalier and Barataria basins, spent a picture-perfect, flat-calm, Chamber-of-Commerce morning last May fishing several islands and platforms in Timbalier Bay looking for bait.

You can catch a limit of trout pretty much anywhere along the coast, but where should you go if trophy trout are your target? Here are four areas that could give up a new state record speck.

In the latter days of May 2012, Capt. Kirk Stansel of Hackberry Rod and Gun was on a run of big speckled trout in Calcasieu Lake.

He was doing some dogwalking over some shell humps on an area east of Long Point where he could do no wrong with an orange Rapala Skitter Walk.

“In a three-day period there, I had taken four trout over 6 pounds,” the guide said. “My clients were taking specks in the 2- to 4-pound range at that time.”

When bass hide in vegetation as thick as your back yard, take the game to them by following these experts’ advice.

Grass equals bass. Now that’s an angling axiom you can take to the bank.

However, fishing grass does not necessarily ensure catching bass. Plain and simple: Fish utilize grassy cover for purely selfish reasons. However, anglers who show these fish the right looks can find a gold mine of opportunity hiding beneath the salad.

The weather should finally settle out this month, and that means bream will be teeming in the shallows.