July 2016 - Volume 36, Number 7

Features

When the water drops out of the Atchafalaya Basin, this angler knows there’s one place in the sprawling swamp that is almost guaranteed to provide plenty of bream, sac-a-lait, catfish and bass.

When the winter-spring floodwaters fall out of the Atchafalaya Basin, everything that swims bites.

Unless a fisherman is a single-species snob, a day’s catch can include, largemouth and spotted bass, white bass, yellow bass, two species of crappie, three or four species of bream, blue catfish, channel catfish and the odd flathead catfish.

The heat of summer is a time when you can expect to get just a handful of bass bites, right? Not according to this Bassmaster Elite Series pro — if you know how to trigger fish’s aggressive nature.

You know the deal: You’re chillaxing by the pool and some goober cannonballs the crowd — not once, but twice.

He’s climbing out to reload and, even though you really don’t feel like moving, you just have to lay down the law.

The trout action in this huge Southeast Louisiana bay heats up, but things have changed over the years. This guide teaches you how to find specks under the new normal conditions.

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving Day, is probably the best-known shopping day of the year. Stores everywhere advertise their merchandise at sharp discounts and anxious shoppers sometimes camp out overnight in front of their favorite store to be sure they don’t miss the bargains.

There are few more-relaxing pastimes than crabbing, and the results are loads of delicious meat. So load up the kids and head to one of these public crabbing hotspots.

The first time I ate crabs was way back in the summer of 1984. I’m not talking about those Alaskan king crab legs that are rapidly processed, quick-frozen and shipped to a chain restaurant or grocery near you.

It certainly wasn’t good old Louisiana blue crabs.

Even if the Atchafalaya River has finally allowed Vermilion Bay to clear up, this group of anglers head to the nearshore Gulf. That’s because they know plenty of solid trout and mangrove snapper await.

Fishing for speckled trout over here isn’t for sissies.

The five anglers left Shane Zeringue’s camp at Cypremort Point at 5 a.m., and it was going to be at least a 45-minute run in his 32-foot Offshore Yellowfin.

It ain’t a slow boat.

Paddle boats offer no-hassle summer fishing, and this avid angler shares his tips for making the most of the quickly growing sport.

Jody Wood effortlessly paddled his camouflaged KC kayak into the brisk wind through a maze of shallow-water stumps before he turned the boat to face an open pocket just ahead.

He tossed a white spinnerbait across the opening and slow-rolled it past a little bed of dollar pads in a deeper hole.

Bam! 

There are few gimmes in fishing, but Southwest Pass at the mouth of the Mississippi River is one of them. So make the haul from Venice and catch redfish until your arms are sore using these tips.

About 20 years ago, former Venice Marina owner Dave Ballay told me, “If someone held a gun to my head and said I had to catch a fish, 365 days a year, I’d go to Southwest Pass.”

Pretty strong endorsement, and not one with which many would argue. This place is a fish magnet.

When the slack tide has the inshore bite shut down, head to the nearshore rigs out of Grand Isle to find plenty of action from the swarms of triggerfish, Spanish mackerel and even bluefish.

“But nobody actually fishes for TAAAW-PON during the Grand Isle TAAAW-PON Rodeo!” Artie roared. 

“Yeah!” Doc laughed, as a baffled Anthony (Trisha’s Floridian brother-in-law) frowned and looked around. “So who’s the wise guy who named a fishing tournament in a place famous for its seafood eatery after a fish NOBODY EATS!” 

The mouth of the Mississippi River is ringed with nearshore structures that are trout magnets. And these guides share their knowledge about how to score every time you head out.

Everyone loves a hot Delta bite, but you can expect the action to cool off when the weather heats up.

OK, if you don’t mind wading through the pun puddles, this is actually a straightforward premise: When summer’s swelter has the inshore fish languishing in lethargy, you’ll find your brightest opportunities where the warm-season discomfort has minimal impact.

It's time to head to open water for keeper specks this month, and we give you the hottest spots to load the boat.