While many people think of September and October as transition months for speckled trout in Louisiana — when the fish move from their offshore spawning haunts to inside marshes to ride out the winter — Tommy Vidrine also includes November in that count, as well.
Vidrine, who enjoys catch specks year round out of Grand Isle, said November can be a tough month for lots of anglers because — depending on the winter we’ve gotten so far — the fish are often still spread out.
“Some are still in passes, some are still on the rocks out front and half of them have probably moved in,” Vidrine said. “I think some of the males have moved offshore and they stay offshore the whole year.
“I don’t think every trout migrates into the marsh like some people believe. But the majority do, of course, and I think the females do.”
So when November rolls around, Vidrine has typically moved away from any live bait presentations and transitioned to his favorite swimbait from Tsunami.
“Use any good swimbait you like,” he said. “I just like the Tsunami because of the way it swims and the way it looks so natural in the water.”
He’ll typically throw the 3-inch model, but doesn’t hesitate to move to the smaller 2-inch version if temperatures drop and the fish get lockjaw.
Another benefit with using the swimbait is the reduction in trash fish.
“In late summer, it’s full of hardheads, ladyfish and mangrove snapper,” he said. “So when we switch to that swimbait, when you do get a bite, about 90 percent of the time it’s usually a trout or redfish. The ladyfish go away when the temperature changes.”
A light north wind up to about 10 mph can make for nice conditions toward Fourchon on the outside, Vidrine said.
“You can go to the Fourchon barges with that swimbait and just wear them out,” he said.
Redfish-wise, Vidrine said they thrive in cooler water, and are typically pretty easy to target in November around Grand Isle.
“I think all the marsh is always good — any of that marsh behind Grand Isle all the way to Golden Meadow,” he said. “Without getting fancy, a cocahoe minnow under a cork is probably the most productive way to catch eating-size redfish.”
If a solid cool front moves through — where the temperature change is in the 20-degree neighborhood — that can be a sign of action increasing along the three bridges leading into Grand Isle, as well as other spots along La. Highway 1.
“In the past few years at least, closer to Thanksgiving is when trout start showing up in the first ditches close to Grand Isle, including the Forbidden Hole,” Vidrine said.