One Houma angler has the speckled trout right where he wants them on cold January days.
And, I might add, they’re there even on the balmier days of the first month of the year.
Thirty-eight-year-old fishing guide Brady Giroir often heads for Lake Decade, but if Old Man Winter has sent a deep freeze this far into the Deep South, he points the bow of his boat to pipeline canals and deep ditches north of Lake Mechant and Sister Lake.
“I’ll probably be fishing Lake Decade if it isn’t too cold,” Giroir said, noting the time-proven pattern is to get on the calm side of the lake and concentrate on the channel about 80 yards from the shoreline.
“I just drift. Fish get on, like, a drop-off. The channel goes down to 8 feet. The fish probably are holding 3 to 7 feet.”
Giroir fishes with the same soft plastics in the lake as he uses in interior pipelines and ditches: purple/gold, chicken-on-a-chain or Cajun pepper Bayou Chub Minnows on ¼-ounce leadheads.
If the water’s cold, he tight-lines. If it’s warmer, he fishes the soft plastic about 2½ feet under a popping cork.
And you shouldn’t expect to be alone on the lake unless it’s bitterly cold, with Giroir noting that Decade is a “community lake” and very easy to get to.
Plus, he said, there are plenty of fish in it.
The place to be on those extra-cold days is in the marsh in those 4- to 6-foot deep pipeline canals and ditches, Giroir said.
He likes to go early unless it’s freezing. If the deep freeze is on, Giroir waits doesn’t leave the dock until it warms up later in the morning or midday, especially on sunny days when the fish get on ledges where they can warm.
Most speckled trout caught in Lake Decade and the deeper waters above Lake Mechant and Sister Lake average 14 to 16 inches long, with the occasional 20- to 21-incher, he said.
On warmer days, bigger speckled trout can be caught on topwaters such as chrome/blue or red/white Zara Spooks and MirrOlure Top Dogs, Giroir said.
Redfish also can be caught in pipelines and ditches.
And even on the coldest day this month you can get your line stretched — repeatedly — by targeting sheepshead with shrimp on the bottom in deep holes with rocks or under dock pilings, Giroir said.
In addition to beau coup sheepshead, plenty of puppy drum usually go in the ice chest, as well, he said.