By January, speckled trout have settled into the interior marshes around Golden Meadow to ride out the winter, and Capt. Eddie Berthelot Jr. knows where to go to find them.
“The first thing we usually do is work the northern or southern part of Catfish Lake over the oyster beds for trout,” said Berthelot, with Spots and Specks Charters. “Of course, we also work the birds and the slicks. By 9 to 10 o’clock, we usually head into the marsh and fish for reds after.”
The lake ranges in the 3 ½- to 4 ½-foot range, and is about 2 or 2 ½ feet deep over the oyster beds, he said.
“I’ll usually always fish live minnows under a popping cork in January, or I switch to plastics to catch trout,” he said, noting he prefers shrimp creole and green hornet Matrix Shad on a 5/16- to ¼-ounce jighead if he’s tight-lining plastics.
“If anything, just bounce it off the bottom,” said Berthelot, who fishes from Golden Meadow all the way down to Grand Isle. “You have to slow it down a lot of make them bite in the wintertime when that water gets cold.”
Berthelot favors a falling tide, and said 14-inch specks are pretty typical in the lake. But that doesn’t mean much bigger fish aren’t there, as well.
“If you fish topwater baits on calm mornings, you can pick up some 3- to 5-pound trout easy,” he said.
In a north wind, he heads for the calmer water on the north side of the lake. But if he’s in a duck pond targeting reds, he does the opposite.
“I’ll go to the windward side,” he said. “You try to fish the south side with the wind because it’s pushing the bait up against the bank.”
When he transitions to the duck ponds for redfish, nervous water gets his attention.
“Point, pockets and pushing bait are what I’m looking for,” he said. “If the water is flat and there’s no bait moving, the fish aren’t usually there. More or less, I’m looking for pushes on the redfish, or bait popping out the water.”
His go-to redfish setup is a cocahoe minnow only about 12 to 14 inches under a popping cork, and he also throws gold spoons.
“I fish them real shallow in the duck ponds,” he said. “It’s simple and it catches fish. It’s battle proven.”
Berthelot spools up with Fins 40G braid to his popping cork, with a 25-pound mono leader for redfish. For trout, he ties the braid directly to his jighead if he’s fishing plastics.
“The water down in Golden Meadow is a little stained this time of year, so you don’t have to worry too much about them seeing the line,” he said.
For more information, contact Capt. Eddie Berthelot Jr. with Spots and Specks Charters at 985-637-3177.