It’s springtime, so thoughts naturally drift toward ice chests full of big pre-spawn trout, but Mother Nature often has other plans: howling winds that can muddy water, make casting difficult and generally cause chaos.
But, some folks have to catch fish no matter the conditions, namely charter captains. Here’s how one such captain, Lloyd Landry, deals with the wind when he must put fish in the boat.
On Monday, Landry (504-912-8291) was with C.T. Williams filming an episode of Williams’ “The Big Fish” TV show and needed big trout, not big numbers of trout. But the fly in the ointment was the wind; it was howling. He launched from his dock in Buras, expecting a smooth day with 5 mph south winds, but was instead met with 15 mph winds from the southeast. However, he didn’t let the gusty winds deter him from his mission.
After attempting to catch some jumbos on topwater at first light without luck due to choppy conditions, Landry decided to pull lines and search for clearer water. He stopped at the Empire Jetties, and it was chocolate milk. Shell Island was no better, so he decided head further west toward Lake Washington. En route to Washington, he passed through Adams Bay and saw seagulls hammering the surface.
“If I was with clients, I would have stopped on those diving birds, but we were on the hunt for bigger trout, so we kept rolling,” he says. “The river has been up 3 feet in the last five days, which compounds the difficulty, but we had to catch ‘em nonetheless. To do that when it’s windy, you have to run a lot and cover a lot of water to find where it’s cleanest. We’re fortunate being on the Mississippi River that we can go north, south, east or west to get out of the wind.”
When they got to Washington, Landry targeted the many oil and gas platforms with either 1/4- or 3/8-ounce jighheads and purpler/chartreuse Matrix Shads. Landry threw them with and without a cork, alternating until he found which was best.
“That’s what you’ve got to do sometimes; you have to experiment,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been fishing either with or without a cork and not catching anything, then switched to the other and started mauling ‘em. You’ve just got to keep an open mind.”
An additional note regarding birds is that the birds diving in open water usually yields smaller trout. When they’re near and island or land the fish are generally bigger.
“For whatever reason, those are the birds that have bigger trout underneath them,” he said.