Apparently boats are still optional equipment if you’re looking to hook up with some big speckled trout around Grand Isle.

Reports from Elmer’s Island have been red hot lately, so if you can make the long walk down the beach with your equipment and head into the surf, that’s a great way to reel in some solid specks.

But you might not even have to work that hard — Jovi Theriot and Robert Vegas have been hammering some giant specks from a lighted pier on Grand Isle at night.

“Man, it’s on fire. I don’t know why the big trout are coming there every night, but they are for sure,” Theriot said. “It’s like that every night we go.”

On their last trip Friday night, May 19, Vegas reeled in an almost 26-inch speck that tipped the scales at 5 pounds, 4 ounces.

They’re using live croakers with a fluorocarbon leader about 2 feet under a popping cork. One big key is to fish the tides, Theriot said.

“Once it bottoms out, it’s done — you won’t get any bites,” he said. “The bait is gone and it just calms down after the the tide slacks off. We’ve had good results on both tides — it just has to be moving.”

They use an ice chest with an aerator to keep their croakers alive, he said. 

“We started out free-lining, and we switched to a cork and we’ve found that we get more bites,” Theriot said. “I’m not sure why, but I guess it stays in the strike zone longer.”

His second big tip was to be patient with your hook set using live croakers under a cork.

“You almost have to put your rod in a rod holder and not even touch it,” Theriot said with a laugh. “If you’ve got it in your hand, you’re going to want to step back and you’ll miss every single trout that will bite.

“We actually brought one of our friends who doesn’t fish as much as us, and the only way we could get him to catch a fish was to literally put the rod in the rod holder and not touch it. By the time he reacted to it, the fish was on there — but you have to wait until the trout eats that whole croaker. You definitely have to give it a few seconds for sure.”

Theriot said the action usually heats up about an hour or so after dark. 

That ties in with his third tip — make sure you get your live bait before Bridge Side Marina closes for the night. Right now, they close at 8:30 p.m., he said.

“I’ve been talking to a lot of people and they go too late and can’t get live bait. That’s been a problem for a lot of people going down there,” he said. “By the time they get there, they realize they can’t get bait, so they’re stuck fishing with artificial — and they’re just not going to get the bites we will.

“The croakers are a good size at Bridge Side right now. I think that’s why we’re starting to catch some of the bigger trout — because of the big croakers.”

The tide has been wrapping up around 2 a.m., so Theriot said they've been finishing up fishing about 1. A typical trip has been yielding 15 to 20 nice trout between the two of them.

“But those are all large trout, none of them under 2 pounds for sure …,” he said. “It’s all about bait and light. If you’re by a light that’s got bait, they’re probably going to be there.”