Speckled trout — 2- to 4-pound class fish — have been getting tattooed in nearshore waters at The Pickets. The action started in May, to everyone’s delight.
Those fish will move farther out to deeper waters in 15- to 30-foot depths this month. Anglers in the know like veteran charter boat captain Bill Lake of Houma will follow them and target two areas — Ship Shoal 33, also known as the Blue Point Rigs, and Ship Shoal 28, also known as the Mardi Gras Rigs.
Lake, who owns Dularge-based Bayou Guide Service & Charters (985-637-3712), said he likes to start at the Mardi Gras Rigs (at or about 29° 07. 502’ N. Latitude ~ 091° 10. 688’ W. Longitude), because the water’s shallower — mostly 15-foot depths with the area closer to the coast.
“If they’re not at the shallow rigs, go six miles farther to Ship Shoal 33 (at or about 29° 05.598’ N. Latitude ~ 91° 16.989’ W. Longitude), where it’s 15- to 30-feet deep. Sometimes they’re in deeper water,” Lake said. “Those rigs have been there a long time.”
Early morning and late in the evening are the prime times to fish those areas, he said.
“Those fish relate to the morning and to the evening,” he said.
“From about 5:30-6 to about 9 a.m. usually is the best time, before the heat gets too bad,” he said. “Then from 4:30 to dark. If you like catching them at night, stay under the lights and fish all night. Some like to get there about 6, catch a few before dark and fish for four more hours.”
When he fishes out there, he rigs up with tandem-rigged soft plastics, each on a ¼-ounce chartreuse or white leadhead. He uses chicken on a chain, purple/gold or glow/chartreuse Bayou Chub Minnows, his favorites for many years.
Usually the most successful tactic to put beau coup speckled trout in the ice chest is to position the boat upcurrent from the platform and fish 30 to 35 yards from a piling (leg) because you want to be able to cast near the structure.
“If it’s calm enough, use the trolling motor all the way around the platform,” Lake said. “Sometimes they’re only on one leg. I don’t know why that is.”
He has found that if the fish are suspended or near the surface, tandem-rigged soft plastics are the main meal ticket. If they are feeding close to the bottom, often the best way to get them to bite is to use live shrimp or live croakers that “enhance your chance of catching fish quickly,” he said.
Fish either live bait on a Carolina rig with a ½-ounce weight, if possible. If the current’s strong, go to a ¾-ounce and if it’s very strong, try a 1-ounce weight. Remember, though, the heavier the weight, the less likely the bite can be felt, he said.
Lake advised anglers to be prepared to catch other species besides speckled trout, fish like barracudas, lemonfish (also known as ling) and Spanish mackerel, around those oil field structures. That preparation includes fishing line that can handle those fish, which, for him is 20-pound Fins Wind Tamer braided line, he said.