I spent the day yesterday with Louisiana Sportsman Circulation Director Ricky Naquin hunting around Pointe-aux-Chenes for some reds and specks. We did pretty well by my estimation, but we did have to work for it.
Perhaps there’s no time where your determination as an angler is more important than in summer. Between the heat and the slower bite, summertime can test any angler’s mettle.
However, both Naquin and myself are longtime tournament anglers, and pecking around for a box of 20 fish was well worth it. Naquin has fished P-A-C for roughly 40 years, so take heed to what he has to say about the storied fishery.
If you’ve ever fished P-A-C, you know that weedlines and oyster beds are the name of the game. There are miles of grasslines, and not all are productive, but Naquin knows which to fish hard and which to pass by.
“The best ones are the ones with hard bottom in front of them,” he said. “They might have sand and rock or oysters in front. The others that are just muck and submerged vegetation aren’t as good. They might hold fish, but not as often as the ones with hard bottom.”
He also says to focus your efforts on points, cuts and any irregularities in the grassline.
This might be a no-brainer, but the tide is a major player at P-A-C. Naquin says that the first bit of a falling tide is the best. Although yesterday the tide was incoming while we were fishing, we still managed to put fish in the box following his advice about hard bottom.
“As that tide gets higher and higher, the fish have more places to go and hide, making them harder to catch, “ he said. “Plus, with tidal movement they eat better. The lower it is, the more concentrated they are and therefore easier to catch.”
This is a bit of a wildcard, but it's related to the tides. It was a full moon yesterday, and Naquin says it’s partly to blame for the exaggerated high tide and therefore the slower bite.
“The moon affects the tide, and I think it might be like how the full moon affects bass fishing; when it’s full, they eat better in the middle of the day,” he said.
There might be some truth to this as our day got better as the sun got higher.
Throw the right thing
“You could have 50,000 baits and colors, but why? If you know that they’ll eat a paddletail, why use anything else?” he asks. “Day in an day out, a ‘tail is the deal. It outproduces anything else I’ve used down here.”
Naquin throws the old standby H&H Cocahoe Minnow in salt & pepper with a chartreuse tail, or black with a chartreuse tail.
“These fish down here eat those finger mullet, and both of those are great imitations of those,” he said.
He’ll also throw a gold spoon for reds and the occasional double rig under a cork.
Take your confidence baits, a lot of gumption and you too can have a good day at P-A-C — even in the heat of the summer.