When a guy who consistently catches trout pretty much year round at Grand Isle starts talking about his absolute favorite month to fish, casual speck anglers should probably take notice.
“My favorite time to fish is in October because the temperature changes and it cools off, and you can fish the middle of the day without dying,” said Tommy Vidrine, who’s probably eats more specks than the dolphins in Caminada Pass. “It’s my favorite time of the year besides May, because the trout are still there and they’ll start eating plastics and swimbaits when the water cools off.
“I just murder them. It seems like more limits in October and May than any other time.”
But he doesn’t have any secret fall honey holes programmed into his GPS to catch trout in October — he visits the exact same spots he does all summer long: The Fourchon barges, the Trash Pile in the back of Grand Isle, the new jetties by Sand Dollar Marina and the Caminada Pass jetties.
“The beach might not have as many fish on it, but if you find a nice sandbar with a little hole or a change in current with the breakers, all the trout don’t leave the beach,” he said. “There’s some nice 3-pounders that stay there probably all the way until November and December.
“If it doesn’t get real cold, I catch them at the barges in December.”
Live bait, including some nice-sized shrimp as well as croakers, is typically available all month long, Vidrine said.
“If you have some big live shrimp, I would say free-line them. I would recommend hooking them through the top of the horn with a 1- or 2/0 circle or kahle hook and throwing it to your favorite spot,” he said. “Just watch the line. When it tightens up, just lift up and reel — no heavy hook set is required. That just rips it right out of their mouth.”
For smaller live shrimp, Vidrine favors free-lining with a small 1/0 circle hook.
“I see people miss trout like crazy because they get excited and set the hook like they’re bass fishing,” he said. “All you have to do is a good firm lift up, then reel down.”
His go-to artificial lure is Tsunami’s 3-inch sea trout Swim Minnow with a paddle tail, he said.
“Sometimes they want just a medium retrieve and sometimes they want it popping off the bottom jigging it hard,” he explained. “With plastics, you have to try different things. It might be a slow retrieve one day and jerking it the next — I like to mix it up until I see what they want.”
Part of what makes October so special is a pretty aggressive topwater bite, he said.
“If you like to fish topwater, it’s a great month — early in the morning and sometimes believe it or not, in the middle of the day,” Vidrine said. “If it’s slick and they’re feeding right, I wouldn’t be afraid to try a topwater at 9 or 10 o’clock, even if it’s not overcast.
“They’ll hit that thing with the sun out — that doesn’t stop them all the time.”