Redfish were choking the marshes around Venice in October, but trout were few and far between. By early November, however, specks should be invading the Mississippi River, producing plenty of action.
“We’re catching three or four trout in the river right now among the redfish,” Venice Charters Unlimited’s Capt. Brent Roy said in early October. “But come Nov. 10, we’ll be catching 75 trout and a limit of redfish.”
While there was plenty of salinity to hold trout when he was interviewed, Roy said the water was still too hot for the fall trout run to begin.
“When you start getting those consistent fronts that drop the air temperatures down into the 50s and 60s — and if you get a couple of nights in the 40s, it really expedites it — (trout) really move in,” Roy explained.
He said trout gang up in areas where water is spilling out of the main river and heading to the Gulf of Mexico. Areas like Cupids Gap, the Jump, and the various spillways and diversions along the lower river are consistent hotspots.
“They’re going to start orienting to ledges or right in breaks in the current,” Roy said.
He said some of these areas will be really congested on weekends, with boats clogging the openings. While he won’t get in the middle of that kind of traffic jam, he said there’s a simple reason anglers stack up.
“They’ll all catch fish,” Roy said.
Trout will definitely fall for plastics during this time, but the guide said live bait is a guarantee.
“I generally will not leave Venice Marina without 150 or so live shrimp,” Roy said. “It’s a good insurance policy to have.
“If I catch them on plastics one day, I might not need live shrimp the next day. But I’ve done that and not been able to get a bite, and had somebody pull up and catch them on every cast with shrimp.”
The best approach is to use a cork with an extra-long leader — like 6 feet long.
“It depends on how deep they are,” Roy explained. “If there’s a lot of current, you can’t use a long leader because it will just go past them too fast.”
But he said often it’s impossible to catch fish any other way because specks and reds are hugging the bottom.
“There are some spots where there’s structure 8 feet down, and the fish are just sitting down there,” Roy said. “You can’t throw a jig in there because you’ll get hung up, and you can’t throw a short cork because it’ll just blow past (the fish).
“But if you use a 6-foot-long leader and let it drift slowly across that school of fish, you’ll catch them on every cast.”
There was a day when Roy would catch 4- to 5-pound trout, but he said that hasn’t happened in years.
“They’ll be solid 14- to 18-inch fish,” he said.