Speckled trout have pretty much made the move to interior bays and marshes north of Grand Isle now, so that’s where Capt. Keith “Herk” Bergeron heads to track them down in December.
“We’re in the marsh fishing live shrimp and minnows under a cork,” said Bergeron, who operates Pair-A-Dice Charters on the island. “For trout, we’ve been finding most of the fish around points, and where it drops off in deeper water.
“For redfish, we’re finding them against the bank in the pockets, 1 foot away from the grass throwing those minnows. The good thing is, trout eat the minnows, also.”
Redfish are getting aggressive now, storing up for the cold months ahead, he said.
“I guess they know winter’s coming, because they’re getting fat,” Bergeron said. “Every redfish we caught (in early November) was just gorged with little minnows and crabs. It’s like they’re fattening up for the winter.”
For both specks and reds, Bergeron rigs up with 20-pound braid and a 40-pound mono leader attached to a 3/0 kahle hook.
“I don’t fish any kind of weight, so the minnow is still swimming around. For redfish, I’ll usually go 16 inches at the deepest for my leader under the cork.”
Bergeron hooks the minnows through the bottom jaw and comes out up between the fish’s eyes because they stay on the hook longer if his customers make a few errant casts into the marsh grass.
“When you’re popping that cork, it doesn’t really matter if the bait is dead. They see that fish moving around, and they’re going to get him,” he said. “There’s nothing more tempting to a fish than wounded bait, so even through it might be dead, it’ll still catch fish.”
Trout action has moved several miles north of Grand Isle, in spots like Fisherman’s Bay and further east toward Manila Village and Wilkerson Canal, he said.
Depending on cold fronts and water temperatures, Bergeron said the speck bite typically heats up when the sun comes up.
“As the water warms, they’ll look for shallow flats. When we get some cold fronts in December and that water temperature drops, you’re going to start seeing fish in shallow water,” he said. “The baitfish hang around those oyster reefs because they warm up faster, so that’s where the trout are, too.”
Bergeron wasn’t sure how much longer Bridge Side Marina on Grand Isle would have live shrimp, but he said they usually have live minnows all winter long.
Editor’s Note: For more information, contact Capt. Keith “Herk” Bergeron with Pair-A-Dice Charters at 985-860-7855 or visit www.pairadicecharter.com.