Capt. Tommy Pellegrin called them “junk trout.”
It’s not often that you hear speckled trout, the fish of fishes in Louisiana, called anything at all relating to junk.
But Pellegrin (with Custom Charters, 985-851-33040), besides showing his irreverent streak, was referring to where he caught the quicksilver predators.
“It’s a junk pile fishery,” the 59-year-old Terrebonne Parish charter captain grinned. “We are fishing over the remains of what was Caillou Island, north of West Timbalier Island.”
Back in the day, the once-sizable island was apparently the working headquarters for Texaco’s drilling in the area. The location featured living quarters, a galley and office and shop buildings — all powered by a natural gas-fueled electrical generator.
A canal bisected the island. Pellegrin’s fishing partner of the day and long-time friend Hugh LeBoeuf explained that this was where the company kept their barges loaded with drill pipe, production pipe, concrete, drilling mud and equipment.
“When they saw the island begin to disappear, they would dump old pipe and debris on the edges of the island to protect it,” Pellegrin said. “The last piece of the island went under water seven or eight years ago, but the junk is still there.”
It didn’t happen overnight, in spite of the current belief that coastal land loss is a very recent phenomenon. Arthur “Wootsie” Cenac Jr., Pellegrin’s father-in-law and a former independent drilling contractor who drilled many of the hundreds of wells in the original field, noted that