My old friend Capt. Tim Ursin, aka Capt. Hook (504-512-2602) said if he had fingers on his left hand he’d have bitten the nails off long ago worrying about the absence of shrimp in the water — along with the absence of speckled trout, too.
“But I remind myself this happens whenever we get cold winters, and this one was exceptionally cold,” Ursin said. “But now our temperatures swing back to the normal range for this time of year, and May brings with it an explosion of action. It’s like flipping a switch in a dark room and suddenly there’s light.
“May flips the switch and the shrimp show up all over the bays and schools of trout are suddenly everywhere. The water teems with life, the birds are diving and the trout are biting and all the fishermen are smiling again. It’s like May pulls the rabbit out of the hat and abracadabra, we have trout again.”
Hook said the outer fringe bays are where the action begins this month, and Bay Eloi should be right in the thick of it.
“The MRGO rocks are a definite no-brainer because they light up with trout every year in May,” he said. “And usually the scattered islands out in Bay Eloi attract trout this month, along with the various platforms and wellheads. It’s too early to fish for trout at the structures in the deeper waters of Breton Sound, but they do hold some huge bull reds and sheepshead if you want a good fight.
“Breton Island and Gosier are often productive this month, but that’ll all depend on the water conditions. Some years they get a lot of river water that way, but if not, they’ll be worth the trip.”
For bait, Ursin said live shrimp under a cork is always the best bait overall, but if you’re fishing under birds use soft plastics and save the live shrimp for elsewhere.
“When you can’t get live shrimp you fish with plastics, tightlined or under corks, and I’ve had great success with the H&H beetles and cocohoes, the Matrix Shad baits,and shrimp imitations like the Vudu,” he said.
If redfish are your target, Ursin said hunt them in the same areas you found them in the fall: at points, drains, cuts and coves in marsh bays and ponds. Dead shrimp under a cork is the best bait.