A scenic barrier island known as a great pelican rookery and near-offshore waters teeming with speckled trout and other saltwater fish in the Gulf of Mexico will be very popular in May.
Anglers who want to deposit speck after speck in the ice chest need to go to Raccoon Island, which is approximately 8 miles due south of Bayou Grand Caillou across Caillou Bay.
That means going in a boat seaworthy enough to get there and back if it’s windy or a storm hits.
Raccoon Island is the western-most island of the Isle Denieres chain.
“May’s a big month when the speckled trout show up to spawn, so the week prior to the full moon is awesome — six days before and four days after,” said Capt. Bill Lake, of Houma. “The trout get up on the beach and drop their eggs. It’s the best place in the world to fish down here in May.”
Lake, who owns the Dularge-based Bayou Guide Service (985-851-6015), said his boats caught an estimated 3,000 speckled trout there in May of 2017.
Pass if you don't like lots of company
But if you don’t like fishing in a crowd, this is a hotspot to avoid. There are plenty of boats out there fishing the surf, the rock jetties and the many guts that have formed to the west of the existing island.
“There are plenty of people out there by Mother’s Day. On a typical day, it’s nothing to have 40 to 50 boats out there fishing the island,” he said.
Most anglers fish the surf from their boat, but there are many who get out and wade, particularly where the western end of the island has washed away. There are acres of shallow water and hard-packed sand there.
Lake advises the island is posted as a bird sanctuary, which means it is OK for wade fishermen to stay in the water — but not to set foot on dry sand.
Speckled trout action in the surf and around rock jetties can be nonstop, with the peak in the first few hours of the day. Those rock jetties — boulders from Kentucky — are about 80 to 100 yards long with gaps of 30 to 40 yards in between.
Lake also is partial to fishing the extreme western end of Raccoon Island, where there is a noticeable dropoff carved by current rushing through the intersection of the Gulf and Caillou Bay. If mullet and shrimp are visible, the speckled trout bite will be on.
While some anglers have success with Carolina-rigged live croakers, live cocahoe minnows or live shrimp, Lake relies on single- or tandem-rigged soft plastics such as gold/chartreuse or purple/chartreuse Bayou Chub Minnows and similarly colored Vudu Shrimp.
“They’re hungry. They’ll eat anything,” Lake said.
He can’t wait to try out the new Vudu Vixen, a soft plastic swim bait.
Topwaters like Zara Spooks, Top Dogs and SheDogs catch bigger speckled trout, but generally, not in numbers, he said.