For the last couple weeks, Lafitte-area speckled trout were standing on the edge of the diving board, their toes curled, unsure of whether they wanted to commit yet to the inside pool.
But the small surge that came with Tropical Storm Gordon last week likely gave them the shove they needed to fall headlong into the shallow end.
“The surge is going to do us some good,” Capt. Lane Zimmer said. “I was starting to see a few fish show up on the inside, and that told me they were just starting to make their push. Did the storm make a bunch of them come up? I think it did, but we’ll find out for sure over the next two weeks.”
What they’ll eat when they get there is anyone’s guess, but it may not be their usual fall diet, Zimmer said.
“I’m not seeing that many big white shrimp,” he said. “I’m seeing really tiny shrimp way back in the marsh ponds, but not all that many.”
That means anglers, at least in the short run, will have to search for baitfish to locate schools of feeding speckled trout.
“If we don’t have many shrimp, the fish will look for something else to eat,” Zimmer said. “Either they’ll be on pogies or glass minnows.
“I’d like to see some shrimp and find some birds working, but if not, we’ll concentrate on other food options.”
Even if the fish are keying on baitfish, however, Zimmer said there will always be a few shrimp around, and the specks will definitely pick them out of a crowd. As such, he tries to mimic them with brown shrimp- or white shrimp-colored Ghost Minnows teamed with 1/16-ounce Deathgrip Jigheads under rattling corks.
In off-colored water, he’ll go with the same baits in limetreuse.
Anglers who want to add some color to the box after throwing some trout in it need to find some vegetation, Zimmer advised.
“We’re looking for the ponds that have grass in them,” he said. “If you get in a clean pond, you might as well leave. The fish are all in the grass — not completely choked off, but something manageable.”
For reds, Zimmer has been tight-lining a fleur-de-lis-colored (black/chartreuse with gold-glitter belly) Mad Mullet.