I made a trip out of Chef Harbor with Schlumbrecht just the other day to check on how close the fish are to turning on. He had been picking up a few small trout and some redfish between Bayou Bienvenue and Chef Pass, but it's been kind of an off and on bite.
The water was consistently in the upper 50's, and we actually found some 59-degree water later in the day. That got Schlumbrecht excited enough to tell me I should keep my phone close to my side just in case the big trout showed up, which he expects could be any day now.
"These smaller fish we're catching falls right in line with what they do every year," said Schlumbrecht. "They're the first to show up, and while they aren't stacked in the lake yet, they will be soon. The bigger fish will show up right after that, and then the bite will be on. They'll come up through the Chef and fan out on the bridges starting on the south shore."
All our bites came out in the middle of the deeper bayous and canals on Blue Moon Dudleys and the Magic Minnow Hybrid. Both had chartreuse tails. Heavy jigheads were required to get our baits down to the bottom where Schlumbrecht just knew the fish were holding. He proved his point on one particular redfish, which was loaded with leaches.
"That's what happens when these fish get right on the bottom," he said. "When they're like that you've got to fish deep and slow to get them to bite."