Pike’s Picks —Best fishing locations for Delacroix
Follow this insider’s guide to Delacroix’s hottest fishing spots for speckled trout.
Capt. Chris Pike with two Delacroix specks.
Dr. Seuss could have been counting fish in Delacroix Island when he penned those words about the wide variety of fish in the sea. There certainly are red fish and black fish and bluish-colored catfish, and long fish and flat fish and spotted seatrout fish.
We even have fish Dr. Seuss couldn’t imagine: fish called sheepshead and fish called drum, gaff-top, croaker, cigar or runt. Unladylike lady fish stealing your bait, banana fish, crab crunchers, snapper and spades.
Quite the variety of fish God has made.
OK, so my attempt to emulate Dr. Seuss is lame. But it doesn’t change the fact that Delacroix Island is usually red hot when the weather cools down.
I was ready to jump into some of Delacroix’s great fall action, so I arranged a trip to fish with Capt. Chris Pike to see if he could put us on some trout and redfish. With arrangements all set, we climbed aboard his 24-foot Skeeter Bayt just after daylight at the Sweetwater Marina in Delacroix.
It was my first drive down since Hurricane Isaac swept through, and evidence of its passing was still piled high on the sides of the road. The damage resembled what we saw in Hopedale and Shell Beach: lots of marsh muck and grass, stairways blown down, sheds and other such structures torn apart, and marinas hit particularly hard.
Sweetwater took a significant beating, but owner Capt. Jack Payne was hard at work putting it back together again. The boat sheds were shaping up, the bait shed was rebuilt and he had a tank full of beautiful shrimp.
"16-20’s," Jack said of the beautiful bait.
"Wayyy too beautiful to stick on a hook! I want an ice chest full of those!" I answered.
Jack also has the marinas bathrooms/deli building put back together.
"Progress," Capt. Jack said. "Slower than I’d hoped, but we’re steadily getting it back together, each day a little closer to being completely whole again."
My longtime fishing partner, Sal Scurria, and I huddled in the seat behind the leaning post to avoid the morning chill. The Yamaha 250 horsepower outboard roared, and Capt. Chris pointed the bow down Bayou Gentilly.
"We’ll head over to Lake Batola where I’ve been on a pretty decent bite," Pike said. "The fish are not all schooled up in any one place so we’ll probably do a lot of moving around this morning, but that’s pretty typical in the fall. We generally drift an area and catch a few, and if we did good we’ll redrift the same area or we’ll move long and fish another spot.
"You can’t get lazy and sit in one spot right now, not if you want to put some fish in the box."
After a relatively short boat ride, Pike slowed the big bay boat to a crawl, and then killed the outboard altogether.
We were in Lake Batola, and Pike let the boat drift along the west side of the lake. He said the fish were a bit larger in here than the usual fall and winter fare, and plastics under a cork or jerk baits such as the Bomber Long A’s would be effective. We were all pre-rigged with plastics under a cork so that’s what we tossed.
Just a few minutes later, Pike had one on. He set the Power-Pole down and we fished that area thoroughly, hoping that trout had a big brother or sister nearby. After a dozen casts without any hits, he set us drifting again.
"Drifting is going to be the primary technique this month," Pike said. "Most of the water I’ll be fishing in only averages 3 or 4 feet deep, so for the most part I’ll fish soft plastics under a popping cork.
"The only exception is when its colder and the fish go into deeper water, in the deeper channels or into Oak River. Then I’ll anchor up and fish on the bottom. Otherwise, all my fishing will be under a cork this month, or with a jerkbait or a topwater bait."
Delacroix is vast, encompassing a huge swath of marsh, ponds, lakes, bays and numerous rivers, pipelines and bayous. It’s so big an angler could chase his own tail just trying to figure out where to fish.
Not to worry! Louisiana Sportsman to the rescue! We’ve picked the brain and twisted the arm of one of Delacroix’s finest, and he has laid out a float plan for November insiders.
No sense in burning unnecessary time or fuel: Just follow Pike’s picks and go home with a great box of fish.
Here are Pike’s picks for this month’s honey run:
Bayou Long at Bayou Batola — "There’s a lot of grass in the area, so drift or troll and cast along the edge of the grass," Pike said. "I’ll toss a Bomber mud minnow in glow/chartreuse on a ¼-ounce plain, unpainted jighead, about 18 to 24 inches under a clip-on cork.
"Fish the whole area. Keep drifting or trolling, and stick your Cajun anchor or Power-Pole when you get a good bite."
Pike said you’re likely to hook a few reds in the area, also.
West shoreline of Lake Batola — "One of my favorite areas in November because I often catch some nicer-sized trout along this stretch of shoreline," he said. "Just drift or troll, and cast your soft plastic baits under a cork."
Southeast end of Lake Batola at the Pencil Canal — "This area usually has a good tide line along it just before the Pencil Canal," Pike said. "That’s what I look for. If I find it, I’ll fish there, all along the tide line. Just troll or drift, and fish the same bait under a cork."
Southwest end of Pointe Fienne — Pike said Pointe Fienne is a great area in the fall, and anglers fish all over it and around it.
"I see people catching trout just drifting across the middle and casting plastics under a cork," he said. "When the trout are in there you’ll see where the boats line up.
"I like to fish the southwest end where the water is a little bit deeper, and I usually deepen my cork to about 4 feet when I fish there.
"There is a deep trough that goes through there, and if you use your depth sounder you’ll see where the trough is. The depth drops to about 12 feet deep. Troll or drift along it and cast along the ledges."
Skippy Lake — "My technique here is to simply drift along the crab traps," Pike said. "I’ll drift two areas in there, but there’s no real structure to fish except along the crab traps, which can be surprisingly effective. Toss your soft plastics under a cork, pop the cork plenty and stick your Power-Pole if you bump into some action.
"The fish are not going to be ganged up so you’ll be drifting and trolling a lot."
Little Crevasse — "There is a deep trough, about 15 feet deep in Little Crevasse. Look for it on your depth finder, and in colder weather the fish will move in there," the captain explained. "I fish it on the bottom and under a cork, and the fish will be either on the deep or shallow side.
Bakers Bay — "This area is strictly drift-fishing. I like to go fish Bakers once the water temperatures drop into the 55-degree range," he said. "That’s when areas with an oyster bottom really produce, and Bakers has a good shell bottom.
"It’s a good thing to remember: When the water gets colder, fish over oysters.
Bay Jack — "There is a deep trough that runs east to west along this bay, and all you have to do is drift or troll along the crab traps. Toss your plastics under a cork, and follow the same technique," Pike said. "Stick when you catch some fish, and then drift again until you get some hits again."
North end of Bay Ponton — "I like to fish it on a falling tide at the mouth of the big bayou that drains into it," he said. "Usually a good tide line forms up when the tide falls, and I’ll anchor and fish along it. Soft plastics under a cork."
Oak River at the junctions of the Spider Canals - "This area used to produce a lot of trout and some redfish, too," Pike explained. "In colder weather we’d fish our plastics on a 3/8-ounce jig on the bottom and catch a lot of good-sized fish.
"It has not been very productive for the past two years, but who knows? This year it might turn on there again. It’s at least worth a few minutes to try it."
The mouth of Lake Fausan at the Spider Canal — "This is another area where I like to anchor and fish the bottom with soft plastics on a 3/8-ounce jig, on a falling tide," Pike said.
Lake John — "I’ll fish Lake John on both sides of the Twin Pipelines," he said. "I’ll drift and fish soft plastics about 24 inches under a popping cork. On the east side of the Twin Pipelines I find the south shoreline is the most productive. On the west side of the Twins I’ll fish the northwest corner."
Twin Pipeline at the pond below Lake John — "Anchor on the west side and fish the bottom with a 3/8-ounce jighead on your plastic," Pike said. "Cast into the pipeline and work your bait slowly back toward you.
"A good spot in colder weather, if there’s not too much boat traffic running through the Pipeline Canals."
Four Horse Lake — "I like to drift the whole north side of Four Horse," he said. "At the mouths of the pipelines and bayous is good on a falling tide, but you can drift the area on any tide movement. Toss soft plastics, 24 inches under a cork, and drift or troll until you find some action.
Pato Cabello — "I like to drift or troll along the east shoreline, tossing plastics under a cork. It’s a good spot to fish for reds, as well — especially at points," he said.
Capt. Chris Pike can be reached at 504-427-4973.
Delacroix Island is about an hour’s drive from downtown New Orleans at the end of Louisiana Highway 300 in lower St. Bernard Parish.
Take Interstate 10 east from New Orleans and exit at Interstate 510 south (Paris Road). Turn left on Louisiana Highway 39 (Judge Perez Dr.). Follow Highway 39 through Violet. Once you cross the overpass in Violet, take the first left onto the four-lane highway at the blinking light. Follow it all the way (about nine miles) to a four-way stop. Go straight onto Highway 300 to Reggio and Delacroix Island.
Standard Mapping No. 302; Nevalost Map No. 8
Serigne’s is open and fully operational. Live bait, ice, backdowns and fuel.
Sweetwater Marina is open and fully operational. Live bait, backdown, ice and lodging.
The Reggio Marina is open. Backdown only.
Several excellent guides work out of Delacroix Island. Check ads in this issue, the Louisiana Sportsman merchant pages at LouisianaSportsman.com/fishing-guides, reports online (www.louisianasportsman.com) or with the marinas.
Sweetwater Marina offers lodging (504-342-2368) as do many of the guides. You can also check the ads in this issue for rental camps.
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