Fall’N for specks

Trout-filled marshes make for short paddles

Chris Holmes

November 19, 2012 at 9:00 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Use stake-out poles to keep your ’yak positioned when you find a school of fish.
Use stake-out poles to keep your ’yak positioned when you find a school of fish.
Chris Holmes
The specks are coming, the specks are coming! That jubilant cry can be heard from ’yakers all across coastal Louisiana. Fall is here, and hungry trout are filling the interior marshes where they’ll be easily accessible to kayak anglers for the next several months.

While speckled trout are caught by kayakers all year long, most of the prime fishing areas during the spring and summer spawning season are just too far to reach in a ’yak. Those outer bays and offshore breeding areas require "mother shipping" a kayak if you want in on the hot trout-fishing action. However, that’s all changing now, and limits of trout can be caught in the innermost marshes and lagoons.

As the water temps begin to drop and the days get shorter, speckled trout begin a steady move into the marsh, where they will remain en masse until spring. Though they may be scattered at first, the trout will continue building their schools, and kayakers will regularly find enough in one small area to fully limit out.

Fall is a great time to be a ’yak fisherman. Mild temperatures are much more comfortable for paddling and fishing. Although available and effective, live bait is usually not necessary. These trout are hungry and active, and can easily be caught on lures. Using artificial baits also eliminates the need to carry heavy, bulky, live-bait containers. A handful of your favorite plastic tails, jigheads, a couple popping corks and a few hard baits are all you need.

Scented baits, like Gulp!, also help fill the gap between the live stuff and plastics, and are very effective on trout in the fall.

Most of the areas you will be fishing will be shallow marsh. Use of a Cajun Anchor or stake-out pole will let you quietly set up on a good bite without spooking the fish with a noisy anchor. Watch for the usual signs of feeding fish like disturbed water, slicks and diving gulls. The marsh will be alive with schools of baitfish, and shrimp popping the surface is always a hint that hungry fish are nearby.

While trout may be the goal, fall is also a great time to catch redfish and flounder on the same baits and in the same areas.

Don’t pass up fish. There’s always an urge to cover some ground and head deeper into the marsh. However, many times limits of fish can easily be caught within sight of your launch point. Fish your way to your intended destination, and you may find you’ll never need to get there.

A plastic tail under a popping cork is a great "search bait." Cast in all directions as you make your way. If you locate fish, try a variety of baits and methods to see which works best. Having rods rigged with different lures makes for quick change-ups and lets you get on the fish while they are biting.

On any given day, fish can be caught trolling, tight-lining, popping corks — and, yes, even on topwater. Quite possibly, all of these methods can be successful on the same trip! Subsurface hard baits like a MirrOdines, Catch 2000s or Corkys are also deadly on hungry fall trout.

When moving from spot to spot, always have a bait in the water. Trolling a lure behind the ’yak while casting with another lets you cover more areas and locate fish. When one is caught, quietly set up in the area and try to repeat your success.

Using a good map program like Google Earth or Bing maps will help you quickly identify potential hotspots near your preferred launch area.

Most powerboats will feel the need to "run away" from the launch, thereby leaving the area alone for kayakers. Take advantage of this solitude and you will likely find trout without venturing too far from your starting point.

If you are a kayak fisherman, fall is likely the time you wait for all year. It’s here; enjoy! If you are thinking about getting into kayak fishing, there’s no better time to start. Easy limits, short paddles and minimal gear make fall kayak fishing both comfortable and rewarding.

There are numerous commercial and "combat" launches across South Louisiana that provide ’yakers with close access to fantastic fall trout fishing. Here’s a list of some of the more popular areas from east to west:

Fort Pike/Rigolets — Public launch at Fort Pike and several local commercial marinas. Fish the marsh areas around Lake St. Catherine, Sawmill Pass and Geoghegan’s canal.

Hopedale — Launch at the old Pip’s Place to fish Hopedale Lagoon and Lake Ameda. The marsh ponds across from Breton Sound Marina also provide great fall trout action.

Empire/Buras — The marsh complex near Delta Marina, Joshua’s and the nearby pumping stations is easily accessible and provides endless areas that are full of trout. The Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club holds its big fall fishing tournament here due to the abundance of trout, reds and flounder.

Cutoff/Golden Meadow — Launching at Basson’s will quickly put you in the heart of the famed Sulphur Mine and surrounding marsh. Though more widely known for its wintertime fishing, fall fishing is also fantastic.

Leeville/Highway 1 — The vast marsh complex in Leeville and farther south along Highway 1 provides endless opportunities to catch specks during the fall. Launch at Bobby Lynn’s Marina or combat launch at dozens of easy spots all along the highway.

Point Aux Chenes — PAC Marina or Theo’s will quickly put you in the heart of fall trout-fishing paradise. You can also combat launch at several places off of Island Road.

Cypremort Point — Launch at Quintana Landing/Cypremort State Park. Fish the nearby cuts and coves.

Big Lake — This perennial hotspot for big spawning trout also offers great fall fishing. On the west side, launch at Spicer’s or West Cove. For the east side, Fred’s Bar puts you in the marsh and the Turner’s Cove area, while Hebert’s gets you within range of Commissary Point.

Fall fishing means short trips and pared-down tackle — and lots of success.
 



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