Speckled trout are in a period of transition in the stifling heat of mid-August, preparing to migrate back to the inner marshes of southeast Louisiana this fall.
Capt. Owen “Big O” Langridge, with Big O Charters out of Venice, said specks might be tougher to find in the next few weeks as their final spawn of the summer wraps up this month.
“Our fish are sitting on ready, waiting to migrate,” he said. “They’ll start moving next month to the inner marshes, but you can still find ‘em. They just become more difficult to find.
“But don’t get discouraged, because if you do find ‘em, you’ll catch plenty of fish in a hurry.”
Just this past Monday along a rig not far from Battledore Reef in Breton Sound, Langridge said he and his clients caught specks on literally every cast for 35 minutes straight on live shrimp under a cork.
“And then somebody just flipped a switch,” he said. “We never got another bite, and I stayed in the general area for an hour. Why they moved, I don’t know, but that happens a lot this time of year. They’re thinking about moving to the inner marsh.”
If you do find a pocket of fish biting, Langridge recommended switching over to an artificial shrimp to maximize fish in the box.
“You’re probably almost better off when they’re biting fast to throw some plastic, because you can put fish in the boat faster with plastic than you can with live shrimp,” he said.
The key for speck fishing, especially next month, is to locate migration routes and work those areas, he said.
“A migration route is gonna be a deeper channel that leads from the outer bays to the inner marsh,” he explained. “It doesn't have to be real deep, maybe 7 or 8 or 10 feet, and downriver in the Venice area, it's going to be close to the mouths of the passes. Because they're getting ready for that migration, and when they start, that’s where they’re going to start it at.
"That’s where I’ll be fishing over the next month or so.”
Other locations to look for specks include the rigs out of Battledore, and over towards the mouth of Delacroix, as well as Stone Island, Lonesome Island and the Iron Banks. On the west side of the river out of Buras, he suggested drifting the oyster reefs midway between the outside bays and inside marshes.
“All of those places are holding speckled trout right now,” he said.
In Venice, redfish in the delta area have moved into the passes.
“There’s still some out in the bays, so we’re catching them at both places right now” Langridge said. “The fishing’s been good for both reds and specks, but better for redfish over the last two weeks than it has for speckled trout.”
Think like a bass fisherman when targeting reds, he said.
“At any cut in the passes, any indentation and at any point, you have an opportunity to hold a redfish,” he said. “You’re looking for structure now.”
You can always fish dead shrimp under a cork for reds, but if going with artificial, Langridge recommended a Johnson Sprite weedless gold spoon or a gold spinnerbait with a No. 4 Colorado blade.