What do you do on the coldest days of the year? You go fishing.

And it couldn’t be easier right now at Shell Beach. In fact, you don’t even need a boat, said Robert Campo of Campo’s Marina.

“Leave the boat at home and go stand on side of the road around the (Yscloskey) drawbridge,” Campo said. “The reds are real thick up in there right now in this freezing-cold weather. Whenever the temperature plunges like this those schools of reds go up into the bayou, and they just hang out around the bridge.

“From the turn to just past the bridge has been the hottest spot this winter, so far.”

Campo said the word is out, so you can expect a pretty good crowd of anglers casting into the bayou. But the crowds don’t make the fishing any more difficult.

And catching them couldn't be easier.

“Dead shrimp on the bottom carolina-rigged or just on a plain 3/8 or ½ ounce jighead — that’s all you need,” he said. “The action was fast and furious the past couple days. Make five casts, catch five reds. That’s how quick it was.

“This morning it wasn’t that fast. You might have to let your bait sit a little while and make a couple of casts, but I still caught my five in no time.” 

I drove down and made it to the bridge about noon and, sure enough, in some places there wasn’t  even enough room to squeeze in. Folks were lined up on both sides of the bayou and up to 50 yards past the bridge — and several were reeling in redfish.

I found a place to park and soon joined the fray. I had no dead bait, but I figured a Gulp! would do just as good, and I was right. The reds were hitting all over. It wasn’t a feeding frenzy, but I suspect every angler who spent an hour out there left with their limit.

But you better go now if you want to taste the action.

“Those reds won’t stay in there long,” Campo said. “As soon as the temperature rises a little bit, they’ll leave.

“And if it freezes again they’ll be back.”