There may be a hot, new live bait for catching redfish along the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts — young, tender nutria.
At least that’s what anglers are finding when they clean reds caught in the marshes of Mississippi and Southeast Louisiana.
“I’ve been fishing the Biloxi marsh and the coastal waters of Louisiana and Mississippi and never have seen baby nutria in fishes’ bellies until this fall and winter,” angler Darien Ladner said. “We’re beginning to see baby and young nutria in the stomachs of the redfish we’re cleaning now.”
Nutria produce two to five litters each year, so there would be a constant supply of fresh, active live bait to use for if a market develops. Alternatively, anglers could can catch young nutria in live traps.
With nutria, you have a bait you can cast out and let it swim back toward the boat with its webbed feet, or you can retrieve it back to the boat.
When the redfish attacks, the fish will inhale the entire bait, making hook setting easy.
And it’s really a win-win situation, since nutria destroy an estimated 100,000 acres of marshland each year by eating the roots of the grasses.
So every young nutria used to nab a tasty redfish cuts down on the population of coast-destroying rodents.