Speckled trout are just starting to show up on the outer bays and over the oyster reefs on the west side of Buras in advance of a minor April spawn, according to a Venice guide.
“They’re coming out of the deep holes and headed towards the beaches,” said Capt. Owen Langridge, with Big O Charters. “We normally have a little bit of a spawn in April, and that’s only a couple of weeks away.
“So they’re fattening themselves up and getting close to the beaches for the minor spawn.”
While Langridge said the first major spawn will be in May, some trout always start early.
“There are some that will spawn in April, so those fish are moving out there getting ready,” he said.
The bite isn’t consistent yet, but Langridge said the trout are hitting Vudu shrimp and are a “decent size.”
He suggested trying Scofield Bay, Bay Coquette and the waterway north of the Empire jetties.
“Are you going to catch a limit? Maybe if you’re lucky, but probably not” he said. “But if two men come out fishing and go home with 30 trout, consider that a good day.”
Redfish action is strong on both sides of the river, but Langridge said it’s been a little better on the east side, and suggested Quarantine Bay and Bay Allen.
He likes using dead shrimp for reds, but says there’s a real difference between long-dead shrimp and market bait.
“The fresher the shrimp, the better,” he said. “If you’ve got shrimp that are dead and in a refrigerator or on ice for four or five days, it turns to mush and smells bad.
“I used to think that would be the best bait for redfish because it had a strong odor, but I’ve learned over the years the fresher the bait, the better the bite is going to be with redfish.”
Shrimp availability is tough now, but Langridge said bait caught within the last 12 hours or flash-frozen shrimp are a great option.
“When they thaw out, they’re just like a fresh shrimp,” he said. “This is what market bait is. And to me there’s a difference between just dead shrimp and market bait.
“You can get out there with that old stinky stuff and catch nothing but hardheads, and the redfish won’t fool with it.”
As always, fish the points, pockets and cuts and look for moving water, he said.
“Redfish like current,” Langridge said. “If you see the tide moving either in or out, I prefer a falling tide for reds, but I’ll take it either way I can get it.”