An angler who targets big Grand Isle speckled trout said shrimp are just now arriving at the island, but using live shrimp is key to putting some nice-sized fish in the box.
Tommy "Carl" Vidrine expects speck action to really ramp up this month if the weather would just cooperate.
“If we can get some good water clarity and the wind would die down for three or four days, I think it would be murder,” he said. “If the wind cooperates, the fish are there. But without live shrimp, you’re probably wasting your time.”
Vidrine caught some specks Thursday afternoon along the rocks that protect the backside of the island using live shrimp under a popping cork, and had more success Friday morning tight-lining live shrimp in about 10- to 12-feet of water over the submerged rocks in the Caminada Pass jetties.
The first four fish his group caught Friday all weighed at least four pounds, with one tipping the scales at 5 pounds-plus.
Vidrine favors just 15-pound green Trilene mono and a thin 2/0 circle hook when he tight-lines.
“I keep it light so the shrimp can swim with the hook,” Vidrine said. “If you put too heavy a line, the line weighs down the shrimp and then he sits on the bottom and he dies. Then you’re going to catch catfish and sheepshead.
“But if you keep the line slack and the shrimp is swimming in the submerged rocks, the big trout can’t resist it.”
And Vidrine recommends a black circle hook, not a silver one.
“I like the black. I bought some silver ones, and it’s like they see it or something,” he said. “Those big trout, they don’t see that black metal.”
With the circle hook, keeping steady pressure and lifting up on a bite are crucial, he said.
“That circle hook is just so easy. Most people want to jerk it, but all you have to do is keep pressure,” Vidrine said. “That trout’s not going to let go of the shrimp once he’s got it in his mouth. Just lift with the circle hook and the trout will automatically come up to the top.
“The hook will set itself.”
Pogeys and mullet are everywhere at Grand Isle, but shrimp aren’t just yet.
If you can’t get your hands on any, he recommended trying a Vudu shrimp under a popping cork over the oyster reefs in Barataria Bay when the water is clear.
“It’s definitely going to get better. The shrimp have just arrived but they’re not thick right now,” he said. “Without the live shrimp it’s tough because there’s so much other bait in the water.”