Speckled trout have been plentiful hitting live shrimp under a popping cork, but they’ve been running on the small side in the Venice area, according to a fishing guide.

Capt. Owen Langridge, with Big O Charters, said he’s had success with specks fishing the wellheads on Battledore Reef and on the west side in Scofield Bay.

“I normally fish live shrimp 2-feet under a popping cork this time of year in June, July and August,” Langridge said. “Once you get plenty of shrimp in the water, if you go out there with anything other than shrimp, then you’re competing with what they want to be feeding on.”

Some might consider Langridge’s rig using 50-pound Bass Pro braid and 30-pound mono leader with a 2/0 kahle hook overkill, but he said it works fine for trout and it’s necessary when his clients battle big bull reds.

“The heavy mono leader falls slower than thin leader. I want it to fall slow,” he said. “And the hook in the shrimp’s crown doesn’t weight him down. He can still swim to the surface and jump out of the water with that hook in him.

“And that’s what I want him to do. I spent 40 cents on that shrimp for him to be live. I want him to stay alive and I want him to swim.”

Langridge prefers the Betts Lowcountry Lightning cork.

“They’re inexpensive, and I like the kind that has a scoop on the top so when I pop it, it catches the water, the rattles in it rattle and it makes lots of noise, but it doesn’t move very much,” he said. 

Langridge uses a blood knot to attach his leader to his cork, and twists his line five times for the knot on the cork and just three times for the knot at the hook.

“So my knot at the hook is weaker than my knot at the cork, and if we get hung up in the grass or the cane, the only thing I’m going to lose is my hook,” he said. “I’m controlling the breaking point.”

Redfish-wise, Langridge said the bite is exceptional with fresh market bait under a cork, and recommended California Point or Mozambique Point.

“And on the west side, the reds are all around the grass islands in the bays,” he said. “All of those grass islands will have some type of current going around the points and you can almost always pick up a red or two on those points.”

The Mississippi River is currently at about 10 feet, and the 28-day forecast calls for it to drop only about 2 feet, he said.

“Usually by the end of June, it’s down low enough where our redfish in the outer bays and the delta start moving into the river system and we’ll start chasing reds in the river. I think it’s going to be late this year because they won’t usually move into the river until it gets down to around 5 feet.

“This will be 3 feet higher, so you’re going to have quite a bit of freshwater flowing out of those passes, so I don’t think well have reds move in probably until the end of July.”