For the first time since new regulations went into effect in February, tripletail action is about to heat up along the Louisiana coast.
But gone are the days of tripletail fishing without limits or size restrictions.
Louisiana has joined other Gulf Coast states in more actively managing the pelagic fish that are frequently attracted to cover like crab trap buoys and floating vegetation.
According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, all anglers are reminded that the recreational bag limit for the possession of tripletail, whether caught within or without Louisiana waters, is now five fish per person, per day.
And both the recreational and commercial minimum size limit is 18 inches total length.
“Eighteen inches is a big tripletail,” said Kenny Begneaud, who enjoys catching the tasty fish out of Bayou Dularge where fresh water from the Atchafalaya hits salt water. “That’s going to cut out a lot of tripletail you used to be able to keep.”
In his experience, Begneaud suspects the new minimum size, rather than the five-fish-per-day limit, is what most anglers need to take note of moving forward.
“We’ve never caught more than about seven total on a trip with four people in the boat,” he said. “But 18 inches is good size, so people need to be aware.
“The size limit, to me, is where you’ll have a better chance of having violations.”
When fishing for tripletail, Begneaud looks for any type of cover, like logs or floating vegetation.
“The biggest one we’ve ever caught, a 22-pounder, was caught under a floating pizza box,” he said. “So when we fish them, we run around looking for debris and the fish are under it.”
He targets them using live shrimp about 12 to 18 inches under a popping cork.
“What I try to do is throw the cork past the debris, whatever it is, and then reel it up right to the debris,” he said. “I’ll even let it hang on the debris and let the fish pull it down.”
The Notice of Intent for these new regulations was announced by LDWF last summer, and also established a 100-pound commercial trip limit, with no more than one trip per day.