The speckled trout bite is still going strong on Grand Isle, but anglers might want to consider fishing with croakers or a plastic imitation shrimp now because of all the bait stealers present, according to a local fisherman.
“Right now you probably need to bring 200 live shrimp to catch 50 trout because you’re going to get stolen that many times by trash fish,” Tommy Vidrine said. “I would forego the shrimp now and get either live croakers or your favorite plastic shrimp imitation.
"There’s just too many bait stealers that will pick them off, like hardhead catfish, sheepshead or bluefish.”
Vidrine, who lives in Baton Rouge but is a noted speckled trout fisherman on the island, did both over the 4th of July holiday weekend: On Sunday, he had success halfway between Caminada Pass and the Fourchon barges with a Vudu shrimp under a popping cork, and on Monday he caught several larger trout free-lining live croakers near the Grand Isle jetties.
“The bite is there, but the water is really hot,” Vidrine said. “I think the best time to go is early in the morning or later in the evening around 7.
“If you don’t want to get up early, of if you want to go to the beach first and have fun, then you can go fishing and grab a good bite from 7 to 9 at night.”
On Sunday, he actually had more success catching trout in green water right on the edge of some browner, murkier water using a Vudu shrimp a couple of feet under a popping cork.
“I don’t know if those trout stay hidden in the brown water, and the bait comes through the green water and they come out and snatch it,” Vidrine said. “Maybe it’s a good place for them to hide without the bait seeing them in that green, green water.
“The bottom line is that really green water is not always good to fish in if it’s too clear. The trout can’t do what they like to do — ambush bait — because the bait sees them. I think they like clear water, but not Florida-looking water.”
And if you’re fishing with a popping cork, Vidrine said to make sure you’re popping it loud enough — and often enough — to attract the trouts’ attention.
“It’s called a popping cork for a reason, but people don’t pop it enough in most cases. You want to give it a nice pop about every 10 seconds, maybe two pops in a row. And then let it alone,” he said. “Most people just throw it out there and barely give it a little pop. And they’ve got a bunch of slack in their line and then they try to pop it, and it doesn’t pop.
“You need to tighten the line until the cork starts to move, then jerk it with your wrist and make it make that noise. If you don’t pop it right, it’s not going to sound like a trout feeding and they’re not going to come up as much to look and see what’s going on.”