Even though the calendar says it’s almost August, anglers are still catching a few speckled trout around the platforms in Lake Borgne — something Capt. Mike Gallo hasn’t seen happen this late in all his years as a fishing guide.
And Bill — as in Tropical Storm Bill — can take all the credit for extending the mid-summer bite, he said.
“Tropical Storm Bill gave us about a 2-foot storm surge of saltier water, and it will take a long time for that water to move out of the area,” said Gallo, who owns Angling Adventures of Louisiana out of Slidell. “The water kind of stays in the Rigolets Pass and in Lake Borgne, and moves back and forth and back and forth.
“Because of Tropical Storm Bill, we have enjoyed catching speckled trout later into July this year than I can remember in my 16 years of guiding.”
While specks can still be had on live shrimp on the bottom with either a Carolina or a drop-shot rig, Gallo said the redfish action in Lake Borgne and the Biloxi Marsh is much more consistent than the trout bite.
“As we get deeper into July, it’s pretty much pass up the platforms, go straight in the marsh and catch as many redfish as you can, then head back before you’re melting,” he said. “We’re doing redfish in a variety of ways: spinners, spoons, plastic worms rigged weedless and dead shrimp under a cork are all doing just fine.
“Once you find some, stay in that area or areas similar to that.”
With plastics, he’s favoring either Deadly Dudley’s or Gulp in opening night.
“White shrimp are moving into the area, and opening night is a good mimic of white shrimp,” he said. “I’ve been seeing white shrimp in some of the bellies of the redfish I’ve been cleaning, so I know they’re already there.”
With this summer’s persistent westerly winds, Gallo said to head deep into the Biloxi Marsh to find clean water for redfish, or try targeting the western shoreline of Lake Borgne.
“That west wind blows out of the west toward the east, so it makes the western shoreline clean,” Gallo said. “Anywhere a half mile on either side of Unknown Pass is generally a good area to fish. I’ll just run my boat a hundred or 200 yards from the shore and look for jumping mullet.
“When I see that, I’m going straight to that area and that’s where I’m going to start.”
In addition to killing back some of the submerged vegetation in the marsh — which makes targeting reds a little easier — Galllo said he expects the salty water pushed in by Bill also will pay dividends again next spring in the form of abundant speckled trout.
“Way back in June, Bill provided us with some high-salinity water, and trout stayed in our waters and laid a bunch of eggs,” he said. “Guess what’s going to happen next spring?
"We’re going to have a banner spring.”