A welcomed north wind is expected this week with the passage of an early cool front — perfect conditions to target speckled trout and redfish along the beach at Grand Isle.
The island’s speck predator, Tommy Vidrine, and his wife J Lynn got in on the action early when they hit the beach late Sunday morning and hauled in 30 nice trout, including one over 4 pounds.
“If we’d have been there at daybreak, we would have had a limit in an hour,” Vidrine said. “We just played around too long at the jetties. We should have been on the beach — it’s on fire right now.
“When the north wind blows, the beach is like glass.”
Vidrine headed west and started trolling along the beach in his 24-foot NauticStar a couple of miles past the surf fishermen on Elmer’s.
“I just started looking for birds and signs of bait, and found birds diving,” he said. “We pulled in and picked up three and then it stopped, so I just kept moving down the beach.”
Near Fourchon, where workers are building up the beach, Vidrine located a spot where he saw good current moving.
“I saw the current going through there and the water kind of changed color a little bit,” he said. “It wasn’t real clear, kind of semi-green,” he said. “There was a bunch of little pogeys in the area, about 2 inches long.”
Vidrine’s boat was positioned about 30 to 40 yards from the beach, and they were casting behind the breakers.
“I found a little sandbar out by this current, so as the wave would break, the backwash would come and that’s where our corks were,” he said. “The trout were in about a foot or foot-and-a-half of water right off that sandbar.”
They were throwing live shrimp and croakers from Bridge Side Marina about 18 inches under a popping cork, and J Lynn immediately hooked up with a nice 2 ½-pounder — the beginning of a solid bite.
“We caught fish on just about every cast from 9 o’clock until it ended about 10:15,” he said. “There wasn’t a lot of tide movement, so when it’s a slack tide you have to find those breakers that cause a little havoc for the shrimp and make the bait turn over.
“I’ve always had the best success fishing those breakers on a calm day with no current.”
Vidrine also suggested hooking croakers through the mouth this time of year: He still uses a small circle hook for live shrimp, but employs either a No. 2 or No. 3 kahle hook for croakers.
“I noticed since I’ve been hooking them in the side of the mouth, it’s not killing them and they’ve been lasting longer. I hook them just like they were biting the line, like if you caught a croaker,” he said. “When they do get a little weak and the bite is not one after the other, you can give it a little jerk up and down and it looks like he’s taking off away from the fish — it looks natural.”
Redfish are also plentiful along the beach, he said.
“If somebody wants to redfish now on Grand Isle, go to the beach and look for feeding on top the water,” he said. “Pull up and throw your bait and you can wear them out — the redfish are everywhere.”
With this summer’s persistent west winds hopefully nothing but a bad memory now, Vidrine said he expects the beach bite to remain pretty consistent into the fall.
“A lot of people, including me, got disgusted and quit beach fishing because the trash fish had gotten so bad,” he said. “Some trash fish are still there, but not as invasive on Grand Isle and Elmer’s Island as they were.
“The funk is gone from Grand Isle. Trout fishing is back on.”