What doubles as a speckled trout honey hole in June and beautiful bird-watching area in the northern Gulf of Mexico?
Raccoon Island almost due south of Bayou Grand Caillou, about 5 or 6 miles as the pelican flies. That’s why so much man-made effort has gone into preserving the barrier island, regarded as the largest pelican rookery in the Sportsman’s Paradise.
Houma’s Capt. Bill Lake appreciates the beauty of the island at leas as much as the next toutdoorsman. However, the Bayou Guide Service owner knows firsthand after just how many speckled trout the hotspot gives up — specifically the rock jetties on the south side of Raccoon Island.
“In June, those rock jetties produce more (speckled trout) than any other place in our area. Those rocks attract fish,” Lake said. “You still can catch tons of speckled trout around the whole island.
“Those rocks are like magnets for speckled trout and redfish.”
About the rock jetties, which consist of boulders from Kentucky, there are 16 sections, each about 80 to 100 yards long with gaps of 30 to 40 yards between them. They were put there to save the island by trapping sediment, with mixed results.
Mangrove trees, which the pelicans use during nesting periods, are abundant on the east end, while there is little life left on the other side.
The island, Lake explained, was cut in half, apparently by a hurricane. From that cut, which is deep enough to float a boat, west to Raccoon Point is barren.
“We’re losing the west end,” Lake said. “I would say in another few years it will be only a big sandbar.
“It’s really a shame to see it go.”
As for speckled trout action around the jetties, it can be nonstop. And boats flock to it like the birds flock to the island.
Lake said most of the rocks are in 4- to 5-foot depths.
Just be ready to share the water.
“It gets very crowded. This past Saturday, 20 boats, at least, were working the rock jetties,” Lake said. “And it’s not crowded yet. I’ve seen it in June where there’s 70, 75 boats.
“There will be five boats on every jetty.”
The place to catch the speckled trout are, naturally, the east and west points of the jetty you choose.
“You can catch along the main stretch, but I’m telling you, the points are the better places,” Lake said, adding that the gaps between the points usually are little deeper than the rest of the area.
If you get there and there aren’t “a ton of boats,” start on one jetty and just run with the trolling motor from one to the other, Lake said.
People can wade fish, he said, but venturing onto the island is illegal the last he heard because it is a sanctuary for birds, he said.
What to fish with?
Lake and his clients throw tandem-rigged soft plastics — mostly purple/gold and glow/chartreuse Bayou Chub Minnows, which he’s been offering the speckled trout since the early 2000s.
Fish those on ¼-ounce leadheads.
“We usually throw tandem-rigged baits because you can catch two at a time and load the box,” Lake said.
It’s best to fish on a falling tide, he said.
Live croakers and live shrimp fished at the base of the rocks also put fish in the boat.
West of the western tip of Raccoon Point is a roughly 300-yard-long sandbar in 2- to 3-foot depths that gives up beau coup bull reds and speckled trout in the summer months, starting in June.
It’s worth giving it a try, Lake said.