Anglers live and die by decisions.
Sure, everyone is going to have a Plan A because maybe your buddy told you where the fish were biting the day before your trip — or maybe you read one of the 1,326 Facebook reports on people catching fish at that spot.
But what if you go there and the fish aren’t biting, the wind isn’t right or the tide isn’t moving. Then, what are you going to do?
Well, when Capt. John Chauvin of Fin-Tastic Charters got to his ace-in-the-hole location Thursday morning, the seas were easily 3-feet and the wind was at an unfriendly angle, making it almost impossible for the Fourchon guide to fish the rocks there.
Recognizing that he needed to act quickly to conserve the precious low-light bite, Chauvin instinctively pointed the bow of his boat west and headed straight for Plan B.
When he pulled up after making the long haul to Timbalier Bay, Chauvin trolled around until his popping corks started getting dunked, and then anchored up and proceeded to put a good dent in the speckled trout population.
Chauvin headed back to the dock with a mess of fish, and he said that’s been the rule lately.
“We’ve been catching left and right,” he said. “The trout showed up early this year, and we’ve been catching limits for about a month now.”
The veteran guide also said the size of the trout has been impressive this spring.
“A good average size is about 2 pounds,” he said. “The ones we’re seeing now are typically bigger than the ones we usually catch.”
Because of the unique location of Port Fourchon, Chauvin always has the option of running east to Grand Isle or west to Timbalier. He said he’s doing both right now, and he lets Mother Nature make the call.
“I look at the wind and tide prior to the trip,” he said. “Fishing the backside of Timbalier on an east or southeast wind is doable. On a west wind, it’s really hard.”
No matter which side he fishes, there’s one thing that Chauvin is always encouraged to see.
“I look for baitfish and signs of fish,” he said. “The trout and reds are going to follow the baitfish – they’re not there just to hang out.”
On days when he has to fish the Grand Isle side, Chauvin focuses his efforts on structures, as well as the little bit of marsh that’s left.
“I like to fish the rocks on the front side of Grand Isle on either side of the pass,” he said. “A lot of the islands behind Grand Isle are starting to wash away, but there are still some really good islands there that you can fish.”
Elmer’s Island is an extremely popular summertime hotspot for fishermen with and without boats, and it offers plenty of good speckled trout action when conditions are right.
“It’s great this time of year when the seas let you get out there,” he said. “(Thursday) it just so happened that the waves kicked up, but within the next couple of days, it’s going to lay back down and turn on again.”
On Thursday, because he was fishing islands around Timbalier, he used live shrimp under popping corks – his go-to bait this time of year. At the Fourchon rocks, Chauvin prefers to use a Carolina rig with live shrimp.
“I love live shrimp whenever I’m trying to catch a smorgasbord of fish,” he said. “Live shrimp is all over in the bays, so if you have to fish there due to the conditions, bring a lot of live shrimp.”
Just make sure you always have a Plan B.