Tommy Vidrine and his wife J Lynn enjoyed an epic fishing weekend on Grand Isle, scooping up four trophies in the 2016 Creole Classic and putting a new 6-pound, 8-ounce hammer speckled trout into the lead for the STAR Tournament’s Southeast Division.
And they owe part of their success to big bull reds that chased Vidrine from his usual trout hotspots on the front side of the island Saturday morning to an old honey hole in the back.
“Every time I threw a pogie out there in the front a bull red would grab it,” Vidrine said. “So I went to the back on some rocks along Caminada Bay where I figured no bull reds would bother me.
“I’ve caught a couple of 4-pounders back there, and I went to the same place. I waited for the tide to get just where I know how it’s supposed to be, and in an hour-and-a-half, we had six or seven fish,” he said. “The Lord gave us two big fish within 20 minutes.”
Vidrine himself got things going when he landed a 5-pound, 2-ounce speck around 11:15. Both he and his wife were free-lining — just the hook and live pogies, with no weights.
“We had a weight on there and first and caught some little ones, and I said, ‘You know what? Every time I catch my biggest trout it’s with no weight. So I’m going back to the old way, hooking them through the butt and just letting them flicker out there.”
Twenty minutes later, lightning struck for J Lynn.
“That big fish came up, and I saw a boil. I told her not to move her bait,” Vidrine said. “When he took it, I said, ‘Let him have it. Don’t set it too soon… Now — set it hard!
“When that fish felt the hook, it came straight to the top and showed us his whole body. It looked 7 (pounds)-plus.”
J Lynn was using a 2/0 Owner all-purpose bait hook when she caught the big 26-inch speck.
“I told her, ‘It’s a pound or two bigger than mine. Your fish is the new STAR leader by a ways,’” Vidrine said. “She was so excited — she was jumping in the boat.”
In addition to now leading the STAR’s Southeast Division, J Lynn won first place in the Creole Classic with the giant speck; Vidrine’s 5-pound, 2-ounce trout placed second.
In addition, Tommy Vidrine picked up a second-place trophy in the Creole Classic for bull reds, and a second place for rat reds, as well.
“She’s my lucky charm,” Vidrine said, describing his wife. “She got on my boat, and everything changed. Big fish started hitting.”