Since Kirk Stansel has been a charter boat captain, one of his go-to redfishing spots in the Calcasieu Lake system is the marsh behind the weirs at Grand and Lambert bayous.
Stansel often runs to the Grand Bayou weir to get in the marsh at Grand and Lambert bayous.
The one public entrance to the area is the boat bay at Grand Bayou, he said. The coordinates are N29 51.758 W93 14210.
“I was back there the day before yesterday, before it stormed, and caught a limit of redfish pretty easy,” he said in late May.
“At times it is. It can get congested by the weirs,” Stansel said. “But there’s so much area to fish. Most of the time when you get back in the marsh, you can go back there and enjoy the day by yourself.”
However, when salinity levels rise above a certain point, the weirs are closed, Stansel said. That won’t happen any time soon, according to the interim refuge manager at Cameron Prairie Refuge, because the average salinity reading was 2 parts per thousand the last week of May.
Average size of the redfish caught behind the weirs varies, Stansel said. Sometimes they are 22, 24 to 30 inches, while at other times the redfish are mostly 16 inches to 20 inches, he said.
“I’ll catch them 30, 32 inches back there,” he said.
Naturally, Stansel has a favorite routine.
“Go in the weir and into some of the lakes along the canal,” Stansel said. “Go into the marshes there and look for schooling redfish. At that time of the year, they’re schooling best in the morning to mid-late morning.
“When they’re schooling like that, any type of artificial spoon or jigs (under a popping cork or tight-lined) will work — or topwater. It’s exciting for fish to blow up on topwater.”
For the record, his favorite spoon is a gold ½-ounce weedless Johnson Silver Minnow, while his first soft-plastic choice is a dark-colored Hackberry Hustler on a 1/8-ounce leadhead.
If the widgeon grass isn’t too thick, try a ¼-ounce leadhead, he said. Also offer the spots a 4-inch shrimp colored Gulp.
As for topwaters, he prefers smaller models such as Skitterwalks and SheDogs with a lot of chartreuse on them.
Sure, he said, redfish can be caught in the bayou itself.
“But I prefer to catch in shallow water back in the marsh,” Stansel said. “I go in and usually go straight back in the Grand to what we call Lost Prong, or take a right in Grand. Once you get to Lambert, there’s three or four lakes down that way that you can go fish. Big lakes.”
And often that’s where schooling redfish get tapped.
“If it’s a windy day or the fish aren’t schooling, fish the points with Gulp under a popping cork,” Stansel said. “That works really good.
He noted that scented soft-plastics should be positioned 12 inches to 18 inches below the popping cork — no deeper than 18 inches.