What: Bass, with trout and reds as a bonus
How: The grass in Delacroix is getting thicker by the day as summer draws near. It makes the fishing a bit tougher, but the area is filled with nice bass. Early mornings, try working topwater frogs or weightless Texas-rigged plastics on top of the grass mats. If you don’t draw any explosions through the grass, let the frog sit in the open pockets of water and impart some subtle twitches. If you’re fishing with plastics, drag the lure to the edge of the grass and slowly let it sink down into the holes. As thick as the grass looks on top, there is plenty of room for the fish to move about beneath it.
Oftentimes the fish are under the grass along the deeper edges. Work spinnerbaits and weedless spoons parallel to the edges of the grass beds. If you can stand in your kayak, pitching and punching through the heavy grass is a productive technique, especially during the hotter parts of the day. Use weedless plastics with a ¾- to 1-ounce weight to get your lure through the thick cover. But be careful setting the hook, as a missed fish can easily send you out the other side of your ‘yak. Keep in mind that any strike could be from a bass, redfish or speckled trout. However, bass have really taken over in the areas nearer the launches and highway. It’s not uncommon to have days with double digit catches of plump marsh bass, with a fish up to 4 pounds a definite possibility.
Launch: Two commercial launches offer concrete ramps and secure parking. Both have small stores and sell live and dead bait. Good fishing can be found within sight of the launches, so fish your way out and you may not have to paddle very far.
Serigne’s Marina: Now the oldest launch in Delacroix, it was opened in 1967. Owner Lionel Serigne has a lifetime of knowledge of fishing in Delacroix and will steer you right. 5933 Dela-croix Highway, St. Bernard, La. (504) 265-0007. $5 launch fee. Check out Serigne’s Marina, Delacroix, La/Facebook
Sweetwater Marina: Owner Capt. Jack Payne is regularly on the water running guided trips. He always has up-to-date information on patterns and locations. 6205 Delacroix Highway, St. Bernard, La. (504)342-2368. $10 launch fee per kayak. www.delacroixfishing.com
Insider tip: Camps, rooms and cabins are available throughout the area. Ask the marina owners for recommendations if you are planning an overnight trip.
Where: Shell Beach
What: Trout, reds and bonus bass
How: Campo’s Marina at Shell Beach sits at the intersection of Bayou Yscloskey and the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO). You can literally be fishing in three minutes from the marina. There is a rock wall that lines the north side of the MRGO that regularly holds trout and redfish. Live shrimp are the key for June fishing, and are readily available at the marina. But it’s going to be hot, so don’t overload your bait bucket or livewell with too many shrimp or you’ll be resigned to fishing with dead bait. Popping corks with live shrimp along the rocks in the MRGO and the opening for Bayou Yscloskey up to the mouth of Lake Borgne on the north side, are your best bet. A sliding cork helps get the shrimp down to the depths where the fish are often holding, and makes casting easier. Note that the channel is deep, and there is a lot of powerboat activity in the area. Be careful not to anchor in the right-of-way or around blind turns in the bayou. If you don’t have any luck in this area, paddle behind the rocks and into the marsh for great redfish action with some bonus largemouth bass. As summer approaches, the grass beds get thick, but still hold fish. You may need to paddle, though, as most pedal-drive systems get hard to use in the thick vegetation. Try weedless topwater baits early, and drop live shrimp through the holes between the grass pockets to find fish hiding tight in the cover.
Launch: Campo’s Marina is a St. Bernard institution, and they do not charge for kayak launching. However, you need to use the same concrete backdown ramp as the powerboats, so be courteous and do not tie up the ramp. If the water is high, you may be able to slide in off the small dock just to the left of the ramps. Make sure to buy bait and ice from the marina in appreciation for their free kayak launch policy. Campo’s Marina, 1301 Yscloskey Hwy, St. Bernard, La. 504-252-9321. Campo’s Marina on Facebook.
Insider tip: As soon as you get into the MRGO, look to your right and you will see a large Hurricane Katrina Memorial cross. Although it is within spitting distance of the marina, don’t overlook it as a fishing hotspot. You may not need to venture any further. Note that there are submerged rocks jutting out into the MRGO on the right as you enter the channel from Bayou Yscloskey. Follow the pilings around until you clear the rocks.