Catch two speckled trout at a time, before the heat of the day, then add a limit of redfish — now you’ve got the scenario for a day in the life of saltwater fishing guide Brady Giroir in July.
The charter boat captain from Houma does just that when he goes to two of his favorite near-offshore fishing holes — Ship Shoal 26 and Ship Shoal 28. They are located about 5 miles off the coast, so you must be cognizant of the weather, and they aren’t secret spots. In fact, they are notorious.
“A lot of times, I go out and hit the trout for three hours. I try to get out of there before 10:30 (a.m.) It gets hot,” Giroir said. “Then I come back in and target redfish on the shorelines of Sister Lake and Lake Mechant. I look for a calm bank with pretty water and baitfish, and use a spinnerbait.”
That game plan is a winning one for Giroir, who has owned Dularge-based Cajun Waters Fishing Charters (985-870-0311) since 2012. The 26-year-old outdoorsman loves to fish those three fairly new artificial reefs at SS 26, formerly the site of The Pickets. The reefs, made with recycled concrete, are fairly circular in shape and rise 3 feet in places in depths that average 10 feet.
Speckled trout use those artificial reefs as much or more than they did the oil field structure, Giroir said.
“They can be anywhere around it, depending on which way the tide is,” he said.
Early in the morning and late in the day, a dead giveaway to the speckled trout’s location often is the sight of birds picking.
Giroir favors an incoming tide because it’s bringing in clear water.
What to fish with? He uses tandem-rigged soft plastics, mainly Cajun pepper or chicken-on-a-chain Bayou Chubs on a ¼-ounce jighead. Glow also puts fish in the boat, he said.
However, toward the end of July, when it’s really hot, he switches to Carolina-rigged live bait like shrimp or croaker on a No. 3 kahle hook tied to a 1 ½-foot leader under a ½-ounce weight.
When the surface is calm, bigger speckled trout and lots of fun can be had with topwaters such as Top Dogs and MirrOlures. Having veteran anglers who know what they’re doing is a must.
“You catch some real nice fish,” Giroir said. “We’ve made some good trips on topwaters with people who know what they’re doing. You have to be careful with treble hooks.”
At Ship Shoal 28, nighttime fishing can be good as there are lights on the oilfield platform.
Sometimes on the way back, Giroir stops and taps the speckled trout population at the rip-rap at Raccoon Island.
But keep an eye on the weather. If a storm comes from the east, you can get back via Oyster Bayou. If inclement weather approaches from the west, go through Grand Bayou Dularge or Grand Caillou Bayou.