Where: Grand Isle: Caminada Pass, Barataria Pass and Elmer’s Island beach
What: Bull reds and jack crevalle in the passes, and trout on the beach
How: Make the paddle across Caminada Pass to the beach along Elmer’s Island for some early-morning topwater action. Stake out or pull the kayak up onto the beach and get out and wade. Watch for schools of mullet as you slowly make your way along. Toss topwaters along the edges of the bait schools. If fishing with a friend (which is highly advised), have one person use topwater and the other throw a suspending lure. Follow up on any missed topwater strikes with the suspending lure. More often than not, that fish, or another close by, will hit the suspending. For bull reds and jacks, a wide variety of artificial, live and natural baits do the trick. Throw large topwater plugs with good hooks for heart-stopping explosions. Carolina-rigged cracked crab, or chunks of cut mullet, ladyfish and white trout all do the trick. Free-line a live croaker or white trout into the current, or cast to fish busting the surface. Watch your depth finder as you slowly move along. If the screen turns red, you’ve just rolled over a school of reds or jacks. Toss large curly tail plastics, especially Gulps, rigged on heavy jigheads and hold on. If you don’t have a depth finder, look for bait showers and diving birds to give up their whereabouts. Medium to medium-heavy rods with 40- to 50-pound braid help get these fish to the ‘yak in a reasonable amount of time. And if conditions allow, fight the fish from an unanchored kayak for an exciting ride.
Launch: For Caminada Pass, launch at BridgeSide Marina to your right as soon as you come off the bridge. For Barataria Pass, travel across the island to the east end and launch at Sand Dollar Marina. Both marinas have supplies, food, bait and room rentals. It’s a $5 kayak launch fee for both. The current in both passes gets extremely strong depending on the tides and wind, so always wear a PFD.
Insider tip: Golden Meadow is notorious for handing out traffic tickets. Not only for speeding, but also for riding in the left lane when not passing. Strictly obey all traffic laws on your way to and from the island.
Where: Throughout the state
How: You can find these hand-sized fighters wherever you find fresh and even light-brackish water. Lakes, rivers and most roadside canals are all great places to load up on these delicious little demons. The fight on a cane pole or ultralight spinning tackle provides great sport. Earthworms, grass shrimp, crickets or a variety of tiny spinnerbaits all do the trick. Look for bream (collectively referred to as bluegill and a variety of sunfish) near stumps, docks and pilings, and under overhanging trees. A fiberglass cane pole rigged with a long-shank bait hook about 1 foot under a small cork is great for all manner of natural baits. For rod and reel action, use an ultralight spinning combo with 6-pound line. Throw 1/16-ounce Beetle Spins in white, yellow, green or black. Watch your retrieve speed, and reel so the tiny bait swims upright without excessive wobbling or riding sideways.
Launch: Be it designated boat launches or roadside combat put-ins, the locations to find bream across the state are virtually endless.
Insider tip: Bream have spread far south across the state into areas that once strictly held saltwater species. Many are aware of these locations where catching bass and redfish are common, but never think of catching bream. But if bass are there, so are the bream. Try some tiny gear, and you’re likely to tap into an untouched fishery.
**Yes it is hot. Get out early or late to avoid the brutal heat and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.