Fish on the Fringes

Intercept trout as they make their way to the big bays on the east side of the river.

For speckled trout and redfish anglers, May is Christmas and New Year’s Day rolled into one. The months of bad weather, blustery winds, dirty water and overall miserable conditions are finally behind us, and May begins all things new.

It’s the month we’ve long anticipated. We’ve had visions of big trout exploding under our topwater baits, of corks disappearing under the surface, of drags whining and rods bending under the strain of a hefty redfish and speckled trout, and May makes our visions a reality.

May is when anticipation meets fulfillment. May begins so full of promise, and anglers, marina operators and charter guides alike hold high expectations for the month that rarely disappoints.

The thing to remember about May is that this is when all the action moves to the edges of the big water, concentrating along coastlines and small islands and beaches. Speckled trout have finally abandoned their interior haunts and moved to the fringes of the big bays, where egg-laden females lay and eager males spray. Hungry specks and reds prey on the schools of mullet congregating along the coast and upon the rapidly growing brown shrimp.

For anglers, it’s a bonanza, and it’s all happening right now along the entire Southeast Louisiana coastline.

I mentioned my desire to fish the edges of Black Bay to the charter guides manning the Hybrid Lure booth at the recent Louisiana Sportsmen’s Show in Gonzales, hoping one of them would take the hint. Capts. Kerry Audibert and Jonathan Sanchez, who operate out of the Breton Sound Marina, both offered a trip.

“We’ll all go,” they said.

But every trip we scheduled got postponed by horrendous winds. Time passed, but the winds were unrelenting. My deadline even passed, and still no break in the winds. I was at the point of giving up the whole idea when Capt. Kerry called, and said, “Let’s go. All of our trips cancelled because of the winds, so the whole Breton Sound charter crew is going fishing — me, Danny and Jonathan. We know where we can find some clean water on the edges of Black Bay, and we think we might have a window to get out there early before the winds pick up.”

Who could pass up such an offer? It’s a treat to fish with one charter captain — I was going to fish with three!

We climbed aboard Capt. Danny Diecidue’s 23-foot Hydra Sport, and headed toward the Delacroix side.

We had some hope to make it as far out as Stone Island and Iron Banks before the winds kicked up, but as soon as we hit Lake Robin, we realized that wasn’t going to happen. Whitecaps and dirty water greeted us and made for a rough ride to the Pipeline Canal leading to Bayou Terre Aux Bouffs.

Plan B was to head to the islands closest to the big water along the outer edge of Bay Lafourche, where we hoped clean water and speckled trout were waiting.

The winds were howling by the time we arrived in Bay Lafourche, and the water was rough and stained, so I was surprised to find it clear and calm behind the broken islands along the way to the edges of Black Bay.

“You can often find some good, fishable areas with decent water even on windy days,” Audibert said. “Just hide behind the islands or some land mass that will break the waves, and look for clean water. Look for any signs of baitfish, and look for moving water along the shoreline, especially at coves and points.”

Audibert trolled, and we tossed a variety of baits and colors. We hoped to get on a topwater bite, so mostly we tossed She Dogs and Catch 5s. I tossed a purple/chartreuse soft plastic, and a hefty redfish immediately inhaled it. Within minutes, redfish were eating up all our offerings.

We put a few on ice and released the bigger ones to fight another day, and moved on in search of a topwater trout bite.

The next set of broken islands also had some clean water, and the long calm shoreline of points and coves looked promising. I switched to a black/silver MirrOlure MirrOdine, and the trout nailed it.

The rest of the morning we spent running from one set of broken islands to another, and we covered some ground. It’s no wonder Audibert’s friends call him “Capt. Etch,” as in Etch-a-sketch, because his GPS screen looks like one at the end of the day from all the moving around.

It’s a philosophy most of the charter guides adhere to. Don’t keep beating a dead horse. If the fish aren’t biting, move. You only have so many hours to fish, so why waste them fishing in a dead spot? Move until you find them.

And we did, and we found them. In spite of the fierce winds, we managed to find plenty of clean water in the protected backsides, and there were fish in good numbers, both reds and trout, in the clean water.

Capt. Kerry Audibert can be reached at (504) 259-5304; Capt. Jonathan Sanchez can be reached at (504) 232-6227; Capt. Danny Diecidue can be reached at (504) 458-8029.

About Rusty Tardo 364 Articles
Rusty Tardo grew up in St. Bernard fishing the waters of Delacroix, Hopedale and Shell Beach. He and his wife, Diane, have been married over 40 years and live in Kenner.

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