Citizen lawsuits and uncertain state requirements loom
All the freshwater that has been diverted from the Mississippi River down through Lafitte has pushed the best salinity levels south, and Captain Theophile Bourgeois with Bourgeois Charters (504-341-5614) says the best trout fishing is from Manila Village to the Gulf of Mexico. “We’re hardly catching any trout north in areas like Salvador and Bay Round, which are usually pretty heavy with trout,” said Bourgeois. “There are only a handful of fish in those areas. In order to catch the trout, you have to have the higher salinity levels, which is going to put you in the Manila Village area.”
When running trout trips, Bourgeois and his guides are working from Manila Village south toward Port Sulphur to the east and Leeville to the west. No doubt, catching 100 fish with four anglers is doable, but that’s only going to come with lots of work.
“You’re not going to load the boat ever time you go out,” Bourgeois added. “If you’re happy with 30 or 40 fish, you can fish Manila Village and have a very good day. The key at Manila Village and the rest of the areas in Barataria Bay is catching a decent tide.”
Bourgeois considers a decent tide to be six tenths or better with anything less than that being a situation that “separates the men from the boys.” Another factor he considers to be equally important is to be there early.
“A lot of people consider Manila Village their starting point,” Bourgeois said. “They’ll get there first thing in the morning and get 15 to 20 good fish on topwater before they move down toward the gulf and start fishing other stuff.”
Topwaters are a good choice for the very early bite, and Captain Chris Pike, one of Bourgeois’ charter captains, recommended fishing either the Zara Spook Jr. or a MirrOlure She Dog.
“This area typically holds a lot of smaller fish, and they have an easier time getting those baits in their mouths,” said Pike. “Other than that, I fish a lot of DOA shrimp under a cork. If the fish are tight to the bottom, I’ll switch to tightlining a Chicken on a Chain Saltwater Assassin Sea Shad.”
While fishing the Manila Village area and all the islands to its south, Bourgeois and Pike always keep an eye out for diving birds in the surrounding bays. In this case, bait choice becomes less critical with most any color or style of bait being productive as long as it’s put in front of the feeding fish.