Bet on Hopedale

Watson’s Hunter Holden favors a Paddle Tail swimbait or artificial crawfish with an underspin at Hopedale in the summer.

While June sparks the start of hurricane season, Hunter Holden of Watson sees the month as the best all-around fishing in Hopedale. Known as “anglerdan_staterecords” on TikTok and Instagram, Holden has dialed in on what makes the trout, flounder and redfish tick. If seeing is believing, his videos and posts prove he has discovered a successful path to a big bite as the days start to warm.

From his 17-foot center console Duracraft outfitted with a 50 horsepower Mercury, Holden seeks a certain mixture of water and conditions to bring his followers not only a full ice chest of fish, but entertainment as well. Holden hones on specific tactics and a select arsenal of gear to land a big catch. A little bit of science paired with trial and error added to a hefty dose of determination brings results.

Tried and true tactics

Water movement plays a crucial role in Holden’s approach. Using and the Windy App, Holden identifies the peak in tide change. He suggests anglers start an hour before the peak of high tide and then continue for another two hours as the tide begins to fall.

“If you’re not catching fish in that time period, then you’re probably doing something wrong,” Holden said.

During that ideal tide range, Holden trolls and fishes weed lines and structures that provide cover and protection. He enjoys site casting and will travel into shallow water, sometimes maneuvering his craft with a push pole. When encountering deep holes, he will even engage that change in depth for some action.

Gearing up

While many look to live bait to ensure a memorable catch, Holden steers in a different direction. While he still keeps a cast net on the boat for live shrimp when the bite is slow, Holden favors a Paddle Tail swimbait or artificial crawfish with an underspin. A black and red color combination serves him well in muddy water. Natural colors like a Matrix Shad Lemon Head are more suited for clear water days. He offers additional color accommodations found through Sev7n and Down South lures.

Holden throws artificial lures with baitcaster rigs and saves the spinning rig for live bait when needed. No matter the operation utilized, he relies on his Lowrance Hook 9 to provide water temperature and a good depiction of side-scanning to measure activity.

“I like to travel and find the fish,” he said.

Holden indicates as good as the bite might be, you have to put yourself out there to make the catch. While he repeatedly entertains and exaggerates in his videos and posts that each fish he lands is a Louisiana state record, the size, and quantity remain impressive.

Regarding serious fishing action in Hopedale, Holden offers simple advice with enthusiasm. Managing the tide determines the time to launch and cast. The other factors, like gear selection and tackle choice, can all be determined when the trolling motor is deployed. Minimal results should be expected when fishing outside of the ideal tidal range.

“Go out there and catch some state records!” Holden said.