Guide says to treat grass beds like the bank
Capt. Joe Ezell runs his guide business out of the popular St. Bernard Parish port of Delacroix, and because of that, his job has been exceptionally easy in recent weeks: Delacroix is in the midst of a redfish run that began in the spring, and has reached almost absurd levels this autumn.
“It’s been absolutely stellar,” Ezell said Wednesday. “That freeze we had last year caused a minor kill, but I don’t think it really affected them.
“Over the last three weeks, I’ve had multiple charters where we’ve caught 15-20 (among) three or four guys, and then we’ve proceeded to catch and release at least that many. One day I was on the clicker, and we caught 120. The guys had blisters on their hands.
“The redfish are absolutely on fire right now.”
Catching them has been about as challenging as falling out of the boat, but that doesn’t mean anglers can just throw a dart at a map and fish there. They have to locate a few keys in order to have success, Ezell said.
“You need to find clean water, and look, the definition of clean water in Delacroix is dropping your trolling motor over and being able to see the foot of the motor,” he said. “The water also has to be moving. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an incoming or outgoing tide. It can be moving from the tide or the wind, but you need moving water.”
One other factor is absolutely crucial, and that’s submerged aquatic vegetation.
“All these fish right now are relating to grass beds, so you need to treat them like the bank,” Ezell said. “In other words, there may be a grass bed 40 yards off the bank. Wherever the edge of that grass bed is, that’s where the fish are going to be. Treat that like the bank edge.”
Some of the most productive grass beds have been in Bay Ponton and the western section of Lake Fausan, Ezell said.
To catch the fish, Ezell has been rigging his clients with live or fresh shrimp fished 2 feet under a cork. He said soft-plastic diehards can do nearly as well with Berkley Gulp.
“For Delacroix, anything with chartreuse in it is the ticket,” he said. “If I’m throwing shrimp creole for trout, I’ll catch a few reds, but if I’m throwing glow/chartreuse, it seems like it’s a two-to-one redfish bite.
“We’ve got some stain in our water right now, and I think that’s because of our proximity to the river. It’s a little tannic. I just think they can see that chartreuse a whole lot better.”
Most of the fish Ezell and his clients have been catching lately are in the 18- to 22-inch range, but he has a warning for anglers who find smaller fish.
“If you go to an area and start catching rats, pick up and move immediately,” he said. “That entire school of fish will be rats. They’ll all be 14- to 16-inch fish.”
The same is true for the 18- to 22-inch fish, Ezell said.