Sleep in, let the boats clear out and then head down to Black Bay for some fast trout action.
Four boats crowded around a single piling jutting above the rocks forced Captain Ron Hope and I to keep looking for a spot. Finally, we found it, a blow-through on the long rocks where trout, reds, black drum and sheepshead were ganged up to eat bait washing through the rocks.
“These are the kinds of spots that are going to get more and more obvious as erosion wears through the rocks,” Hope said as he deployed his anchor to hold us just close enough for us to reach the edge of the rocks on a long cast. “If you’ll look on either side of this spot, you’ll see that this is the only area nearby where water is washing from outside the rocks into the MRGO.”
All I could see was little pockets of water that didn’t look very exciting, and the water didn’t even look like it was moving. However, within about 30 minutes of our arrival, the wind picked up from the southeast and long plumes of frothy, white water began to stream through the openings.
We had landed a couple sheepshead and black drum before, but it was like somebody flipped a switch when the water started flowing through the rocks.
Trout and redfish must have realized the concentration of bait being pushed from one side of the rocks to the other presented an easy meal because they showed up as soon as we saw the telltale signs of bait struggling in the current.
“To really catch fish in these kinds of spots, you’ve really got to walk the line between getting hung in the rocks and casting to just the right spot,” Hope explained while breaking off his first cork. “As you can see, cast too close and you’ll get hung. Cast too far away, and you won’t get a bite.”
Our most consistent bites came when our corks landed within inches of the edge of the rocks and allowed to naturally wash away from them with a couple well-timed pops. And we could call our shots most times based on nervous baitfish scattering around our corks.
Redfish and sheepshead bit right against the rocks, and trout bit a little farther out. Catching trout was a matter of our shrimp washing far enough away from the rocks without a redfish or sheepshead biting.
“Live shrimp work best this time of year,” Hope said as we began our cork patrol to pick up four broken-off rigs. “But as you just saw, dead shrimp work just as well. We even caught trout on dead shrimp today. When you really get in them, you could switch to plastics. We probably would have done just as well on some of the Gulp! stuff had we switched.”
Contact Captain Ron Hope and Sportsman’s Paradise Outdoors at www.spoutdoors.com or call 225-445-1019.