Soft plastics should mimic live shrimp
When you pull up to your favorite marina and grab some live bait, your main objective is to get the shrimp in your livewell and keep them frisky.
You probably don’t pay much attention to how the shrimp swim in the tank, but you should, Capt. Lane Zimmer said.
The way shrimp fall through the water column makes them irresistible to hungry speckled trout.
Knowing that, Zimmer tries to make his soft-plastics mimic shrimp as much as possible.
“You want to use the lightest thing you can get away with,” he said. “It helps the bait fall slowly and naturally underneath the cork. I find a ¼-ounce jighead falls too fast.”
So Zimmer uses 1/16-ounce jighead — and that’s just one of the many tricks he employs this time of year to draw strikes from aggressive speckled trout out of Laffite.
Zimmer said farther runs tip the scales in his favor.
“In June, the fish are going to start looking for deeper, saltier water,” he said. “They’re going to be moving south.”
The captain likes fishing the outside islands, naming Cat Island as one of his favorites.
“There are a lot of islands out there,” Zimmer said. “You want to fish the shells around those islands.”
He pointed out that the islands aren’t necessarily what attract fish there — it’s what’s underneath.
“That hard-bottom is what’s holding the fish there,” Zimmer said. “The shrimp are diving down in the shells, and that’s where the trout are.”
June is a hair cooler than August, but that doesn’t mean you can press snooze too many times on your alarm clock if you want to catch fish.
“You can catch them all throughout the day, but the best bite will be in the morning,” Zimmer said.
Speckled trout around certain bodies of water can be hard-set on only biting on a certain tide. Although he has a preference, Zimmer catches fish on both directions of the tide.
“I prefer a falling tide, but as long as the water is moving across those shells, you can catch fish,” he explained.
He just makes sure to keep his eyes peeled for bait. This can be a dead giveaway as to where the fish are around the island.
“Usually this time of year — especially toward the beach — you’re going to see a lot of mullet and shrimp,” Zimmer said.
He likes throwing red-flash and brown shrimp-colored Ghost Minnows, both tight-lined and under popping corks.
“If you find you’re getting hung up in the shells, I would get away from the tight-line and throw a cork,” he said.