‘Run away from small fish’ to fill your box with keepers, guide says
Shrimp still haven’t arrived in the Delacroix area, but Capt. Randall Shaw is putting his customers on speckled trout by aggressively working the fish and repeatedly drifting over areas that produce keepers.
“You can’t anchor up this time of the year. It’s too early for that,” said Shaw, with Louisiana Fishing Charters. “They’re just not stacked like that yet.
“If I drift an area and catch five to 10, I’ll redrift it. If I keep catching five to 10, I’ll keep redrifting it until it falls off. If I make another drift and I catch three, then I move on. That’s the way I’ve been working it.”
Shaw thinks some anglers mistakenly stick around too long when they get into a school of 11-inch trout.
“I truly believe what a lot of guys are doing is they’re getting on small fish and trying to work them, but I think you’ve got to run away from small fish right now,” he said. “You get on those 10-, 11-inch fish, and there just aren’t going to be 16- to 18-inch fish mixed in with that. Maybe one or two out of 40, but not enough to hold you there.
“But I jet. I’m out of there. If I catch a bunch of little undersized fish, I’m on to the next island and the next area. If you do that, you’ll come across those 2 pounders, those 16- to 18-inch fish.”
He’s had recent success fishing for specks over oyster reefs and around islands, and recommended hitting the area from Lake Campo all the way down to California Point.
“All those areas I know are holding fish. Some more than others, but if you pick an area and work it, you can usually find some decent water in there. Go slow on the trolling motor, and you will pick up trout,” he said. “You might have to troll a quarter-mile before you get into some, but once you do, keep working that area. Ten trout in a pass is a good pass. Keep taking drifts over it until it dies down.”
Shaw uses 30-pound PowerPro Super Slick braid with a 20-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader and ¼-ounce jigheads for specks.
Matrix shad in shrimp creole or magneto 2 feet under a popping cork are doing the trick.
While color doesn’t seem that important, Shaw said he would hold off on imitation shrimp lures until the real thing starts to show up in Delacroix waters.
“I think it’s more a profile-thing right now. There are no shrimp out there, and if you’ve got that shad profile, that glass minnow or pogey look, that’s what they’re eating right now,” Shaw said. “That’s what I see popping all over the water — glass minnows kicking everywhere.”
The million dollar question is when the shrimp will arrive in great numbers, but Shaw isn’t sure how that’s going to turn out yet.
“My belief is one or two things. Either the cold weather kept these shrimp from hatching and slowed down their growing process and they’re just going to show up later, or the cold weather did damage to them and there’s not as many and they’re just not going to show up in the numbers we’re used to,” he said. “It’s got to be one of the two.
“Which one is it going to be? We’ll know in a couple of weeks.”
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