Pontchartrain specks biting at sunset

It’s common knowledge that the biggest trout of the year bite during May on the bridges of Lake Pontchartrain. That’s why I was so bewildered that Capt. Greg Schlumbrecht with To Fish Charters (985-960-1709) and I were one of only three boats fishing the Trestle yesterday.

I know it was Thursday, and I know it was the evening, but with the number of anglers living such a short drive from the lake, it was a surprise that we were the only ones pulling in gobs of giant trout.

The big trout run began on the bridges a couple weeks ago as several posters on the Louisiana Sportsman message boards could attest. There’s no doubt it can get a little crowded during the weekends, but educated anglers still pull in some of the prettiest trout in the state in between all the lines in the lake. If you want to beat the crowds, though, there’s no better time for catching specks than at sunset.

Schlumbrecht made the short run from The Dock on the Northshore to the south end of the Trestle. After coming off plane, he pointed to a box he had taped to his console and announced that there wasn’t an unproductive bait in the box. A quick inspection revealed it was full of magic minnow and key lime Hybrids and blue moon and key lime Deadly Dudleys.

“Just get it up there by the pilings and let it sink,” Schlumbrecht instructed. “They’ll hit it just about anywhere … on the bottom, swimming it in. But most of the time they’ll eat it as it falls back after you pop it off the bottom.”

I never even felt Schlumbrecht set the hook on the first fish. One moment I was concentrating on feeling for those almost imperceptible bites. The next moment I was hit in the groin with a floundering 3-pound speckled trout. I started paying attention to what he was doing as much as what my jig was doing to avoid any further damage to my body.

One thing that stood out was that Schlumbrecht often set the hook while his rod was at the 11 o’clock position. It was a little awkward looking, but it did the job. Schlumbrecht explained that keeping his rod tip high was in an effort to feel the light bites as his jig fell back toward the bottom. And, since trout don’t give much time to drop the rod before setting the hook, he had to set it from that position by pulling it almost behind his back.

We spent the last three hours of daylight making repeated passes from the No. 1 piling to the No. 60 piling. Schlumbrecht noticed that the farther we got from the south shore, the smaller the trout got. Therefore, we just kept making a milk-run, and we picked up three or four nice fish each pass.

After one particular fish that I swung over the side of his boat, I kind of complained about how it was just another keeper. Schlumbrecht started laughing and called me spoiled.

“Oh, no … not another 3-pound trout,” he teased. “There aren’t too many people who have even seen a trout that big, and here we have a box full of them.”

About Chris Ginn 778 Articles
Chris Ginn has been covering hunting and fishing in Louisiana since 1998. He lives with his wife Jennifer and children Matthew and Rebecca along the Bogue Chitto River in rural Washington Parish. His blog can be found at chrisginn.com.