Red Hot Reggio!

Redfish action doesn’t get any better than it is this month at Reggio. Fish these 10 spots, and you’ll be firing up the grill.

“November is probably the very best month of the year to target redfish out in the Reggio area, followed closely by October,” the voice said on the other end of the phone. It was the voice of Capt. Darren Schaff (504-400-2466), who has fished professionally for 15 years and is one of the very few who make Reggio their home base.

Reggio is a small, sleepy little settlement in St. Bernard Parish, sparsely populated and situated on the left side of Highway 300, five miles before you get to Delacroix Island, its more famous cousin. It’s distinguishable mostly by a few camps, the small concrete bridge over the Reggio Canal and the Reggio Marina right beside it.

The marina is bypassed by most anglers and utilized mostly by locals who are familiar with the area and the access it provides into a vast interior marsh peppered with deep ponds, bayous, lakes and lagoons that hold speckled trout and redfish, and the action doesn’t get any better than it does this month.

I set a date with Schaff to make a trip into the Reggio marsh to chase some of those reds, and he was waiting at the camp on the Reggio Canal when I arrived. He’d invited a long-time fishing buddy, Emery Gee, along, and we tossed our gear aboard Schaff’s 23-foot Shearwater, and the 250-horsepower Mercury Optimax powered us down the canal.

I told Schaff that I wanted to stay within the Reggio grid and not really venture out of it, and highlight 10 top hotspots for redfish action in November, to which he readily agreed.

“You don’t have to go far from the dock this month to find fish,” he said. “The redfish and trout action will be excellent throughout the month, unless we get some freakishly strong cold fronts.

“Normally the conditions will be mild, the water is cooling off and the fish are settling into the inside waters. There is a lot of bait in the inside already, and the fish are never far from the bait.

“Most of our fishing in November will be in shallow water because the fish are still up on the flats and reefs and hanging along the ledges. Colder weather will drive them into deeper water by December and January, but right now we’ll mostly fish under corks and with spoons and spinnerbaits, and maybe some topwater baits if it’s not too grassy.”

We made a five- or 10-minute boat ride, and arrived at our first destination.

Reggio Hotspot No. 1 — Grand Lagoon

“This is a great spot for November reds and trout, and one of my all-time favorites,” said Schaff. “Grand Lagoon is pretty deep for the interior marsh, averaging 3 to 3½ feet, and the depth stays pretty consistent, so the lagoon is forgiving.

“There are some good ponds around Grand Lagoon that I also like to fish, but they’re only accessible when the tides are high. If you stay in the lagoon itself, you won’t have a problem navigating around unless you’re in a deep-draft boat. This is strictly bay boat and flatboat country.”

Schaff killed the outboard well before we approached a big point, and used the trolling motor to take us quietly toward it. He stayed far enough off the point that it would take a good cast to reach it, and then he stuck the Power-Pole. His tactic is to work the spots he knows to hold fish. He had a bait tank full of big live shrimp from Serigne’s Marina in Delacroix, and the plan was to soak them under a cork near the points.

I had my pole already rigged with a ½-ounce gold spoon, so I tossed it out, and on my third cast I got a big hit, and the line started to peel out. Red on!

A few minutes later, we netted a very hefty bright bronze redfish, took a few photos and released him to fight another day. Our plan was to keep a few for the grill, but that guy was just too big. That was our tactic for the day — troll within casting distance of points, stick and work the points thoroughly. And it paid off in bronze dividends, often we even had multiple hookups.

Schaff says the entire shoreline of Grand Lagoon is excellent fishing.

“You can either anchor at points, pockets or drains, and fish live shrimp or market shrimp about 18 inches under a popping cork, or you can troll along the shoreline and toss gold spoons or spinnerbaits,” he said. “The whole shoreline on each side can be productive.

“Generally I like to fish the windy side unless the winds are pretty strong, like 15 or more. Then you’ll have to work the lee side because the water on the windy side just gets too beat up and dirty.”

As for tides, he prefers a range of .08 to 1.2, and likes it falling.

“As long as it’s moving, the fish will bite, whether the tide is rising or falling,” he said. “But when the water falls out of all the grassy marsh into the bigger ponds and lagoons, the grass actually filters the water and you get that beautiful black water. That’s some good fishing water!”

Schaff says the redfish average between 16 inches to 27 inches in the big lagoon.

“Grand Lagoon is also a great speckled trout hotspot in the fall,” he said. “Get right in the middle of the lagoon and drift, and cast live shrimp under a popping cork, or soft plastics.

“I like either beetles in chartreuse or glow, or Berkley Gulps. I like the Gulps in the new penny or white color, but any color will produce.”

Schaff says to position your boat so the wind will carry you across the middle of the lagoon, whether you drift from north to south or east to west or any variation thereof, but whichever way it blows you, stay in the middle because that’s where the trout are.

“When you get a hit, push the Power-Pole or your Cajun anchor down, and sit on the fish as long as the bite continues,” he said.

The trout in the inside areas should average between 13 to 17 inches, and the action should be good throughout the fall.

“When it’s on, Grand Lagoon is one-stop shopping, in that you can limit out on reds and trout in the same body of water,” he said. “And it’s definitely ‘on’ in November.”

Reggio Hotspots No. 2 and 3 — the two big unnamed ponds east of Grand Lagoon and just west of Lake Ameda

“These two ponds are pretty deep, averaging a depth of about 3 feet,” he said. “Ideally you’ll want to fish this area when the tides are up and you can work the whole pond.

“When the tide is low they’ll be shallow along the shorelines, but still fishable under most conditions.”

Schaff says to fish the two ponds exactly the same way you’d fish Grand Lagoon, and with the same baits.

“This is shallow-water fishing, so you’ll want to fish either live bait, market bait or plastics under a cork while drifting the middle for trout or anchored up for reds at points, or work your trolling motor along the points and drains and coves and toss beetle-spins or gold spoons for reds,” he said.

Reggio Hotspot No. 4 — the Reggio Canal at Bayou LaChape

This junction of two main canals is deeper water and especially good in low-water conditions.

“The fish will stack up along the ledges, both trout and reds, and you’ll want to fish a purple/white or black/chartreuse Cocahoe on a ¼-ounce jig, tight-lined, and bounced from the shoreline down the ledges,” he said. “You can troll the bayou and work along the ledges until you find some fish, or the other option is fish a live shrimp or minnow on a Carolina rig or a plain jighead the same way.”

Reggio Hotspot No. 5 — Reggio Canal at Cochon Bay

“That whole junction there is a real good area, and you fish it tight-lining plastics on the ledges exactly like Hotspot No. 4, with one exception,” Schaff said. “There are pockets on the left and right side of the canal as it enters Cochon Bay, and those pockets can be productive, and the mouth of the Reggio Canal is good right there also, so fish that whole area thoroughly.

“But I’d ignore the rest of Cochon Bay, which is generally non-productive for some reason.”

Reggio Hotspot No. 6 — the southwest side of Lake Amedee

“This is another of the areas I prefer to fish when the tides are up because it’s pretty shallow,” Schaff said. “There are a lot of broken-up marshes, small islands and flats that can all be pretty productive.

“I like to troll around the points and the small islands, and cast spoons and spinnerbaits for reds, and you can also anchor at a good point and fish with live bait under a cork. If the shorelines don’t pay off, get off the bank about 75 to 100 yards, and drift fish for trout, using Gulps or beetles under a cork. You often see birds in there over trout, so keep an eye open for that.”

Reggio Hotspot No. 7 — the top of Petain Lagoon

“Here, too, you’ll want to fish along the banks, concentrating at points and coves, and either troll and toss spoons and spinners, or anchor and toss shrimp for reds,” he said. “You used to be able to drift Petain for trout like you can in Amedee and Grand Lagoon, but there’s just so much boat traffic through there now it’s become pretty much unfishable.”

Reggio Hotspot No. 8 — Bayou Batola

“This is another one of those areas that has it all,” said Schaff. “Bayou Batola has great flats and reefs that are real good for reds, and it has some deep holes where the trout will hang out when the water is lower and the temperatures fall.

“My favorite place to fish is the whole ‘kidney’ area, with live shrimp under a cork for trout. I like to drift right down the middle of it. But it’s pretty shallow, so you’ll want to do that on higher tides.”

Schaff says the water is deeper in the turns, and that’s a good place to tight-line a soft plastic bait on a ¼-ounce jig for both trout and reds.

Reggio Hotspot No. 9 — the north side of Lake Robin

“This encompasses a very large shoreline area and the mouths of several bayous, and all of it can be very productive,” said Schaff. “There are some good oyster reefs, too.”

He said a good tactic is to anchor off at either side of the corners wherever the bayous enter the lake.

“Fish both points of each bayou for both trout and reds,” he said. “In shallow water, fish under a cork, and in deeper water tight-line plastics. And keep your eye open for birds working over shrimp. We often see birds this month, and the trout under them can be nice-sized.”

Reggio Hotspot No. 10 — Tanasia Lagoon

“This is another of my favorite areas,” Schaff said. “Tanasia is unique in that it has it all: good grass beds in some of the pockets that are great to troll along and cast weedless spoons and spinnerbaits for redfish; some real good oyster bottom off the main points that holds both reds and trout, and you can get right in the middle and drift, casting shrimp or beetles under a cork, or you can tight-line.

“The water stays good and clear in there under most conditions, and it has a pretty good depth, averaging between 3 to 4 feet.”

We had more than enough redfish for the grill, and we’d caught and released quite a few we deemed too big to deal with, so we called it a day and made the short trip back to the dock.

Suggestion: Add Reggio to your list of destinations this month. The action is close to the dock, the shrimp are all over jumping out of the water and that means the trout will show up right on schedule, and the shorelines are red hot!

You can reach Capt. Darren Schaff at (504) 400-2466.

Destination Information

HOW TO GET THERE — Reggio is about a 45-minute drive from downtown New Orleans. Head east on I-10 to the Chalmette/I-510 exit, and take it toward Chalmette. I-510 becomes Paris Road (Highway 39). Turn left on Highway 46 (Judge Perez Drive), and follow it through Chalmette, Meraux, Violet and over the Violet Canal overpass. Turn left at the four-lane (Highway 46), and follow it all the way to the four-way stop. Go straight onto Highway 300 for 1.1 miles to the Reggio Marina.

MARINAS — The Reggio Marina, operated by Mike Turgeau (504-331-4775), is open seven days a week and has two shell back-downs. Bait is not available this season at the marina. Launch fee is $10.

Maps/charts — Nevalost Map No. 8, Standard Aerial Map No. 302.

About Rusty Tardo 372 Articles
Rusty Tardo grew up in St. Bernard fishing the waters of Delacroix, Hopedale and Shell Beach. He and his wife, Diane, have been married over 40 years and live in Kenner.