Charter Boat Captain Vince Theriot’s comfort zones range from the Mermentau River that runs right along his hometown of Mermentau west to Calcasieu Lake, particularly West Cove.
The Grand Chenier resident has owned Coastal Guide Service for 25 years, but 2022 is his first year guiding full time after retiring from the oil field business in April, 2021. Like many anglers in south Louisiana in recent years, he’s still recovering from the blows to normal life caused by hurricanes. He and his wife have lived in Lake Charles while their home is being repaired following Hurricane Laura in 2020.
Theriot fishes mostly along the upper and lower Mermentau River. The latter area, from the Mermentau River Bridge to the Gulf of Mexico, has been red hot for fishing. Theriot has been able to experience that first-hand throughout the winter.
But he also has beaucoup experience and success at Big Lake, specifically one area in West Cove. And now that spring is here, he’s ready to hit those patterns.
Roaming the banks
“Redfish roam around on the banks. A lot of times you can see three, four swimming together,” Theriot said about the sandy shoreline on the south-west area of West Cove, particularly around the mouth of Oyster Bayou. “Speckled trout and redfish get in there. In April and May, we catch our biggest speckled trout there.”
Also, he said, “The area of West Cove doesn’t seem to get the pressure like the Cameron Jetties.”
Fishing tips can’t get much more specific than these. The coordinates for the West Cove area he prefers to fish are 29°50’55”N 93°24’23”W.
Theriot doesn’t confine his search for speckled trout and redfish to south-west West Cove, though. Close by are Oyster Lake’s shoreline and islands as well as the ponds and reefs of Oyster Bayou.
The coordinates for a prime spot in Oyster Lake are 29°47’53”N 93°23’32”W.
“They’ve got ponds and stuff in there and oyster reefs,” he said. “When the tide’s coming in, redfish come in the ponds and on the reefs.”
Speckled trout in early to mid-spring are suckers for MirrOlure’s Paul Brown’s Fat Boys, Rapala Skitter Walks and other suspending baits by MirrOlure, according to Theriot. There are several popular colors, but his favorites are bone and chartreuse/bone back, he said.
Tops for reds
If anglers want to target redfish, the top artificial lures are Green Hornet Matrix Shad on a 1⁄8- or 1/4-ounce jighead. One of his personal favorites is a Strike King Redfish Magic spinnerbait on either his favorite 1/4-ounce or a 1/8-ounce jighead.
“I’ve been using those for years for redfish, just like bass fishing,” he said. “I fish around the edges of oyster reefs.”
What color water is he looking for this time of year?
“Water clarity plays a big part in it,” he said. “I like it where it’s not so clear you can see the bottom. They get a little spooky. I like it a bit off-colored … but not totally off-colored.”
Also, look for bait because the fish should be on them like white on rice.
The depth he prefers in that area ranges from 1 foot to the 3 to 4 foot range.
Wade fishermen can have a great day of speckled trout fishing from the mouth of Oyster Bayou to Louisiana 27. Why?
“The whole (sandy) bank is what we fish,” Theriot said.
As for ideal water temperatures, it should be time.
“They’re usually up to par that time of year,” he said. “That time of year, April, will be perfect, like in the 60s.”
As for the best tidal conditions for fishing the redfish and speckled trout, he said either will work.
“Incoming or outgoing, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “They get there and feed.”
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