Guide believes late-winter freeze will have little lasting effects on area’s reds, trout
By June, Vince Theriot knows where salinity should be just about right for fair to good redfish fishing in the upper Mermentau River basin.
Theriot, a Grand Chenier resident who owns Coastal Guide Service, points saltwater fishermen to the upper Mud Lake area along the Mermentau River. The area covers 200 to 300 acres where the river meets with Little Pecan Bayou on the eastern shoreline in Cameron Parish.
Redfish from “rat red” size to 28 inches will be there for the catching in June.
Theriot, who has been guiding since 1997, believes the area will recover from localized fish kills after the region’s deep freeze in late February. The river system, he said, has enough deep water to offer refuge for finfish.
Many of the dead fish he saw while retrieving duck decoys soon after the freeze were in the Hog Bayou area, where they couldn’t escape, and lower Mud Lake.
“I think where we’re at, we’re going to recover,” Theriot said. “The river’s going to start getting pretty in the upper part of the river — good green, clean water.”
Theriot’s more than ready for redfish to chomp on Egret Baits’ Mambo Mullet soft plastics and Strike King Redfish Magic spinnerbaits he loves to fish with in the upper Mud Lake area. If the water’s dingy, he’ll use a black/chartreuse Mambo Mullet, but when it’s clear, he’ll rely on a clear or glow Mambo Mullet.
“What I’ll be targeting is sand flats around the upper Mud Lake area,” he said. “The thing to key on is oyster shells, all those sand flats with oyster shells along those banks. That’s where the redfish will be.”
Redfish should be in water 3 inches to 3 feet deep, according to Theriot, who also said a strong tide helps the bite.
“Get on the trolling motor 30, 40 feet off the banks. Redfish will be cruising the bank,” he said.
Three underwater islands in that area hold redfish that feast on food available on oyster reefs. When the tide’s low, it’s easy to spot the islands as the water flows over them, he said.
Another top-notch area, he said, is where the Grand Chenier ridges meet up with the Mermentau River. Look for baitfish, and you’ll find the redfish working the ledges.
Closer to Grand Chenier, Theriot often starts along the coast at the Old Jetties before heading up to upper Mud Lake. Speckled trout and/or redfish usually are teeming there or nearby along the beach, he said, pointing out they can be caught on “green hornet” Matrix Shad soft plastics.
“Fish around the rocks,” he said. “If you see baitfish, a lot of times the trout will be there and redfish mixed in, bigger redfish.”
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