Marsh Island gives bass pro a great summer distraction

Clelie Sumrall, the daughter of Caleb and Jacie Sumrall, wears the widest smile as she leans over an ice chest full of redfish she helped catch on a trip with her father. They had their limit before 8 a.m. while fishing the vast shoreline of Marsh Island. (Photo courtesy Caleb Sumrall)

New Iberia’s Bassmaster Elite Series pro Caleb Sumrall will be setting the hook and reeling in fish many times in August. It’s not just bass.

And that’s before he went to the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York. During the early part of the month, he’ll be catching redfish somewhere along the coast shoreline of Marsh Island and Southwest Pass in southcentral Louisiana.

“That’s what I like. I like the break from bass fishing. Something to cure the need to fish. That way, when it I get to the tournament, I’m refreshed and thinking about bass,” Sumrall said.

Redfish provide plenty of practice and plenty to think about whenever he’s home this summer during breaks in the tour. After traveling to the St. Lawrence River at Clayton, New York, for an Elite tournament July 14-17, he’s having another nearly month-long break before going to Lake Oahe in South Dakota, for the second-to-last tournament on the Elite schedule this month.

Blistered the redfish

Sumrall, 35, was well-refreshed before the trip to New York. He blistered the redfish population while fishing with family members, including his daughter, Clelie. That will be continuing this month.

He also tapped the speckled trout population a few days earlier while fishing with his wife, Jacie, and young son, Axel. Again, he’s looking forward to more this month.

On his Facebook page, he posted: “Smashed a little 3-man limit of trout today. I may be a freshwater fishermen by profession but the salt calls to me!”

When Sumrall targets redfish along the bayside or Gulf side of Marsh Island, he said, “I focus on anywhere the tides hit points, preferably on a high tide falling is where I like to fish. You can run the pattern on both sides. Anywhere you can get water in grass, that’s the pattern.”

Some people might give up on redfish in the late summer heat as bigger redfish head for deeper water. Not Sumrall.

“I like to fish for smaller redfish. They eat good,” he said.

Three ways

There are three ways to catch them, he said, starting with a ¼-ounce Kajun Boss Saltwater Spinnerbait, either black/chartreuse or pearl white soft plastic with a gold blade.

If that doesn’t satisfy the redfish, he’ll try a 3/8 ounce black/chartreuse Delta Lures Redfish Thunder Jig.

His next offering would be a chartreuse Matrix Shad 1 ½ to 2 feet under a Four Horsemen Popping Cork. He tips it with a piece of shrimp sometimes to encourage the redfish to bite.

He doesn’t soak any of the artificials for long in one spot.

“If I catch one, I might make a couple more casts in there, but I stay on the trolling motor. I just keep going down the banks,” he said.

Some shoreline areas that often are a little more productive for him are around Bayou Michael, the side of Lake Sand and Southwest Pass.

Going for trout

But his Xpress X21 Pro aluminum bass boat won’t stay along the shoreline for long if he can’t drum up cooperative redfish.

“If the salinity’s up and water clarity allows, I like to fish for trout,” he said, noting he fishes for speckled trout along the reefs on the Gulf side of Marsh Island.

“My absolute favorite bait is a topwater Zara Spook. Spro makes a good topwater walking bait that they’ll actually eat, too, a Spro Fat Papa Walker 130.”

Sumrall targets the traditionally productive reefs and usually does well, but tips his cap to a veteran charter boat captain.

“Shane Johnson is a specialist on it,” he said about the New Iberia skipper who consistently pulls speckled trout off the reefs.

The Elite pro is hopeful he shines at his speciality down the stretch of 2022. In between, he’ll answer the call to saltwater. And the reds and specks better watch out.

About Don Shoopman 493 Articles
Don Shoopman fishes for freshwater and saltwater species mostly in and around the Atchafalaya Basin and Vermilion Bay. He moved to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 1976, and he and his wife June live in New Iberia. They have two grown sons.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply