Putting Vermilion Bay reds in the boat

Brooks Amy, standing, looks over the shoulders of his fishing buddy, Jeff Fisher, right, and his son, Hayden Amy, as they get redfish ready to weigh after a trip last summer for a Southcentral Fishing Association tournament at Cypremort Point.

Look for pockets of good water and plenty of active baitfish

Saltwater fishermen like Brooks Amy make the most of oft-subpar water and weather conditions during March to catch redfish in the Vermilion Bay area out of Cypremort Point.

The 42-year-old Broussard angler has a spot — a long, long stretch of shoreline — that usually pays off regardless of the conditions and he milks it for all its worth, whether fishing for fun or fishing “slot” redfish tournaments. He’ll be fishing the latter for a seventh straight year when the Southcentral Fishing Association season gets underway in mid-March.

It’ll also be his first tournament as SFA president after he took the reins from Gerrit “T Blu” Landry of Lydia after the SFA Classic last July. In all probability, Amy will launch from Quintana Canal Boat Landing and head to Bayou Michael on the western end of Marsh Island. He’ll fish around the mouth then head west fishing the shoreline into Southwest Pass.

Pockets of good water

“Most of the time in March the water’s not that good anywhere,” Amy said. “Look for pockets of good water and look for bait like mullet, shad or little crabs swimming along the banks. That’s what they forage on in March. March is a really, really tough month, but if you get on them it’s a fun thing.”

Amy was born and raised in New Iberia and started fishing as a boy for redfish with one of the best redfish fishermen around, his uncle, the late Jeff Brooks of New Iberia. He learned about the redfish fishin’ holes in Vermilion Bay, inside Marsh Island, around the reefs on the Gulf of Mexico side of Marsh Island and both sides of Southwest Pass.

The Overhead Door Co. of Lafayette owner and president learned even more on his own as he grew up. He fishes mostly with his young son, Hayden Amy, and his father, Perry Scott.

To get redfish in the boat this month, Amy relies on fresh shrimp fished under a Four Horsemen Popping Cork most of the time, but also fishes with fresh shrimp on the bottom. He ties the line to a No. 5 hook and weights it with a 1/8-ounce BB shot when he uses a popping cork.

“Get about three boat lengths from the shore of the bank and cast as far as you can and bring It back to the boat,” he said.

Mouthing off

The bite often is “pretty slow,” he said, with the redfish mouthing the shrimp sluggishly and moving off.

“It’s kind of more ‘feel’ fishing in March,” he said. “That’s what we found out.”

Amy will stay on the trolling motor and troll miles of shoreline. If he sees a likely looking spot, he’ll give it 10 or so minutes and if he doesn’t get a bite, he says, “We’re moving on.”

He also prefers to fish an outgoing tide. Incoming tides make it tougher to catch fish, he said.

Most of the time the redfish are 20 to 30 inches long with occasional 25-inch redfish mixed in.

“If you’re really lucky (in a “slot” tournament) you’ll get a 26 7/8-inch” redfish, he said.

SFA is trying to increase its membership, Amy said. Membership is $25 for adults and $10 for children. The first of five regular-season tournaments, all held on Saturdays, is tentatively scheduled for March 19. For more information call Amy at (337) 316-8175.

About Don Shoopman 556 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.