Shell Beach, Delacroix Island are solid choices for trout and redfish

Capt. Zach Hartline of Bayou Boys Charters caught these hefty trout on live shrimp in Lake Anastasia.

Charter Guide Zach Hartline of Bayou Boys Charters (504-881-3983) said the fishing this summer has been great. Trout action is excellent, and reds are extra plentiful, though you might have to run around a bit to find them.

“I’m finding a lot of trout this summer in just about all the typical summer hotspots,” he said. “The problem isn’t finding fish, it’s that you have to sort through dozens of undersized fish to find a few keeper sizes. If the minimum size was still 12 inches, we’d be taking home limits in no time.”

To find trout, Hartline said he’s mostly running to the larger outside bays; those on the fringes of Bay Eloi, or he’s making the run into Breton Sound to fish the structures, rigs, wells and islands, where the bigger trout are lurking. The key, he said, is finding clean water.

“The reefs in Lake Anastasia and Lake Eloi are producing trout but you’ll have to cull through them,” he said. “Live shrimp about 18-24 inches under a Four Horsemen cork is my go-to setup, although we have caught some on plastics. Mostly the Berkley Gulp! Shrimp in the glow color, or the Ghost Minnows in the chartreuse color. I like to fish them on a lightweight Death-grip jighead in either 1/8 or 1/16 ounce. I find the lighter jigheads give the plastic better and more life-like action, which makes them more attractive to the fish and therefore more productive.”

When fishing the bays, Hartline said to keep an eye open for birds actively diving and feeding and watch the surface for slicks, which are the oily residue of fish gorging on baits just below.

“Any time you see shrimp jumping up out of the water or really just about any disturbance on the surface it’s worth a try tossing your bait to,” he said.

Reds stacked up

As for redfish, Hartline said take the ride heading to the Delacroix side to get on the excellent action happening there.

“It’s been the best redfish action we’ve seen in years,” he said. “I’m fishing the big fringe bays anywhere south towards Black Bay. Bay Lafourche, Bay Andrew, Bay Gardene… all those big bays are producing keeper sized reds in the 17 to 22-inch inch range.

“Look for cleaner water, but we’ve also been catching in the stained looking water.”

Hartline said he prefers fishing a falling tide, and he looks for points with good current movement, or wherever cuts are draining into bayous and bays.

“I like to fish the edges of grass, and I like fishing along ledges where my bait can either trickle down or hop up,” he said. “Live or dead shrimp fished 18 inches under a popping cork, and the Gulp! Shrimp in the glow color on a lightweight jighead will produce in cleaner water.”

Hartline said don’t just park your boat and sit. Stick and move. If nothing is biting after a few minutes, move and keep moving until you find them.

“The great thing happening right now is when you find the reds, they’re usually stacked up,” he said.

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.