Capt. Marc Fradella is hoping the short-time opening of the Spillway doesn’t ruin what was shaping up to be a spectacular May run of speckled trout in the Hopedale area.
“It’s been really looking good; the specks have been showing up in good sizes and numbers in many of the early summer hotspots, and while the action has been sporadic, it sure points to a great season,” he said. “Just last week, I caught a 6-pound trout, took some pictures and released it; biggest trout I’ve caught in a few years. So, like I said, there’s cause to be hopeful.”
At the same time, Fradella (985-290-2908) said there’s also some cause for concern.
“It always concerns me when they open the Spillway, not just because of the freshwater diluting the salinity of the water, but also because of all the toxic pollutants it introduces into our waters,” he said. “Last year, we saw so many sick reds and drum and sick dolphin after they opened the Spillway, it was depressing. I’d hate to see a repeat.
“Generally in May, I’m fishing Bay Eloi’s rigs and wellheads, the east side of Breton Sound’s islands and rigs, and the MRGO Rocks — usually in that order. I do occasionally head straight to the rocks when there’s a good consistent bite going on. Anchor up and fish live shrimp 2½ to 3 feet under a cork, and don’t cast too close to the rocks or you’ll leave your tackle there.
“I like to fish the wellheads and rigs scattered all over Bay Eloi as well as those in Morgan Harbor. Hook on with a rig hook and fish all around the boat with live shrimp or live croakers. I usually free-line the croakers using just a split-shot weight, and the shrimp I fish the same way or under a cork.”
Fradella said you can expect to find some big fish — nice-sized trout, big reds, big drum and occasionally Spanish mackerel around any of those wellheads and rigs.
“At the deeper rigs and wellheads, I’ll still try free-lining baits with just a split-shot for weight, but I also like to fish live shrimp or croakers on bottom rigs, either sliding sinkers or drop-shot rigs,” he said. “I’ve also done real good on the Vudu plastic shrimp in the clear or natural colors, and I’ve used them on bottom rigs and under a cork with great results.”
Fradella said whether you fish the big lakes on the fringes, the MRGO Rocks or the open waters of Bay Eloi and the Sound, the key will be to avoid the muddy river bilge and look for good salty water.
He said if redfish alone are on your menu, try the Biloxi Marsh lakes and ponds, at points, cuts and coves, with live or market shrimp under a cork.