Grand Isle’s bounce back is great news for anglers

Deanna Blanchard, Capt. Herk’s girlfriend, holds a 3-pound speckled trout caught on live shrimp.

The good news is Grand Isle is bouncing back!

And the speckled trout have shown up in good numbers and great sizes, according to Capt. Keith “Herk” Bergeron of Pair-A-Dice Charters (985-860-7855).

“I have to admit we’ve had some tough challenges to bounce back from. If Covid wasn’t bad enough, Hurricane Ida stomped all over us and did its best to erase Grand Isle from the map,” he said. “But this is a resilient bunch down here, and the rebuild is more visible every day. Bridgeside Marina is open and they have live shrimp and fuel. The motel is taking summer reservations. Cabins and camps are coming back up for rentals so, it’s happening.”

More good news, Bergeron said he’s fishing almost every day, and hasn’t seen any debris in the water on either side of the island.

“Debris in the water has been a major concern for boaters, but I’ve run all around the island and haven’t seen or bumped anything,” he said. “Whatever debris that floated, floated away, and the heavy stuff sank in deep water so I’m confident running around.”

And the trout have been cooperative.

“The biggest challenge has been the winds,” Bergeron said. “When they lay down, you can fish anywhere in the Bay on the north side of the Island and find trout. I’ve pulled some really nice specks off the new reef at Independence Island and also around Hotel Sid. I know there’s fish at Manilla Village and around the rigs on the north end of Barataria Bay.”

Hackberry caution

Bergeron said the one place you do have to be careful is Hackberry Bay.

“Everything out there got tore up real bad and the oil companies pulled most everything out,” he said. “But there’s a lot of obstructions and hazards they left behind out there, so run it very cautiously. If you do choose to fish out there, your best bet is to follow the crab traps, because the crabbers are out there running their traps every day and that will be a clear path.”

Bergeron said the surf side should definitely hold some big trout right now, so try it when the winds give you a window. Live shrimp under a popping cork is always the best bet. Or try a live shrimp, minnow or croaker on a sliding sinker rig if you’re fishing the beach, and plastics will produce under the birds.

“The fish under the birds might not all be keepers but you should find plenty that’ll be legal size,” he said.

The fishing season got interrupted last year by the hurricane, so there wasn’t the usual summer pressure on the trout.

“That means we should have an abundance of bigger fish this year and a whole lot of new crop out there,” Bergeron said. “I really think it’s going to be a great summer, and it’s already shaping up to be the best we’ve seen in years.”

About Rusty Tardo 363 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.

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