Several bronzed humps emerged near a grass bed, followed by frenzied splashes 30 yards away. I stopped pedaling and casually reached for my baitcaster, rigged with a Vudu shrimp. My adrenaline skyrocketed.
This type of activity has become normal around Elmer’s Island, but the excitement hasn’t faded. The earlier momentum from pedaling eventually pushed me closer, and I made my cast on the edge of the school. As soon as the lure hit the water, my line darted left, and it was fish on!
Most trips to Elmer’s Island will yield a good fish or two for bank anglers. However, venturing into the extensive saltwater marsh and along the back bay’s south shoreline can land a determined yakker a limit of reds, specks and a flounder or two on a really good day.
There are plentiful mangroves, saltwater marsh habitat and washouts where redfish and speckled trout pod up, especially when the temperature drops and the tide is falling. Occasionally, they can be caught in the same locations. However, I have noticed a difference between where I land redfish and where I land speckled trout.
Redfish places, lures
Stretches of grass line are honey holes for redfish looking for their next meals. These preferred inshore fish are relatively easy to sight-cast to on days with high visibility. However, redfish in shallow water have to be slowly approached, or they will be easily spooked.
Vudu Shrimp, H&H Weedless Redfish Spoons, popping corks with an assortment of swimbaits or live shrimp, even topwaters such as the Super Spook Jr. are some of my favorite options. Some days, the water is clear enough to sight-cast at redfish. Other days, the water resembles chocolate milk, and you have to work the grass line in order to flush out a bite.
What about speckled trout?
As the temperature drops, speckled trout start moving into the marshes from open water. Begin with a contour map to locate the few deep pockets around Elmer’s Island. You want to look for pockets; the contour lines will be close together and form a circle, surrounded by shallower water, lines that are spaced farther apart and indicate about 3 to 4 feet of water. I would start with washouts the tide is flowing through. Visible bait activity or diving birds usually indicate that you are in the right spot.
The same lures used for redfish will work for speckled trout; however, I have the most luck with a popping cork, 15-pound monofilament leader and a swimbait or a live shrimp.
The best time?
Redfish and speckled trout are easiest to catch when and where moving water can be found. This can be on an incoming or outgoing tide. Tide charts are useful to help plan your trip. Also, keep an eye on potential temperature drops. The day after cold fronts can produce a non-stop bite whether you focus in the back bay or the surrounding marshlands.
Elmer’s Island Wildlife Refuge is one of the most underrated kayaking spots around Grand Isle. Not only are you safe from unintentionally trespassing on private property, boats have a difficult time accessing the surrounding area, so there is less pressure on the fish.