The first time I fished from a kayak in Louisiana was one April in Leeville. It took more time than normal to sort out all the gear in my vessel because I was so excited to finally fish the extensive marshes that I saw from a distance on my trips to and from Grand Isle.
The tide was outgoing, so it was stress-free to slide my kayak into the water from the side of the road near the Leeville Boat Launch and Fishing Pier. All that was left to do was to sit patiently until it became bright enough to safely venture into the mist-covered marsh.
With spring in full swing, fish are shifting behaviors and feeding grounds. Occasionally, the bite can be tough to figure out due to the transition that redfish and speckled trout are going through. But once fish are located and you figure out what lure is the hot one that day, the hookups might be non-stop.
Know before you go
The launch is past the toll bridge and the multiple bait shops lining the side of the road. Once you reach the end of Old Hwy 1, a gravel road will lead you to your final destination.
The gravel lot has plenty of room to make the necessary adjustments to your kayak without interfering with other boaters and kayakers. Ensure that you don’t leave without GPS electronics. There are so many nooks and crannies in this section of Louisiana‘s coastal marshland that is easy to get lost.
Check the marine forecast to plan your trip around an incoming tide. This time of year, an outgoing tide will push the baitfish and the bite towards Caminada Pass and out of the marsh. In that sense, the tide can make or break your trip.
Incoming tide bite
For many fish in the marsh, April is a transition period before they get into summer patterns. Leeville is no exception to this rule.
Speckled trout are beginning to move from the marsh to along the coastline. The bite should heat up by the end of April and the beginning of May. Similar to years past, they will be found around the entrance to bayous or at points near moving water. Anglers should also be on the watch for diving birds. While the speckled trout are moving out, shrimp are transitioning from offshore.
You can’t go wrong with a popping cork and a 2- to 3-foot leader. Vudu shrimp, Matrix Shad and/or live bait will usually wrangle a bite. It may be prudent to attach a small bait bucket with cocahoe minnows to your kayak. These baitfish are spawning in the marsh, and every predator has made the cocahoe minnow one of its main forms of sustenance.
Last year, redfish preferred the shallower sections of marshland around Leeville. I had a lot of luck cajoling them into striking by throwing spoons, swimbaits on a ¼- to 3/8-ounce jighead and spinnerbaits.