Tommy Vidrine of Baton Rouge describes himself as “a rock fishing fool,” but he’s really a speckled trout guru in the waters around Grand Isle who regularly shows up on YouTube fishing videos (Check out his channel here.)
He doesn’t back off from his love of fishing mostly jetties and rocks, but fill up your tank and get ready for a 16-mile tour of the best speckled trout fishing Grand Isle has to offer — from his point of view.
Imagine a good-natured, “Do-you-like-catching-fish-or-not?” shoulder shrug from Vidrine as you read his recommendations; you’ll have an idea of the breadth of his knowledge, as well as a feel for his personality.
Quiet Caminada Pass Jetties
The jetties at Caminada Pass didn’t produce much early in the spring, and that’s been a blow to Vidrine, who has long praised the spot as his favorite.
“Big trout love to hang out there,” he said. “It’s like a food trough; the currents come in and push the (baitfish) into those rocks, and the trout just sit behind them and eat all they want.”
Seventy-five yards from the jetties, the beach was recently raised by 8 feet with dirt dredged from the Gulf. Vidrine suspects the sediment from that rebuilt beach has filled the cracks and spaces between the rocks where the trout had waited for food.
“I’ve been (there) with some big, live shrimp,” he said. “I’ve been there with some pogeys, some plastic; I’ve tried it at least 15 times, and haven’t caught one trout (since December).”
“That was my favorite spot, but maybe it will change. We’re hoping and praying.”
Caminada Pass beaches
“Grand Isle Beach holds some fish,” Vidrine said, “but Elmer’s Island is more remote; people get out there and wade-fish and pull out limits on stringers,” he said.
Vidrine recommends parking at Elmer’s Island Beach.
“My understanding is that (Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries) has hired someone to drive fishermen to wherever they want to fish on the island,” he said.
Go all the way east to the point at Caminada Pass where a sandbar creates what Vidrine calls the “Gorilla Hole.”
“Get there early in the morning,” he said, “and fish where the waves are breaking. Those waves are throwing shrimp and croakers around.”
West of Elmer’s Island
The fishing will be good near Fourchon at “the Barges” and Belle Pass.
“A little farther west (from Elmer’s Island), you’ll come to a great spot where some old barges have been sunk and covered with rocks,” Vidrine said.
The water is about 12 feet deep on the Gulf side of the rocks, and there are fish.
“But behind the piled rocks,” he said, “there are some rocks under the water, and there are trout and redfish in there like crazy.”
The jetties at Belle Pass stretch more than 400 yards into the Gulf. There are plenty of places to fish, and you’ve got structure at different depths, which gives you choices.
“What happened at Fourchon,” Vidrine said, “is that Hurricane Zeta pushed some rocks from the piles into the water, scattering them. In June, people will be fishing in those rocks and catching many trout and redfish.”
You’ll want to fish the Barges and the Belle Pass rocks from late May through mid-June. As the summer progresses, undesirables will become more of a problem, especially if you are using shrimp. Fish with pogeys or croakers to target specks.
East of Grand Isle
“The beach and the back side of (Grand Terre) have a lot of structure that’s good to fish,” Vidrine said.
But if you want to fish east of Grand Isle in June, he recommends Four Bayous.
“At Four Bayous, there are places where people built camps,” Vidrine said. “The rocks that they spread around there are great to fish; you’ll see some nice fish coming out (there) this year.”
Gulfside State Park rocks
Now that Vidrine has given you his favorite spots for Gulfside fishing around Grand Isle — covering 16 linear miles of coastline — you may be wondering what spot he thinks will be the most productive this year.
Because of the trouble at the Caminada Pass jetties, Vidrine has had to rethink his strategy for June. He thinks that the best fishing will be near Grand Isle State Park.
“In front of the state park, there’s a bunch of rocks that protect the beach, and (they) go pretty far out into the Gulf,” Vidrine said. “The water gets about 8 feet deep, and those rocks produce a lot of trout — and nice ones, too.”
During the spring, Vidrine used a swimbait called a Hyper Minnow in the salt-n-peppa color to great effect. He recommends using the lure with a 1/8- or ¼-ounce jighead, depending on the current.
“The speckled trout have been liking it jigged real hard,” said Vidrine, who used the lure through April to catch limits of trout ranging from 12 to 15 inches.
“Beginning in June, I don’t recommend fishing with plastics,” Vidrine said. “(In June), there is just bait everywhere at Grand Isle: pogeys, big mullets, finger mullets. Fishing with an artificial bait is not near as effective in the summer as it is in the winter and spring.”
“At Elmer’s (Island), put a Carolina rig on with a ¼- or ½-ounce weight above a small swivel, and about 2 or 3 feet of the leader of your choice with a 1/0 or 2/0 Kahle hook,” said Vidrine, who recommends using croakers or shrimp, and not to free-line, because the wind will be in your face.
“Another thing … is, never forget that the trout is a predator, like a lion, and in most cases, he isn’t interested in something dead. If it’s dead, change it out,” he said.
To get more life out of your pogey, free-line it by inserting the hook into its open mouth and pulling it out right between its eyes.
“They can breathe better that way,” he said.