Striking gold in Golden Meadow

Redfish abundant in duck ponds off Catfish Lake, trout steadily moving in, guide says

If you enjoy sight fishing for fat redfish, the marshes around Catfish Lake in Golden Meadow should be on your itinerary this fall.

“The redfish are definitely in the marsh. They’re there and they’re hungry,” said Capt. Eddie Berthelot Jr., with Spots & Specks Charters. “They’re a little scattered, but once you bounce around in the duck ponds until you find a school, you can put together a nice box of reds 18 to 24 inches — or even bigger.”

Berthelot said your options are almost limitless in how you target the fish. He’s a big fan of the H&H smoke grub split tail beetle, as well as Matrix Shad in tiger bait or green hornet, on 1/4- or 5/16-ounce jigheads — but gold spoons and spinnerbaits will also get the job done.

“If you’re sight fishing, you want to be trolling at a slow steady speed running 15 to 18 feet off the bank, and just look for the movement of the fish,” Berthelot said. “Try to cast 5 or 6 feet past them, and 3 or 4 feet in front of their nose and pull it across in front of them if possible.

“You don’t want to splash the water and spook them. Cast it right at their nose, and if they’re hungry, they’ll bite.”

As usual, Berthelot recommended hitting points, pockets, trenasses and other spots that look fishy — but said not to forget about the middle of a pond, too.

“Hit all your points, then turn around and make one cast in the middle and run it across that pond,” he said. “You never know when a big boy is in there just sunning.”

Polarized glasses are a must — Berthelot favors a specific color in the marsh.

“I like the green lens,” he said. “You can literally see the fish eat your bait.”

And plan your trip when the water is dropping out, the guide recommended.

“Your better fishing will be the falling tide in duck ponds in the marsh,” he said. “They’ll come out of the marsh when it gets too shallow for them to be way back inside, so they come out and sit at those trenasses and wait for the bait to come out – it’s a perfect ambush spot for them.

“Once it gets too shallow there, they’ll go into the bayous and sit at the mouths of those canals also. It’s the same thing — all ambush spots.”

Specks are still steadily making their way inside, but school trout are plentiful under birds at spots like the pass heading into Big Grey Duck Lake, and also in Courant Bayou. Cocahoe minnows under a cork are a great option, as are Matrix Shad tight-lined with a 5/16-ounce jighead. Later in the fall, Berthelot throws topwater lures over oyster reefs in Catfish Lake to target 3-, 4- and 5-pound specks.

“We catching a lot of school trout in the bays and on current lines in the main channels. You can catch them under a popping cork, or with soft plastics under the birds. They’re there, but they’re small,” Berthelot said. “The ratio is you’re probably catching 10 to keep one. But it’s steady action for hours and hours if you’re looking for some good family time with the kids.”

Bigger trout in the the 13- to 16-inch range are currently holding near structures in Lake Barre and around Fornation Island, he said.

“The fishing is only going to get better over the next couple of months, all the way into February when it gets really cold,” he said. “March is super slow, then it starts picking up again in April.”

Editor’s Note: Capt. Eddie Berthelot Jr. fishes out of Grand Isle, Fourchon, Leeville and Golden Meadow. For more information, call 985-637-3177.

About Patrick Bonin 1315 Articles
Patrick Bonin is the former editor of Louisiana Sportsman magazine and