Galliano hotspot is money this time of year
If you fish the famed Sulfur Mine in Galliano, you likely won’t find any gold, but you will find lots of silver and bronze. This old industrial mine site is a perfect place to take your kayak for limits of wintertime specks and reds. Once the exclusive domain of boat fishermen, the Sulfur Mine is within reasonable paddling distance and provides many fishable areas in all weather conditions for kayakers.
The Sulfur Mine is no secret. Charter guides regularly take their customers there, and weekend warriors regularly fill the place. Now added to the mix is a growing number of kayak anglers. Launching from Bason’s Marina in Galliano, ‘yakers can reach the core of the mine area in about an hour or less. You will be hard pressed to find a better winter spot than the “mine.”
Bason’s has a $5 honor box on the road leading to the back-down ramp. There is also a small area off to the left of the ramp where kayakers can take their time to get situated and launch away from the commotion of the powerboat launches.
The thing that makes the Sulfur Mine so appealing to kayakers is the variety of fishing terrain and the surrounding protected waters that are fishable under almost any weather conditions. Many ponds and canals dot the area, and good fishing can be found without ever making it all the way to the mine.
There’s a pumping station next to the launch, and you can often catch a bunch of redfish without hardly getting your paddle wet. If you do head to the mine, take the time to fish your way there. Chances are you’ll find some great fishing along the way and save yourself some paddling.
The open water of the mine is a large area to cover — especially in a kayak. Although not a necessity, a depth finder and GPS combo is a big help in finding deeper areas where the fish will stack up when the water temps drop. Marking holes and bottom structure with a waypoint will allow you to find these areas again without wasting paddle strokes.
Like many wintertime spots, the good fishing will often be concentrated in small areas, and sharing the area with several other fishermen is common. The mine is a popular spot and will be crowded — even on weekdays. If you’re first to find the fish, be prepared to have other fishermen join in on the fun.
Kayaks and powerboats regularly coexist at the mine. If you see a large group of boats in an area, chances are they’ve found the fish. Most won’t mind kayaks quietly slipping in to join the action. Of course, it’s a good policy to ask first, and most will gladly direct you where to set up to join the party.
The good news for kayakers is that there is usually no need to worry about using live bait. Tight-lined plastics or a jig and plastic tail under a popping cork will usually work just fine. If you must, a small bait bucket can easily carry enough live cocahoes for a day’s trip. Thoroughly work an area in all directions before deciding to move.
Many areas are shallow enough to use a stake-out pole, but a small anchor should also be carried for when the fish are holding in the deeper areas.
There’s a lot of fish-attracting industrial debris in the mine area, and if you find fishing the bottom keeps resulting in snags, simply tie on a cork and adjust your depth to keep the bait a little off the bottom.
The main area of the mine has varied underwater terrain. Although it all looks the same from the surface, there are some deep cuts, humps and oyster reefs. Find these fish-attracting areas, and you’ll be on your way to a ‘yak full of fish. This is where a depth finder comes in handy.
More often than not, once fish are located you can catch a limit without having to move.
If you find the fish are scattered, usually after a warm spell, drifting across the mine will often produce some great catches. Some days you’ll just pick up a few on each drift and will have to repeat the runs in order to put together a nice stringer. However, other times you’ll end up drifting into a school and can quietly anchor and load the boat.
For those days when the wind makes kayaking in the open waters of the mine difficult, you don’t have to abandon your trip. Just turn your attention to the surrounding marsh, and you will discover miles of protected areas where you can get out of the wind and comfortably fish. Look for the dead-end canals and areas where tall marsh and tree-lined ridges act as great wind blocks.
If you’re prospecting for trout and redfish this winter in your kayak, you won’t find a better place than the Sulfur Mine.
542 W 107th St., Galliano 985-632-5512
Launch fee: $5.