Grouper, tuna, AJs are on the menu
Offshore is going to be the main focus in September, according to Todd Black, a charter captain and owner of Fish Heads LA out of Cocodrie.
“Grouper fishing is going to be real good,” Black said, “and the mangrove snapper are moving in closer. They have been relatively easy to catch this year, which isn’t always the case.”
Mangrove snapper are notoriously finicky biters, but this year, they have been fairly easy to fool, possibly because of the greater pressure on inshore fish this summer.
“Not only that, the cobia will be migrating back through,” he said. “It won’t be uncommon to see them patrolling around the rigs.
“Amberjack season opened up in August and should be in full swing. So amberjack will be game to keep, and they’re always a great fight.”
Amberjack season will be open until Oct. 31 — or until the annual quota is met.
Trophy pelagic fish will begin showing up as well. Black mentioned that they have to travel further offshore to target these species.
“It will be the start of shrimp-boat season, and the tuna will not be far behind,” he said. “Tuna will typically follow the shrimping boats around. In September and October, the big yellowfin come in. This will be in about 200 feet of water off the coast of Venice.
“The blue marlin should be showing up, too, around the deep waters of the continental shelf.”
They are a highly migratory species that can be found along the rip lines at this time.
“Typically, swordfishing is good year-round,” Black said. “They’re in about 1,200 to 1,500 feet of water.”
September inshore fishing may come with difficulties, Black revealed.
“The water was so hot this year that it pushed the fish out quicker than normal,” he said. “The bigger trout have been offshore in the 20 to 30 feet of water. Closer inshore, the trout have been relatively small, but there’s been a good number of them.
“We would have 100 trout within hours of leaving during May. We even had 29 days in a row where we met the speckled trout limit, but there would be about 200 other boats ripping in trout, too. A typical Wednesday would look like a July 4th weekend out of Cocodrie.
“Honestly, we got killed by (the coronavirus) this summer. Everyone was off work. When I would normally see 15 to 20 boats out when I am taking a charter, I started seeing 200 to 300 boats almost every day. And this was through the entire summer.
“This isn’t sustainable. This year, had the hardest July I’ve had on the water in eight years.”
When the speckled trout start to transition into their fall behavior, it may get better, though.
“During September, the speckled trout are going to follow the mullet,” said Black. “Especially, once the water starts cooling off. Where you find a bunch of mullet, that is where you will find the bigger trout.
“I’ve found more success using live croakers towards the end of the second shrimping season than any other bait for speckled trout.”