Calm days are best, but even when the winds blow, there are spots to catch fish in the Grand Isle surf.
The tropical disturbance that was hanging out in the Gulf earlier this week couldn’t stop me from checking the Ship Shoal block out of Dulac with Capt. Clark Trosclair of Sea Creature Fishing Charters (985-563-2531) on Tuesday. This area has been hot for red snapper, mangroves and cobia, and I wanted a first-hand look at the action.“We’ve been catching our limits of red snapper on every trip,” Trosclair said over the roar of the waves crashing into his boat.
Seas were predicted to be 2 to 3 feet, and we were already in that before we passed Coon Point. However, the sun was breaking through towering clouds to the east, and it looked like luck was going to be on our side.
“There have also been some cobia mixed in,” he continued, “and about 30-plus mangroves per trip. The red snapper have been running anywhere from legal size to 25 pounds, and the cobia have been from legal up to 85.”
We finally reached the Ship Shoal rigs, and Trosclair began instructing me on how to catch the red snapper. His words kept cutting out as he eyeballed some ominous clouds that were gathering to the south. I heard enough to get started, though, and I grabbed a live mullet that Trosclair had caught in his cast net earlier that morning, hooked it through the eyes and dropped it to the bottom.
“Crank it up anywhere from five to 15 cranks,” he coached. “Don’t set the hook when you feel a bite. Just start reeling as fast as you can.”
A hook-up on the other side of the boat got Trosclair’s attention.
“Reel, reel, reel…” he screamed as he began backing the boat off the rig. The legal sized cobia eventually headed toward the net. “Keep his head up and drop your rod when he hits the net,” Trosclair instructed.
Not too bad. Five minutes into fishing, and we already had a fish in the boat. It looked like we were about to whack them.
Mother Nature had other ideas, though, and the gathering clouds quickly grew into a storm that was churning out 4- to 5-footers and a thunderous display of lightning that sealed our fate. We had no choice but to head in.
“The red snapper have been easy,” Trosclair said as he fought to stay in front of the storm. “And, they’ll be easy tomorrow as long as this weather doesn’t stay like this. All we’ve been having to do is drop live mullet or frozen bait down to the bottom and pick it up a little. We’ve been catching the mangroves on live croakers pitched to the edges of the rigs. The cobia have just been mixed in with the red snapper.”
Trosclair said he’s also been catching some blackfin tuna anywhere from 45 to 65 miles out, depending on how far the shrimp boats are and the clarity of the water. The tuna have been following the shrimp boats for the chum, and Trosclair said he’s been coming behind them and chumming some more to bring them up where they will bite frozen bait.