Forget dead bait — just hang plastics beneath popping corks for plenty of action
We left Riverside Marina about 6:45 a.m., cutting through the ribbon of marsh on the east side of the Mississippi River and heading out to the open water off California Point.
Capt. David Miles had us back at the boat launch three hours later, with our arms sore from battling bull reds. We already had caught about 15 submarines when a line of thunderstorms ran us in.
And hooking up was easy.
“They’re in spawning,” said Miles, who was guiding for Cajun Fishing Adventures in Buras during their annual Marsh Media Bash gathering featuring outdoor vendors and writers from across the country. “When they’re in spawning, they’re just eating everything in their path.”
The action was in the wide-open waters of the bay. Indeed, Miles ran through the complex of small rigs and pilings outside the marsh to reach open water.
“There wasn’t any real structure out there,” he said. “I’m looking for slicks and current lines.”
After only a couple of fish at our first stop, the guide ran another five minutes or so and dropped off plane near a line of slicks.
The bulls were thick, and soon we were pounding on fish. I joined Skeeter Boats‘ JoAnne OBryant and Steve Crowell in hammering on one thick red after another.
And we didn’t use anything but Z-Man plastics dangled beneath Four Horesmen popping corks. There wasn’t a backup.
“When they’re in spawning, you don’t need live or dead bait,” Miles said. “In fact, with (real) bait, you catch more gafftops.”
The corks were like dinner bells.
“The cork brings them to the bait,” Miles said.
The 13 Fishing spinning reels were spooled with braid, and a 30-pound Berkley Vanish fluorcarbon.
Miles said he usually starts with 2-foot leaders, but if a red breaks off he just reties and continues fishing.
“Leader length really doesn’t matter when they’re in like this,” he said. “They are just smashing everything.
“I call it stupid, in a way; there’s not a lot of thought process involved. You throw a cork out there, and pop it.”
Just be sure and head to the waters east of the Mississippi River.
“From time to time you can catch them on the jetty, but by and large, they’re on the east side,” Miles said.
But the crazy action won’t last forever.
“Last year, it was really all the way through August,” Miles said. “One day they’re here and the next day they’re gone. When they go they go.”