Hefty specks arrive near Last Island out of Cocodrie

Incoming tide is critical for bite, guide says

Solid speckled trout have returned to wellheads near Last Island out of Cocodrie — but Capt. Tommy Pellegrin said they’re not likely fish that have already transitioned out of the marsh because of the recent summer-like weather we’ve been experiencing.

“These are fish hanging out close to some deep water. I think these fish never really leave the area,” said Pellegrin, with Custom Charters out of Houma. “They stay out by the islands on those reefs. We caught them the week before Christmas really good right there, then the cold hit and they were gone.

“They just showed back up last week, so I expect them to hang around for a while now.”

Pellegrin said the action has been concentrated around wellheads in Lake Pelto north of Last Island, as well as some closer to the beach. But not just any wellheads are holding fish, he said.

“Some wells off the beach have rock pads, and the ones with rock have trout,” he said. “The ones with shell pads don’t, and that puzzles me as to why.”

Pellegrin and his customers have been catching using Berkley’s 5-inch Grass Pig in swamp gas color, as well as the 4 ½-inch Rib Shad on ¼- and ⅜-inch jigheads.

“I call it bottom jumping,” he said. “Let it sit on the bottom and jump it up, and they hit it when it’s falling.”

The bite has been on incoming tides only in spots at least 6 feet deep, but the fish have been solid — most weighing in the 2.6- to 2.8-pound range, with a couple over 4 pounds.

“Saturday my son Eric had one that was over 4, but we only caught four trout all day,” Pellegrin said. “They quit — the tide just wouldn’t come in. It was just kind of stagnant.”

This year’s harsh winter will affect the timing of the trout transition from inner-marshes out to coastal bays, he said.

“The transition is going to be different this year because of the freeze,” Pellegrin said. “The water went down like 4 feet below normal, so a lot of the areas where these trout usually stay got dry. And a lot of these deep areas where they normally stay got shallow.

“So if they were normally staying in 8 feet of water, that went down to 4 feet of water — so they had to move. They’re out and about right now, plus there’s no shrimp yet.”

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Patrick Bonin is the former editor of Louisiana Sportsman magazine and LouisianaSportsman.com.