Lake Pontchartrain gives up gorilla speckled trout

Paretti trolls up a hammer that tips the scales at 7.2 pounds

Sometimes anglers’ days start slowly, and they wonder if success will ever come.

Louis Paretti’s day, on the other hand, couldn’t have started out any better Thursday.

The avid Lake Pontchartrain angler has been trolling the canals on the northern end of the lake, and that tactic paid off big time after 11 yesterday morning.

About that time, Paretti saw the pole bend over in his rod holder, and his first fish of the day wasn’t acting like a speckled trout at all.

“He never came up ‘til he got close to the boat,” Paretti said. “He pulled drag and everything. I thought I had a redfish on.”

To his pleasant surprise, it wasn’t a red at all — but a monstrous speckled trout that crushed his tiger bait-colored Matrix Shad and ultimately tipped certified scales at 7.2 pounds.

The rest of the trip didn’t exactly go badly, either.

“That was the first fish in the boat,” Paretti said. “We picked up eight more fish, but we had to work for them a little bit. They were all between 2 and 3 pounds.”

Catching a trout of that magnitude isn’t exactly common this time of year, but Paretti said the fish he’s been catching of late have been quality specks.

“So far, it’s been good for decent-sized trout, 3 pounds and bigger,” he said.

Paretti has been trolling Matrix Shads on ⅜-ounce GoldenEye jigheads, and he’s been moving his boat at a relatively fast speed – 2.3 to 2.5 mph.

“(The bait) is staying between 5 to 8 feet of water,” he said.

Paretti said one of the keys to having success is to troll in deep water in the canals, rather than on shallow flats. He’s been dragging his lures above 12 to 15 feet of water.

“If you can find something deeper, you definitely want to go on that ledge,” he said.

One good thing about trolling is the boat does most of the work. Paretti simply puts his pole in the holder, and for the most part, leaves it alone.

“I’ve got a rod holder that’s set at 90 degrees, and I just set (the rod) in there, and let out about two cast-lengths (of line) and just troll it right behind the boat,” he said. “Every now and then I’ll twitch it, but most of the time you don’t even have to twitch it. Just drive.”

About Joel Masson 167 Articles
Joel Masson is an avid angler who has fished South Louisiana his whole life. He lives in Mandeville and can be reached at