Minimal tackle key for Grand Isle beach bite

Capt. Frank Dreher likes to downsize his tackle and free-line croakers so specks don’t spook in the ultra-clear water on Grand Isle beaches this month.

Downsize in clear water to prevent spooking fish, guide says

No matter what kind of fishing you’re doing in the marsh, finding clean water is almost always helpful.

However, too much of a good thing can be like poison.

Capt. Frank Dreher said that’s sometimes the case this month on the Grand Isle beach.

“The problem we run into on the beach in August is the water is too clear,” he said. “It’ll clear up so much that you can spook the fish.”

To combat that, Dreher spurns the always popular Carolina rig and sets up his rods with minimal hardware.

“When that water gets clear, we free-line (croakers),” he said.

Dreher free-lines his live croakers with 1/0 kahle hooks when the tide is mellow.

“I try to stay in contact with it but try not to bump it too much,” he said. “You want that croaker to stay like he’s swimming free.”

When the water is a little more stained, or if the current is strong, Dreher likes throwing Carolina-rigs with croakers.

He uses ½-ounce egg sinkers and 1/0 kahle hooks.

“Shrimp are good early in the morning before it gets too hot, and then we go to the bottom with the croakers and really start getting on those big fish,” he said. “We’re trying to throw it in that first trough. That first trough around Elmer’s and Fourchon is anywhere from 3 ½ to 5 feet.”

One of the nice things about fishing on the beach is the quality of fish.

“You’re going to catch your 2 ½, 3-pounders, and you’ll catch the 14-, 15-inch fish,” he said. “As long as you have a little bit of tide movement on the beach, you can generally stay in that 1 ½- to 2-pound range.”

How Dreher approaches the beach is dependent upon what day of the week it is.

“On weekends, you’re going to have to anchor immediately just because there are so many boats,” he said. “During the weekdays where there’s not as many boats, you can troll until you hit something and then anchor up.”

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About Joel Masson 166 Articles
Joel Masson is an avid angler who has fished South Louisiana his whole life. He lives in Mandeville and can be reached at

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