If you don’t like fishing around crowds, you’re probably not alone — but it can sometimes actually help anglers. The fish on the Lake Pontchartrain Trestles bridge receive a ton of boat pressure, but that can concentrate the fish, according to Capt. Justin Bowles.
Weekends can get extremely hectic on the bridge this month, with many anglers partaking in the specks that carpet the bottom along the train bridge — and the majority of those anglers are glued to the bridge pilings, but that can be a big mistake, according to Bowles.
“If they’re feeding right up on the bridge and that’s where they’re actually eating, I think they’ll still get away from the boats and maybe run in to grab food, and go back out and stage where they’re not pressured,” he said.
Upon arrival, Bowles shuts his engine off a little ways from the bridge.
“I’ll stop the boat far off the bridge and fish my way to the bridge,” he said. “If I get to the bridge and I’m not doing anything, then I’ll keep the boat near the bridge and cast out.”
Bowles bounces 3/8-ounce jigheads off the bottom to elicit strikes from hungry specks.
The Lake Pontchartrain guide likes Matrix Shad in a variety of colors, but his favorite is magneto.
Although the fishing can be monotonous on the Trestles, Bowles said it’s important to pay close attention to every cast you make.
“Always remember what angle you were at and what you were doing when you get a bite, because odds are that’s how they’re going to keep biting,” he said.
The water in Lake Pontchartrain can get incredibly clear, but Bowles said finding slightly stained water can be advantageous.
“I don’t like really clean water where you can see down 3-feet, but I also don’t want to fish in chocolate milk,” he said.
At press time, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was opening the Bonnet Carré Spillway for an undetermined amount of time to reduce the flooding threat on the lower Mississippi River. The longer it stays open and pours freshwater into the lake, the bite at the Trestles could eventually evaporate as that river water heads east.