Live bait — Carolina-rigged, free-lined or under a cork — the ticket for trout and reds
The trout spawn is happening now in and around Grand Isle, and speck specialist Tommy Vidrine said June is a great month to head to the island to get in on the action.
“May, June and July are the best months, I think, for volume of fish and bait,” he said. “The pogies are everywhere, mullet are everywhere and they’re catching more shrimp than they can shake a stick at.
“With all that bait here, the trout are everywhere just tearing it up.”
While all the typical summer spots will be holding fish — including places like Four Bayou Pass, Manilla Village, Queen Bess, El Cid (Hotel Sid) and the jetties all the way to Fourchon — Vidrine said Elmer’s Island ranks high on his list.
“At Elmer’s, I would say to put a Carolina rig on with a ¼- or ½-ounce weight above a small swivel, and about 2 or 3 feet of the leader of your choice with a 1- or 2/0 Kahle hook,” he said. “With croakers or shrimp for bait at Elmer’s Island, it’s going to be a lot easier to get that out there than free-lining with the wind blowing against you”
Vidrine is hoping the summer wind pattern kicks in soon, which is critical if you’re planning on hitting Elmer’s.
“It’s usually from the southeast, and it slows down. It quits blowing 15 to 20 every day, so June usually gets some 5 mph days — and that’s what you want,” he said. “If you’re fishing the beach, you need a south wind to make the breakers. We know trout and redfish feed where the water is breaking and baitfish are disoriented — they like those breakers.”
Of course, June also brings summer heat, so it’s not exactly the best time to sleep in.
“If it’s getting to 90 to 95 degrees for the high and 70 in the morning, I see the success is going to be better on Elmer’s Island in the morning. If you’re fishing the beach, the best bite is definitely going to be early,” he said. “I don’t really care about the tide — if you go out there early with some breaking waves, you’ll catch some fish on the beach.”
But he watches the tide more closely if he’s targeting specks in deeper water.
“In deeper water like the jetties and the Fourchon barges and Fourchon Pass, those areas I like to fish an hour before the tide changes, and an hour after it changes,” Vidrine said. “That’s when I target being out there, even if it’s in the middle of the day in the middle of the heat.”
Redfish-wise in June, if you’re fishing with live bait pretty much anywhere, be prepared to do battle with a big bull.
“They’re everywhere, almost a nuisance,” Vidrine chuckled. “If you put a croaker or pogie on, you’ve got a chance of catching a bull — the bigger the bait the better for bull reds.
“Target rocks, any structure and all the passes. It seems like they’re more typical around deeper water with current and structure for the bulls.”
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