Three keys for Shell Beach specks

Capt. Johnny Nunez with a good eating-sized redfish out of Shell Beach.

Reefs, rocks and rigs, guide says

Capt. Johnny Nunez, AKA the Fishing Magician (504-239-3159), was born and raised in Shell Beach and has spent his life pulling fish of every kind from the surrounding waters. When Nunez speaks, fishermen listen — and he told me the keys to speckled trout success this month are rocks, reefs and rigs.

“The trout are along the coast,” Nunez said, “so head straight out and bring a livewell stocked with live shrimp. There will be fish along the MRGO long rocks and you’ll catch some there, but I generally avoid the rocks simply because of the crowds. So I make the run to the east side of the Biloxi Marsh and fish all the big oyster-laden bays out there, from Morgan Harbor to Christmas Camp Lake, Fishing Smack Bay, Lawson Bay and Shell Island Lake. Those bays are full of oyster reefs — and the trout are on the reefs.”

Nunez said if you’re familiar with the area you can head straight to a spot that produced fish for you before and anchor. But if you’re a rookie to the area, just get up along the oyster poles and drift/troll until you bump into fish. Then anchor and see if you can put some numbers in the boat. If the bite stops, resume drifting or run to another set of poles.

“You’ll probably have to move around because they’ll not likely be concentrated all in one spot,” he said. “If the water is dirty from oyster boats working that area, move to another lake or another part of that lake with better water. If you’re persistent, you’ll catch some trout and you should have a nice box by quitting time. I always use live shrimp whenever I can get it, and hang them about 2 ½ to 3 feet under a cork.”

Nunez said it doesn’t matter if the shrimp are small or large, as long as they’re alive, and he doesn’t care whether the tide is rising or falling, as long as it’s moving.

Another option this month is the various structures in Bay Eloi, where you might find larger trout, and big reds, sheepshead and drum.

“If you want to catch reds, then fish the shorelines of those same big outside bays,” he said. “I like to fish pockets, coves and points, with live or dead shrimp under a cork, about 2 feet deep.”

About Rusty Tardo 371 Articles
Rusty Tardo grew up in St. Bernard fishing the waters of Delacroix, Hopedale and Shell Beach. He and his wife, Diane, have been married over 40 years and live in Kenner.