Pogy prudence

When netting live pogies, dump your net into a plastic bucket, rather than on the deck.

Prior to a recent mangrove snapper trip, Capt. Ross Montet loaded up with fresh pogies he cast-netted in the West Delta. He started in open water, but found he was chasing fast-moving schools that were outrunning his net in the 10- to 12-foot depths.

On a hunch, Montet ran in toward Schoefield Beach where we found birds diving and multiple oil slicks indicating a gold mine of smelly baitfish. Fortunately, the baits on the beach were the right size — about a third of the length of the few adult pogies we had gathered in deeper water. These juvenile “peanut” pogies are highly effective baits for a variety of coastal and offshore fish, including snappers.

Throughout the bait gathering process, Montet shared a few technique pointers:

• Hunting pogies may require a lot of idling and looking, so keep the net ready and watch/listen for telltale surface pops.

• Because Louisiana limits recreational anglers to 8-foot cast nets, accuracy is particularly important. Judge your approach speed and watch out for sneaky waves that can shift your balance and send the net off course.

• Whenever possible, try to avoid throwing into the wind, as the oncoming blow will stall your net in the air and give fast-swimming pogies a head start on escaping.

• Dropping fresh baits into a laundry basket or a 5-gallon bucket keeps them in better shape than dumping them on a hard deck and scooping them with a dip net.

• When shrimp and glass minnows show up amid your pogy netting, keep the former for bait diversity and the latter for chumming.

David A. Brown
About David A. Brown 318 Articles
A full-time freelance writer specializing in sport fishing, David A. Brown splits his time between journalism and marketing communications www.tightwords.com).