Where: Barataria Pass, Grand Isle
What: Bull reds
How: Launch at Sand Dollar Marina and make the short paddle to Barataria Pass. Stay outside of the channel markers and look for areas in the 15-25 foot range. Using a depth finder is a big advantage in locating schools of bull reds, and fishing with a small group helps cover more area. Watch for a group of large arches to appear on the screen, and toss the bait a few yards toward the school. If you don’t have a depth finder, look for bait showers and diving birds to give up a school’s whereabouts. When another angler hooks up, give them room, but casting in the same general area usually means additional hook-ups. Use strong 1- or 2-ounce jigheads to get your lure down to the fish quickly. Natural baits like pogey and cut mullet work great, but also attract sharks. Six-inch Gulp Swimming Mullets offer movement, color and strong attractant. Use medium to medium-heavy rods with 40- to 50-pound braid, which helps get these fish to your ‘yak in a reasonable amount of time. Mono leader in the 60- to 80-pound range is recommended.
Launch: Sand Dollar Marina at the east end of the island. Two concrete back-down ramps are available, with a $5 launch fee. Live bait, tackle, deli, and ice are on-site. Rooms are for rent across the parking lot from the marina.
Insider tip: Pick a day with light winds and moderate tidal range, and you can fish most areas of the Pass. Activities on the island have slowed now that school is back in, and if you fish weekdays, there likely will be no crowd and lots of willing fish.
Where: Caney Lake
What: Schooling bass
How: September is a transition month — not yet finished with summer, but not quite yet fall, either. School bass are feeding on large groups of shad at or near the surface. The action can be hot when bass herd the schools of bait and then raid them. Look for action on the surface near the mouths of coves and around points. Resist the urge to move right up to the bait schools, as it’s best to sit back and make long casts. The schools form and then break up as the feeding bass cause them to scatter. However, if you wait it out, they will usually regroup at or near the same area where they first appeared. For schooling bass, a lipless crankbait like a chrome/blue black Rat-L-Trap can’t be beat. It can be ripped at the surface to fool the frenzied bass, or allowed to sink a bit if the bait has gone down. Other lures like white or yellow spinnerbaits, or crankbaits resembling shad, can also be effective. Larger fish will still be holding on deep points and brush, and can be caught with large plastics or deep-diving crankbaits.
Launch: Brown’s Landing, 7777 Highway 4, Jonesboro, which features a boat ramp, convenience/tackle store, bait, ice, restaurant and RV park. (318) 259-6649.