Advocate Outdoors Writer
July 10, 2012
The coast is hot, and even in areas east of the Mississippi River hit by the effects of the still-high river and the still-flowing Bonnet Carre Spillway, catches are averaging in the 20-fish-per-angler range and redfish are attacking every that moves.
The Central Coast is hotter: A “poor” day is 20 trout and a near limit of redfish.
The best bass spot appears to be the Belle River area.
Muggy mornings leading into 90s-plus by late morning. Expect 5-10 knot southerly winds with seas running one foot or less inside and 1-2 feet nearshore and offshore. Look for a shift to southwesterly winds by Monday.
The Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers remain high: The forecast is for a slow fall for the next weeks. The Mississippi’s fall is projected to hit 31.5 feet at Baton Rouge and 12.5 feet at New Orleans by July 12.
Most charter skippers call live bait “trip insurance,” and for the average saltwater angler, live shrimp have lived up to that billing.
From Pontchartrain, the Biloxi Marsh to bays on the east side of the Mississippi River, around to the Grand Isle and Timbalier areas, live shrimp are producing trout from 10 inches to 20 inches long. The bigger the shrimp, the bigger the trout.
Folks are fishing them under corks over reefs, the surf and around rock jetties, and on Carolina rigs in the surf and over reefs.
Live croakers are working, too. Usually croakers are fished on Carolina rigs, but during the past two weeks, 3-5 pound trout like them under a cork. Anglers working areas east of Grand Isle to Four Bayous Pass found this pattern and it’s working in the Terrebonne, Timbalier and Caillou Boca areas, too.
With tides continuing to run strong into the weekend, work the beaches on the morning’s rising tide.
That’s where lure choice is personal preference. Topwaters, a wide variety of soft plastics on a jighead and live bait are working. Color choice for artificials runs the usual avocado/red glitter or purple/chartreuse at first light, then go to clear/gold, lemonade or limetreuse (little darker than chartreuse) after the sun gets up.
Offshore catches are exceptional: Red snapper are at platforms in 40-350 foot depths (larger snapper at deeper rigs), mangrove snapper are feeding at platforms in the West Delta and Grand Isle blocks, and yellowfin and blackfin tuna are running flying fish and hardtails at the deep-water rigs.
With water levels lower than expected (from the Atchafalaya River) in the Belle River-Lake Verret area, bass are on an early morning buzzbait-spinnerbait pattern. Similar action is coming from Lac Des Allemands. Work the deepest structure in these areas for sac-a-lait and use black/chartreuse tubes in clear water and pink/white or blue/white in murky water.