Full moon will help coastal catch

From what should have been a near-perfect Father’s Day weekend, fishermen were scrambling to figure out what happened to the speckled trout and redfish along the coast.

A brief explanation: Friday’s unexpectedly strong northwest winds (up to 25 knots in places) broke up the schools of baitfish and shrimp and took the fish off their feed, and it took most of the weekend for trout and redfish to get back to their usually strong summer feeding patterns.

With a full moon on the way, and calmer (though rainy) conditions ahead, the trout should be on a soild bite.

Weather

A 30 percent chance of daily rain through early next week, but we can expect the westerly winds to shift to the south by Friday evening and waters to calm to 1 foot or less across the entire coast for the weekend. We can look for something less than a 2-foot seas in offshore waters. Coastal action is almost sure to pick up on the full moon and the fact that Friday is the first day of summer and the year’s “longest” day.

The coast

Live bait (shrimp, croakers, minnows) was the trick for most folks looking to avoid the headache of trying to figure out the just-right soft-plastic color to throw at trout and redfish. Live bait worked on both sides of the Mississippi River. Croakers and larger minnows took larger trout and redfish.

By Monday, when the seas were calmer and water cleared, topwaters worked on trout and redfish (there was one report of a gafftopsail catfish taking a She Dog) in the surf along islands east and west of Grand Isle, but not along Grand Isle.

Gold spoons worked, too, but attracted more strikes from ladyfish and the few Spanish mackerel showing up around the barrier islands.

One pattern surfaced in the past two weeks: When using live shrimp, if you don’t catch fish in the first 10 minutes, then move. When you find trout and redfish, make sure to keep baits in the water to hold the fish longer within your casting distance. And when you start catching hardhead and/or gafftopsail catfish, it’s time to find a new trout/redfish spot.

There is a wide variety of soft-plastic colors that took fish since Saturday. Try your favorite color. If it doesn’t work, then try something with chartreuse in it. A gold-chartreuse combination worked best Tuesday and early Wednesday west of Grand Isle.

Offshore action is terrific for red snapper, a few mangrove snapper and the wahoo and tuna are showing up at the deep-water floaters.

Freshwater

It’s going to be difficult to keep anglers from the Lake Verret Basin in the first days of the new no-size restriction and seven-bass daily limit.

Bluegill and other panfish species continue to take crickets in the Verret and Des Allemands areas, but chinquapin are settling in on their favorite meal (nightcrawlers) worked tight-lined 3-4 inches off the bottom.