Let’s harken back to the days of old, back to what was the standard summertime forecast: Go early, break dawn, catch fish and get back to the dock before noon before either heat or thunderstorms ruin the day.
With more than enough fish to catch in freshwater and saltwater locations, following that tried-and-true rule is best for the coming weekend’s conditions.
Muggy mornings followed by afternoons in the low 90s with as much as a 50 percent chance of afternoon storms throughout the weekend.
Near calm 5-knot southeast winds Friday will build to 5-15 knots by Saturday, which means a light chop near sunrise followed by a steadily building chop into the afternoons. Look for 2-foot swells offshore through Friday before building to 3-4 footers by Sunday.
The major rivers are heading to summertime lows.
Pick your favorite artificial or pick up live bait, because the trout are so active in the big bays and around the barrier islands that it’s pretty much your choice.
Live shrimp are working in open-water areas like reefs in the big bays. Shrimp will catch smaller specks and white trout along the rock jetties, where live pogeys and live croaker are attracting strikes from much heavier specks.
Large topwater and croakers are working along the beaches from Grand Terre across to The Fourchon and East Timbalier and the Last Island chain of island.
Croakers also are the best offering around big platforms from East Bay to Sandy Point and out west to Caillou Boca. Make sure to drift the croakers with the current into the structure (heavier flourocarbon leader is a must) and use just enough weight on the Carolina rig to get the bait down into the water column inside the structure.
Sharks have moved into bays west of Belle Pass.
When Breton and Chandeleur sounds went calm last weekend, limits of trout were common on MirrOlures, topswaters (Chug-n-Spooks and She Dogs) and large gold spoons around islands and platforms.
Lake Pontchartrain trout are active in The Rigolets and like live shrimp under a cork. Get big shrimp and put them on a Carolina rig for big trout. some more than 6 pounds. The best artificials are long Gulp! minnows and shrimp and a variety of Deadly Dudley, Matrix Shad and Zoom soft plastics.
Early word on the red snapper season is that folks were finding fish up to 14 pounds as close as six miles off Grand Isle and Belle Pass. Mangrove snapper were more difficult to find because the red snapper were so aggressive. These same areas produced first-rate action on cobia (pogeys and live whie trout for bait).
There’s so much activity in the Atchafalaya Spillway that it’s hard to pass on the bream and goggle-eye action. Take crickets and work grasslines and around stumps. Bass are hanging on points. Use swimbaits.