Macaluso: Sunshine big key to catches

There are enough hot spots around for everyone whether you’re taking this holiday weekend to head to the coast or to freshwater.

And it’s about Thanksgiving time, when water temperatures begin to drop, that we discuss the particulars of what late fall and winter presents to south Louisiana anglers.

And it’s about this time when extended period of northerly winds push so much water from the marshes, small ponds and small lakes that the fish have nowhere to go except deeper bayous and deeper canals.

And let’s leave room to discuss what’s happening this week, but only after we take note of last week, when water temperatures along the coast dipped into the 60s and speckled trout began the move to deeper waters.

For places like Shell Beach, Delacroix and Hopedale and waters around Port Sulphur, Buras, Boothville and Venice, that meant finding the dropoffs and ledges and working live bait and artificial lures down to 5-10 foot depths.

Take Delacroix, Shell Beach and Hopedale, for instance. Trout were ganged up in the MRGO, Bayou Bienvenu and the Intracoastal Waterway because those places hold water, deep water. The nearby bays and lakes that had held trout in the preceding weeks held loads of redfish, but very few trout.

That’s why folks got their live shrimp, put them 4-8 feet under a sliding cork and had a terrific day catching fish.

For the folks who prefer artificials, H&H watermelon/chartreuse, purple/chartreuse and purple/white, Dudley’s Slammin’ Sammy (tail dipped in chartreuse dye), Gulp! watermelon red Jerk Shad and Zoom Flukes worked, too, but try them on an eighth-ounce jighead to make sure of a slower fall than rigging them on a quarter-ounce or heavier jig.

Until the water temperatures fall into the upper 50s, trout like to suspend near rocks and points and feed on the shrimp on falling tides, and the tides have been falling most mornings across the coast.

Let’s move to the Central Coast: Trout began to move from the barrier island almost three weeks ago. That means we can start looking for trout well up in The Fourchon, the Leeville and Golden Meadow areas and in the more northern reaches of Barataria Bay (Bay Rambo has been extra productive throughout November). Live shrimp and minnows and artificials are working.

In freshwater, the Atchafalaya Spillway is loaded with bass action. A reminder that spinnerbaits are good, but we’re nearing the time when soft-plastic crawfish imitations and the black/blue jig-n-pig will produce best.

Here’s the exception: Even during periods of northerly winds, extended days of sunshine tend to push bass to the shallows along sunlit banks and send specks and reds to the flats where warmer water will hold more bait.

This is the time when you can put live bait and artificials 1-3 feet under a cork or twitch plugs like Long As and MirrOlures just under the surface and go after reds with heavy spinners with faster retrieves.