Tides more important these days

Just like their saltwater cousins, freshwater species are affected by tidal movement, and even as far as the Atchafalaya Basin is from the Gulf of Mexico, a tide can be a trigger for some first-rate bass, sac-a-lait and panfish action.

Now that the Atchafalaya River has hit its summer low, tides play an even more important role into most of the rest of 2013.

Water movement triggers baitfish activity and increases the likelihood that the bigger fish most of us seek are aggressively reacting to the baitfish and crawfish and any other critter Mother Nature puts on her table.

The same is true for places like the mouth of the Mississippi River, the Pearl River, the lower reaches of Bayou Teche, the bayous and rivers in the Pontchartrain Basin, and the freshwater marshes in the Bayou Black area.

Knowing when those tides move is the biggest problem. For the most part, water in the lower third of the Atchafalaya Basin falls in the afternoon, which is why most of the old-timers would put their time in at work in the morning, then hit the launch sometime around 4 p.m. and fish until dark in the late summer and early fall. That’s when the water was pushing out and the fish were biting.

Weather

Mostly east and southeast winds in the 5-15 knot range along the coast with mild seas east of the Mississippi River but much rougher along the Central Coast through the weekend. Conditions are predicted to worsen Sunday with 2-4 footers offshore swelling to the 3-6 foot range Sunday and into next week.

Expect a low 70s to low 90s temperature range with a chance of afternoon storms.

The coast

Maybe it was that little cold front that awakened speckled trout from what looked to be a late-summer nap. Whatever is was, trout catches along and inside the barrier islands picked up in the past week.

Most reports pointed to using Carolina rigs with live bait (shrimp, cocahoe minnows) along points and over hard bottomed areas. Moving water was a factor, too, but trout didn’t show in places where the water was moving hard.

The only live-bait-under-a-cork report came from the Biloxi Marsh on small trout and keeper redfish, and that report came from a bayou where shrimp were moving through a run-out into the bayou. Those spots usually produce fish on any lure.

Freshwater

Atchafalaya bass are taking more dark-colored lures than they were taking two weeks ago. Darker crawfish and bream-colored crankbaits are working, and motor oil/avocado/black has replaced pumpkinseed and watermelon for the best soft-plastic color.

Sac-a-lait are taking a variety of tube-jig colors in the Spillway and around cypress trees on Old River.