Expect rough fishing conditions for weekend

Just in time for that bonus recreational red snapper season, Mother Nature proudly presents the roughest weather and sea conditions we’ve had since the spring.

For anyone who planned to hit the Gulf of Mexico this weekend (LSU and the Saints are on the road), get ready for Mom Nature’s body blow of 15-25 knot winds and 6-9 foot seas.

Of course you can venture out, and only in the most seaworthy of vessels, but you can be sure you’ll return to the dock feeling like you’ve been sacked multiple times by the entire Saints’ defensive front.

Otherwise, “inside” fishermen should use this first big push of cold air into south Louisiana to their advantage. The strong southeast winds due here Friday morning will elevate waters levels in the interior marshes before giving way to northerly winds by Saturday morning.

That wind shift should trigger a push of water from coastal ponds and small lakes and send minnows into cuts and run-outs. That means redfish and trout will gather at those “drains” and should be easy pickings for anglers willing to withstand the choppy conditions from the approaching cold front.

True, the cold front means a rising barometer, but with warm water temperatures predator species in brackish and freshwater areas will be active on water pushed out by the north winds.

Weather

Southeast and east winds up to 15 knots with 2-3 footers the norm on Lake Pontchartrain and the coastal areas until the wind shift to the north at 10-15 knots late Friday into Saturday. Again, expect very rough offshore conditions, which should calm Monday and Tuesday.

This week’s slight rises in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers will be offset by the north winds and start the rivers on another slow fall.

Expect rain through Saturday, and the front to kick in hard with Monday morning’s low in the mid-50s and afternoon highs near 80.

The coast

Inside waters will be the best bet this weekend. Expect high water on the east side of the Mississippi River into Saturday morning. Live minnows and soft-plastic minnow imitations tight-lined or worked under a cork in run-outs and along the down-current banks should work on redfish. Look for speckled trout to be outside the run-outs and on the first or second drop-offs in the down-current banks.

Freshwater

The Atchafalaya Spillway remains the best bet for bass, sac-a-lait and panfish.

Bass catches came from the Little and Big Pigeon areas and waters in and around Flat Lake and everything from spinnerbaits and buzzbaits to crankbaits and a variety of soft-plastic creature baits (Brush Hogs, D-Bombs and Sweet Beavers were the most talked about plastics) worked on bass and goggle-eye around stumps, grass beds, cypress stands and edges of vast stands of water hyacinths.