Most area fishermen consider saltwater fishing at end of April because that is usually the time of year when large sow speckled trout move from offshore waters into bays and shell reefs to spawn.
But water temperatures in area lakes are all warmer now than they were a year ago, which means itís time to fish saltwater.
Juvenile redfish (16 to 26 inches in length) chase migrating shrimp and crabs into the upper estuaries to feed and gain age before they head offshore to spawn. Speckled trout and redfish generally move into the upper estuary at the same time.
Last weekend I had an opportunity to fish with Andrew Callais and Phillip Callais in one of their monthly fishing club tournaments. We launched in Lafitte around 6:30 a.m. Saturday and headed out to the Texaco Canal.
We managed to locate a maze of canals the oil companies carved into the marsh. We found the group of small islands near Bayou Dupont below the Pen and were able to reach them with an above average high tide.
Andrew was using a chartreuse Rockport Rattling jig head with a black/chartreuse cocahoe body but was not having any luck. Meanwhile, Phillip was throwing a chartreuse body with a gold spinner blade and he was striking out.
Fishing in the back of the boat, I decided to use the traditional plain ľ ounce jig head with market shrimp on the bottom. At the first island, I caught a 15-inch redfish followed by a 22-inch keeper. At the second island I quickly caught three small rat reds, which I threw back.
It wasnít long before the question of the day was asked, "What are you using?"
Both Andrew and Phillip switched to a ľ ounce plain jig head and market shrimp. Occasionally, someone would put a cork 18 inches above the bait and return to fishing without the cork. We moved to the western side of the Barataria Seaway into Three Bayou Bay. Locating a small island, we caught plenty of small reds and a keeper.
As the morning fog burnt off, we fished our way through Long Bay, Ferdy Point, Turtle Bay and the Harvey Cut. The high water, falling tide and northwest wind made the Harvey Cut very rough. But fishing along the eastern cement wall, Andrew caught a 31-inch redfish.
Philip caught a few blue freshwater catfish and I managed to catch a 3 and a 1/2 pound gaspergou, which measured 18 inches.
With our weigh-in time at 1 p.m., we pulled up the anchor and headed back to C&M Marina with 12 keeper redfish, six catfish, a gaspergou, and two flounders.
"March is going to kick off the saltwater fishing this year," Phillip said. "The water temperature is in the mid 70ís. This is going to be a great spring and summer."
|Andrew Callais with a keeper redfish caught in the Texaco Canals near Lafitte.|