Pete Cassagne and I recently took a trip to Grand Isle to scout specks, and if our trip was any indication, itís going to be a great summer.
We fished out of Cassagneís 14-foot aluminum boat, which allowed us to reach ponds and shallow areas. We left camp at 8 a.m. and headed for Bayou Laurier. Cassagne was throwing a glow/chartreuse cocahoe tandem rigged under a cork and I threw the two-inch chartreuse sparkle beetle.
We did have market shrimp in case we started catching red fish.
We made several stops along the cuts in Bayou Laurier and managed to pick up one or two undersized specks. We kept moving northwest into Lake Palourde, and fishing the southwest side along the cuts and islands, we caught one legal trout.
We crossed to the west side of Lake Palourde and drifted with the current in the Williams Canal. In one cut, Cassagneís cork disappeared as quickly as it hit the water. He reeled in a 14-inch speckled trout. I quickly put my cork on and start throwing in his direction and my cork disappeared just as quickly.
I dropped the anchor and we caught several legal trout but had to throw back more than we kept.
"At least itís fun. I never have seen this many shrimp swimming by the boat this early in the season," Cassagne said. "These speckled trout are chasing big schools of shrimp."
When the action slowed, we pulled up the anchor and drifted with the current again. We kept catching fish throughout the entire length of Williams Canal. About a mile and a half westward, there is an intersection of another canal, which has a deep hole in the middle. I threw market shrimp on a ľ ounce jig head on the bottom and quickly caught a one-pound white trout. Pete threw the same rig and also caught a nice white trout.
Heading north towards Bayou Garci, we noticed four different flocks of birds working schools of shrimp. We eased up to first flock and Cassagne launched one of his mile-long casts into the middle of the diving birds. He reeled in two 14-inch speckled trout.
We managed to catch several good speckled trout in the Bayou Garci area on the two-inch glow and chartreuse sparkle beetle under a cork.
"The last time I witnessed this many shrimp and trout in the marsh was 1977, when we had a warm winter," Cassagne said. "Itís going to be a great summer."