What a fantastic time of the year! Air temperatures have finally broken into the 80's, water temperatures are in the low-to-mid 70's and the fish are cruising for easy meals.
Along the beaches, the pompano bite has been absolutely on fire in the surf. Whether you target them by boat, at one of the piers or from the beach, the tactics are pretty much the same. Use either sand fleas or shrimp on a two hook pompano rig or heavy compact jigs fished right on the bottom. Since pompano come through in schools, keep a couple of live bait rods out “soaking” while you fish a jig on an extra rod. That way, you have a chance at multiple hook ups when the school comes by.
Spanish mackerel is another popular game fish that’s plentiful and can be caught in a variety of ways. The most common tactic is to troll mackerel tree rigs, straw rigs or small spoons. While all of those are effective, I prefer the excitement of “running and gunning” schools of fish feeding on the surface and throwing either small topwater baits, spoons or plugs. The action is fast paced and they are a great fight on light tackle, but be sure to add a small piece of light wire when targeting them to avoid being cut off.
Meanwhile, you can find plenty of slot and over-slot redfish around the rocks in the pass and near most of the bridges in town. Use either live baits on bottom rigs, heavy spoons, jigs or crankbaits. Soon, the crabs, shrimp and eels will be flushing out much heavier than they are right now and you will be able to target the big bulls on surface baits. In the shallows, there are large schools of slot-sized fish hanging out in all the usual places – big points, bayou mouths, marshes and creeks. A heavy presence of finger mullet means topwater baits work well early in the morning and late in the afternoon. In between, gold weedless spoons and jigs reign supreme.
The speckled trout bite is strong on shallow grass flats with lots of potholes, sandbars or a good transition from shallow grass to deeper sand. The majority of slot-sized fish have been schooling in water ranging from 3-to-8 feet but the bigger sows tend to hang out in shallower water and often cruise the shoreline in water less than two feet deep. Sometime during the heat of the day, however, the bigger fish lay up in slightly deeper potholes where the water tends to be a little cooler. Soft plastics and suspending hard baits get fish to the boat but, when they are schooling, use live pinfish, glass minnows, pilchards or shrimp.
As always, if you have questions about what’s biting, how to catch them or want to book a trip, give me a call or shoot me an email.