GRAND ISLE — To say it’s hot on our state’s only inhabited island at the end of July is akin to saying the sun rises in the east. It’s a given, a fact we brace against every year much like our northern brothers and sisters bear up to in the dead of winter.
To say the fishing is hot along our coast — and fishermen here know the best summertime action among the five Gulf States is right here — has to come with a caveat, if only because there’s so much to offer.
With the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers cresting this week after an extraordinarily long spring and summer rises, bass fishermen have had to pick from fewer options to enjoy a day on the water. We’re still another two weeks at the earliest from getting into the Atchafalaya Basin and the bass-rich waters along the Atchafalaya south of Morgan City and Berwick.
And pursuing largemouths off the Mississippi and around Venice is a problem solved only by waiting for the mightiest of North American rivers to finally recede to fishable levels.
All that will come in time, and when it does, there’s usually an explosion of bass-catching action unrivaled in any of the lower 48.
Along the coast, there’s no doubt speckled trout fishermen are scratching their heads when it comes to scratching out enough trout to put a “successful” label on their trips.
Trout catching was good from late May through June, but July has been, well, awful, but awful only by our standards.
When Grand Isle charter skippers Frank Dreher talks about having to work hard to catch 50 trout on a midweek trip last week, and Tommy Vidrine describes Friday’s venture into the East Timbalier as “slow” after putting 20 3- to 4-pound specks in the box, it’s a bitter pill to swallow for south Louisiana fishermen accustomed to so much more.
But ask any other folks across the Gulf if catching those numbers would trigger woe-is-us reactions. Hardly. Catches like that make headlines in other places, just not here.
And just when the platoon-sized number of guys who target giant trout continued to ask the question about where have all the lunker yellowmouths gone, along comes the report from the Faux Pas Rodeo in Venice that longtime big-trout catchers Dudley Vanderborre, Tony Bruce and Ed Sexton hauled in five trout Friday weighing 28.75 pounds, including Bruce’s hefty 7.8 pounds.
Take a look offshore, too. Despite winds that blustered, then died, then blustered again and the sometimes roiling seas, tarpon fishermen hauled in enough from waters off Grand Bayou to keep the Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo holding high the events namesake fish, among the many stories that filled the rodeo’s leaderboard for the past three days.
See, we’re spoiled here, and we’re more prone to look at this glass half empty rather than half full.