Topping the good-news list this week is that it appears speckled trout finally have moved to the beaches. Next is that the weather will match last week’s near ideal Fourth of July conditions, and should be better with stronger and longer-duration tides.
Offshore action is hot, too, with mangrove snapper at near-shore rigs, and cobia showing in big numbers,
After Friday’s big-time threat of afternoon thunderstorms decreases to the 30 percent range, we will find usual summer temperatures of lows in the mid-70s and highs in the lower-90s.
Look for light, but shifting coastal winds — southwest, then south, then northeast, then east — Friday through Monday with light seas.
The Mississippi River is falling and is predicted to hit 21.5 feet at Baton Rouge and 7 feet at New Orleans by Monday. The Bayou Sorrel reading on the Atchafalaya River is holding at 4.9 feet.
It looks like speckled trout have turned on to live shrimp, and Central Coast bait shops are struggling to keep up with demand. The key is to get bait before sunrise to make sure you have enough for a morning trip.
Laughing gulls are showing the way. Birds are hovering over shrimp and schools of baitfish, and trout are working under these schools. While fishing live shrimp under a cork is working for 12-20 inch-long trout, a variety of soft-plastics on jigheads is best to take advantage of trout feeding under the birds. It takes too long to re-bait hooks with live shrimp to stay on trout schools.
Heavier trout are eating live pogeys and croakers.
Another usual summertime pattern is to move into the marshes to find the 16-27 inches long redfish (they’re taking shrimp under a cork). Bull reds are cruising the beaches on rising tides, then moving to the passes on falling tides. It’s possible to take them on topwaters in the surf. Switch to cracked crabs or cut mullet to take the bulls in the passes.
For the past two weeks, mangrove snapper have showed up in the Grand Isle, South Timbalier and Ship Shoal blocks in 50-70 foot depths. Live croaker is a can’t-miss bait, but chumming with, then baiting with pogeys takes them when they’re actively feeding.
Bluewater action improved, too, and blue marlin, wahoo, yellowfins and bull dolphin are ganging up around rips 45-80 miles off the Central Coast. It’s a closer run from Venice down river to the Gulf to hit these rips. There’s dirty water around the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, but prop wash can indicate clear water below the dirty freshwater layer.
Sac-a-lait have been a hit-or-miss proposition for the past month in the Atchafalaya, but with steady water levels and a bit of north wind, it looks like Saturday holds promise in the Murphy Lake and Bayou Cowan areas. Look for bass between Flat Lake and Big Bayou Pigeon.