Using an emergency declaration, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries secretary Jack Montoucet has opened a weekends-only recreational red snapper season until further notice beginning this weekend.
As a reminder, these periods run Fridays through Sunday.
Offshore fishing usually declines after Labor Day, and a recent run of foul weekend weather has added slightly more than 20,000 pounds to the overall catch since that last holiday weekend.
LA Creel, the state’s highly acclaimed data collection system, has estimated the total catch since the Memorial Day weekend opener at 777,830 pounds — slightly more than 95 percent of state’s total annual allocation of 816,439 pounds.
That total was through the weekend season ending Oct. 13, and it’s doubtful, with the passage of Tropical Storm Olga last weekend, there were any appreciable landings Oct. 11-13. The last weekend recorded landings came Oct. 4-6 when private recreational fishermen brought in an estimated 10,665 pounds.
Montoucet, again by an emergency declaration — power granted by the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission — had opened three consecutive weekends, but that declaration ended last weekend.
For a complete week-by-week rundown on the state’s 2019 red snapper season, go the the LDWF’s website: wlf.louisiana.gov/red-snapper.
A reminder to recreational fishermen: the two-month greater amberjack season ends Thursday, Oct. 31.
This week’s rain and easterly winds piled up lots of water along the coast to the point where the National Weather Service issued a coastal flood advisory through Wednesday night. With high-tide cycles running higher than normal this month, winds pushed in enough water to add as much as two additional feet of water into low-lying areas along the coast, especially on the east side of the Mississippi River.
Expect Thursday’s north winds (up to 25 knots along the coast) to push some of this water out, and the forecast for the approaching coldest weekend of the season to is for 5-15 knot north winds to remain through Sunday before another push of easterly winds is predicted to most of next week.
It looks like another rough-water weekend is ahead with offshore seas running up to 10 feet through Friday, and rough conditions predicted for coastal lakes and bays into Saturday.
Now that we’ve had a taste of cooler weather, and with morning temperatures reaching the 40s this weekend, it’s time to start thinking about fishing the deeper holes along the Central Coast.
The first report from Sulfur Mine Lake (west of Golden Meadow) came this week. There are trout in the mine, but not the numbers you could expect to find when the barometric pressure soars as the mercury drops.
This is a pattern that will repeat itself for the next months: a cold front moves in and the fish do deep. After two, maybe three days, the sun is out, warms the water, the baitfish move into the shallows and become more active and trout and redfish follow their food to the flats in the bays and lakes.
On the Bend
Jackson Rogers found out about bass-tournament heartbreak early in life.
Rogers was among 36 young Junior Southwest Bassmaster anglers taking on largemouth and spotted bass at Toledo Bend a couple of weekends ago in JSB’s second two-day tournament this year.
He got to the scales and watched his giant 5.9-pound bass shoot him into first place in the club’s 11-14 age group — a two-day total of 11.81 pounds — but that near 6-pounder wiped out the club’s big bass, Brady Talbot’s 5.13-pounder caught in April.
Imagine what goes through a youngster’s mind when Caleb Roblin strides to the scales with another big bass, and when Roblin’s fish weighed out at 5.91 pounds. Unless another JSB young angler latches onto a bigger fish in the November, Roblin will take Big Bass of the Year honors during December’s end-of-the-year banquet.
Roblin’s bass had to share the spotlight with Denham Spring’s Jack Varnado, who competes in the 7-10 age group. Varnado came in with five bass weighing 14.27 pounds, including a 4.52-pound lunker, to stand tall among the three age-group anglers.
Club organizer Jim Breaux said the was a 14-inch minimum size on “keeper” fish, that there were a lot of smaller bass caught, that the shad run was in full swing, and most of the fish were caught on topwater plugs, spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps, soft plastics and drop-shot rigs.