Is there ever a better time to talk fishing than the summer?
OK, so it’s hot. So go early and come back early.
OK, so the Sahara Desert is blowing sand across our southeast coast. OK, so wear a mask. Everybody is doing it — or supposed to be doing it.
• The catfish run continues on False River and in the Verret Basin. It's best to go early at False River and get the cats while they’re along the banks, feeding on the piles of 2- to 4-inch-long shad. My grandson caught one on Father’s Day morning, and the two-pounder had 18 shad in its stomach. It was willing to inhale the offering of a nightcrawler.
Worms and fresh shrimp under a cork is the right combination for Verret Basin cats.
• While catches east of the Mississippi River look better for redfish, drum and sheepshead (especially in the Pontchartrain area), postings are showing handsome speckled trout catches in from east of Grand Isle west into the lower Terrebonne waters. Live shrimp are a can’t-miss offering. If you want to spice up the trip, try topwaters early, then go to your favorite soft-plastics color as long as it has a chartreuse tail.
Except for Breton and Chandeleur sounds, the inshore shrimp season (mostly brown shrimp) east of South Pass will end at 6 p.m. Wednesday after state biologists have found loads of small white shrimp moving into these waters.
• The offshore folks are having little trouble finding red snapper and lane snapper, but mangrove snapper are bedeviling some anglers. It looks like the mangroves don’t want to feed in the early morning (from three reports) and are moving close to platforms as the sun gets higher in the sky. It means having to use heavier flourocarbon leaders to get these brutish fish from around the platforms before they can see-saw your line and break off.
Knowing your snapper species can help add to your daily catch. A blackfin snapper and a red snapper look to be the same fish, but for the black spot around the pectoral fin for the blackfin. You can keep two red snapper (16 inches or longer), but you can have 10 blackfin snapper a day.
• Grouper, in catchable numbers, appear to be hanging at the deeper rigs and will take most any offering, although small white trout seem to be best. Remember to know what and how many grouper species you can take on a day’s trip. The Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council’s website (gulfcouncil.org) has the regulations.
• Adventure awaits the deep-sea guys and ladies. Swordfish trips have become a more-offered option, and some blue marlin are showing up along with the usual pursuit of yellowfin and blackfin tuna.
Remember, your 2019-20 fishing license expires June 30, and you need a current basic license — a saltwater one, too, if you’re heading to the coast — come July 1.
The folks with Hunters for the Hungry — they’re fishers, too — are asking fishermen to check off the H4H donation to help with the program. This statewide group collects fish, too, and their efforts helped provide 250,000 meals to kitchens and shelters last year. A $5 donation is a big help for this cause when you’re buying that new license.
LA Creel data released late last week shows Louisiana’s private recreational red snapper landings at 239,429 pounds, up 79,159 pounds in first two weekend seasons in June. That’s 31% (in four weekend openings) of the state’s allotment of 784,332 pounds for this year.
Tuesday is the deadline for applying for alligator lottery hunts on 19 Wildlife and Fisheries wildlife management areas, 28 public lakes and one Army Corp of Engineers property. The hunts will run Aug. 26-Oct. 31.
You must be 16 or older. Applications are available on the LDWF website: https://la-web.s3licensing.com/ and find the “Lottery Applications” tab. There’s a $5 application fee and a $2 transaction fee, and you can submit only one application.
Those selected will be required to buy a $25 alligator hunting license and pay $40 for each alligator tag allocated to the selected location. The LDWF has listed specific locations on its website: wlf.louisiana.gov/assets/Hunting/Alligator/Files/lottery_choices.pdf.
A demain, mes amis
With all the activity on the water these days, it’s time to heed Zane Gray’s contribution to the “The Angler’s Book of Favorite Fishing Quotations.” Gray wrote, “A good rule of angling philosophy is not to interfere with any fisherman’s way of being happy, unless you want to be hated.”