A Time for Plastic
We’ve all heard the reports of the speckled trout being caught at the Trestles this spring. Typically March and April are prime months to catch larger-than-average speckled trout. Plastic lures such as Matrix Shad, Vudu Shrimp, and Shu-Shu’s litter the reports of anglers who manage to catch limits at the train bridge. Yes, life was good for those two months, but it’s now May, and those same fishermen who targeted the bridge with plastics now have a decision to make – stick with plastic lures or join the masses that are using live shrimp. That’s right! The live shrimp bite is slowly taking over at the Trestles, and catching trout on plastics is becoming a task for even the most experienced Lake Pontchartrain angers. I made a fishing trip with Calvin Duvall of Duvall’s Cajun Charters where I witnessed firsthand just how fast these fish have gone from feeding on plastic, to wanting nothing but live shrimp. We launched out of Island Marina of Lake Catherine and made our way north to the train bridge in Slidell. It was a Tuesday so we didn’t expect much competition for a spot at the bridge. Boy were we wrong! As we passed under the drawbridge, we counted over 30 boats fishing the west side of the bridge south of the draw. Then to the north there were over 40. We squeezed into a gap in the line of boats fishing the bridge at the 174 mark. I knew the live shrimp would be getting plucked from the live well within seconds so I grabbed my rod and tied on the closest thing to a live shrimp that I could find. It was a Shu-Shu Marsh Craw in the Gunmetal color. I whipped it out and on the third cast felt that fantastic thump that’s so unique to the bridge. I slung the fish into the boat and was one-up on the live bait fisherman. Then as I casted back toward the bridge, the rest of the party joined in. All rigged with live shrimp on a drop-shot rig. I stayed steadfast in my attempt to catch more on plastic, but one after another the others started setting their hooks on fish and swinging them into the boat. I stubbornly continued to fish with plastic but it was to no avail. After witnessing over ten speckled trout being caught within an hour, I dejectedly reached into the live well, grabbed a shrimp, and joined the fish catching party. Our charter captain for the day, Calvin Duvall, says summer is coming, which means fishing with plastic will be getting tougher. “I love to fish artificial. It’s my favorite way to fish. But live shrimp is king when it comes to speckled trout. Once that live shrimp hits the bottom, those trout will pass up that artificial to get that shrimp,” Duvall says. We ended the day with a healthy box of speckled trout mixed in with a few sheepsheads. Most of the fish were caught on the east side of the Trestles. For those wanting to fish the Trestles, Calvin says the days are limited due to the fact that they will all be moving to saltier water to spawn soon.
In the past few years we’ve noticed the emergence of bass into what is typically known as saltwater fishing spots. Anthony LaMarca and his family made a trip to the L&N Train Bridge and says the intention was to catch redfish. “I heard some reds were biting at the L&N bridge and my three-year-old had been begging me to take her fishing. We tried a few spots around Lake Catherine first with no luck and then made it to the bridge and my wife immediately hooked into something big that broke her line. My guess, it was a big drum,” Anthony says. The family moved around the bridge and finally settled on a spot where they caught something unexpected. We moved around a bit and then started catching some really nice freshwater catfish that was enough for a little fish fry,” he says. But the highlight of the trip didn’t come from any fish caught. “A couple of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries boats passed us while we were fishing. One of them looped back around and tossed my little girl a t-shirt for having her life jacket on. It really made her day,” LaMarca says.
Bass Assassins held it’s tournament at the East Pearl and it was Clay Zeringue who came out on top with a 10 lb. 12 oz. limit of bass. Clay also won the big fish division with a 4 lb. 8 oz. largemouth. In second was Steve Ruschmeier who brought in a bag weighing 10 lbs. 5 oz. Hunter Zeringue came in third with 5 fish that weighed 8 lbs. 15 oz.
Bass Assassins will be holding its next tournament at Crawford’s Landing on May 21. For more information please contact Chris Basey at (985) 707-7857
Liar’s and Lunker’s will be holding its next tournament at the East Pearl River on May 21. For more information please contact Chad Hartzog at (985) 502-3217.
Pearl River Singles Circuit will be holding its next tournament on May 20, at Pool’s Bluff in Bogalusa.
(Keith Lusher Jr. writes a weekly column. For more info, visit NorthshoreFishingReport.com.Contact Keith at email@example.com.)