Lake Pontchartrain Bull Shark
There are certain signs on the water that point anglers to the realization that summer is on the way. Catching gaff top catfish, needle nose fish stripping their bait from the hook, and the amazing spectacle of hundreds of mullet leaping out of the water to escape what’s chasing them. “It’s what’s chasing them that I’m after,” says Captain Andy Jones of Wicked Charters. While hot temperatures may signal the decline of the speckled trout bite here in Lake Pontchartrain, there’s another bite that is garnering Jones’ attention – Lake Pontchartrain Bull Shark. Andy made a trip to kick off the summer with his two sons Tyler and Jacob. They launched out of Mandeville harbor and their first task was to catch bait. “The bait was kind of hard to come by because we’ve had that southwest wind and the water was dirty so we had to really pay attention. We saw a few swirls and made a few blind casts,” Andy says. The team ended up with 20-30 large mullet that they impaled on their hooks, some whole and some cut in half. Andy says when dealing with shark, everything needs to be bigger and heavier. “We typically use 30 lb. Power Pro braided line with a 60 lb. wire leader on our poles,” Jones says. Andy and his sons ended up fishing further off the shoreline of Bayou Lacombe than they normally do. “The waves crashing along the shoreline made the water muddy so we had to make our way out further than we normally do,” he says. They casted out their lines and waited. “It can be hours of boredom and minutes of shear unbelievable excitement! It can go from 0 to 100 in seconds!” Andy says. The excitement on this trip came at 4:30 in the afternoon from a pole that was stationed in a holder mounted on the side of the boat. “We were cleaning up the boat a little and all of a sudden the rod just went straight down! It bent over and started screaming!” says Jones. The fish made a 70-yard run before Tyler was able to start reeling and, after a 10 minute fight, Andy was able to net the 3’ 10” bull shark. While it may seem early for shark in Lake Pontchartrain, research proves that the lake hosts shark on more days than not. Ashley Ferguson of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says that bull sharks inhabit the lake for more than half a year. “Our research shows that the shark’s threshold is 68 degrees. When the temperature dips below that, the sharks exit the lake. So they’ll be here from now until October or November,” Ferguson says.
Bass Assassins held its tournament at Crawford’s Landing and it was Jimmy Dorris who came out on top with a 5-fish tournament limit weighing 10 lbs. With the win Dorris moves into the #6 spot in the Bayou Country Lures’ Northshore Bass Series.
In second was Richard Bennett who brought in a limit that weighed 9.12 lbs. In third was Cameran Wagner with a 5-fish bag that weighed 8 lbs. 3 oz.
Florida Parishes Bass Anglers held its tournament at Manchac and it was the team of Phat Tran and Greg Shelton who took first place with a 5-fish bag that weighed 11.38 lbs. In second place was Chad Babin and Tyler S. with a limit weighing in at 10.53 lbs. Lance Davis and T.J. Morgan took third with 5 fish that weighed 8.30 lbs.
Dockside Marine Tournament Trail headed to Bayou Segnette for their latest tournament and it was Ross and Reese Watkins who came out on top with a 5-fish tournament limit that weighed 16.80 lbs. With the win the Watkins move into the #1 spot in the NBS Power Rankings. In second place were Josh Crowder and Wyatt Junot with a 5-fish bag weighing 14.90 lbs. Terry Jones and Jason Stevens took third with a 13.83 lb. bag.
Pearl River Team Trails is holding its next tournament at the East Pearl on June 10. For more information please contact Charles at (985) 960-6936
Bass Assassins is holding its next tournament at Bayou Liberty on June 4. For more information please contact Chris Basey at 985-707-7857 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Florida Parishes Bass Anglers is holding its next tournament at Crawford’s Landing on the West Pearl River on Saturday June 10. For more information please email email@example.com.
Dockside Marine Tournament Trail is holding its next tournament at the East Pearl River on July 1. For more information please contact Jay Ladner at (228) 493-4378.
(Keith Lusher Jr. writes a weekly column. For more info, visit NorthshoreFishingReport.com. Contact Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org.)