The Daily Review Outdoor Writer John Flores displays a catch. (Submitted Photo/Courtesy of John K. Flores)
Fall pattern to show up sooner or later in East Cote Blanche Bay
The past month has been tough – for me at least – fishing East Cote Blanche Bay out of Burns Point. What with Hurricane Michael pushing water northward where it was reported over the road last week, plus all of the freshwater from the rain we’ve been having, my regular haunts have been producing little.
This past Saturday in East Cote Blanche Bay, I saw plenty of boats out trying to do the same thing as my wife and me. Some were anchored, and others were trolling – banging the banks throwing lures in the grass.
However, in talking with a couple of anglers out there, they didn’t come close to catching a limit of red fish. What’s more, the best my wife and I could do was catch two catfish and one really nice-size marsh bass caught on a crank bait.
I caught the bass using an Echo 1.75 made by Rat-L-Trap. When I fish the marsh, it’s been my experience during fall trips on some trenausses, where the water is draining, you never know what you’re going to catch.
I’ve caught redfish, largemouth bass, flounder, fresh water drum (gaspergou), speckled trout, and blue catfish on crank baits, spinner baits and Johnson spoons. Essentially, by late September and early October the Atchafalaya River flood stage in Morgan City is typically around 3 feet. As a result, southerly winds tend to push saltwater up into the bays and with it increased opportunities to catch a wide variety of fish.
The thing about fishing East Cote Blanche Bay is it has its quirks. Much of the spring and summer is influenced by freshwater from the Atchafalaya River, Calumet Spillway, and the Franklin Jaws, where its flow comes from the Intracoastal Canal.
The bay is also relatively shallow, where a hard west or southwest wind can stir up the water causing it to become a muddy mess. To catch a fish under these conditions you’d have to hit it in the head with your bait to have a chance.
None-the-less, there’s just nothing like fall fishing. Fall seems to be more predictable, more comfortable, and altogether more enjoyable.
It’s also my preferred time to fish East Cote Blanche Bay for redfish. When the wind cooperates, there’s usually plenty of clear water, and the fish seem to be more aggressive, gorging themselves in the months prior to winter.
The thing about fall fishing is it’s similar all across coastal Louisiana where redfish and speckled trout are concerned. But, 2018 pattern-wise has been different. Over in Terrebonne Parish, Bill Lake, owner/operator of Bayou Guide Service, is accustomed to catching 10,000 or more speckled trout a summer. Lake and the guides he works with by September had registered only 2,500 trout, most of which were caught in May he says.
Lake says he and his crews would run out to the Pickets and the Mardi Gras rig and catch few if any trout at all. To compensate, they would go to what he referred to as plan B and fish redfish inshore.
With over 3000 redfish tallied through the summer season going into fall, Lake says it’s the first time they’ve caught more redfish than speckled trout, which his clientele didn’t seem to mind. There’s nothing quite like coming in with a box full of redfish limits.
Lake attributed the lower trout numbers to two things. The possibility of the severe cold temperatures experienced last winter. And, an increase of freshwater from the Atchafalaya this past spring.
By contrast, East Cote Blanch Bay isn’t known as a speckled trout location, though in the fall some are present. Rarely do you ever hear of someone catching a limit in this body of water. But, you do see regular limits of redfish caught.
Last weekend, my wife and I caught a channel cat, a flat head cat, and a largemouth bass – all of which are obviously freshwater fish caught in brackish coastal water. And, I’d be willing to bet if we had a way of testing salinity what we would have found, was our honey holes were way too fresh to catch the saltier variety of fish we were targeting.
In the coming weeks, things should settle down in East Cote Blanche Bay, where a bonafide fall pattern should see more redfish show up in the fish box. And, with any luck, maybe a few speckled trout.
If you wish to make a comment or have an anecdote, recipe or story you wish to share you can contact John K. Flores by calling (985) 395-5586 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.