All the pros, veterans, and novices alike will eagerly tell you that all those weeks that fall between February 15 and April 20 every year will yield sports fishing across the Southeast coastline of Louisiana as tough as any task anywhere.
Gusty winds, especially those out of the west, murky chocolaty-colored water, tidal uncertainty, rough, choppy seas, and fish species that develop an annual condition generally referred to as “piscatorial lockjaw” do its level best to thwart fishing for saltwater and brackish-water fish everywhere. Just about everyone who owns a rod and reel, especially those born here, have learned to “live with it.
“Forget it, Frank! Ain’t nothing happening at Lafitte,” Capt. Mike Helmer admitted with frustrated disappointment.
“It ain’t gonna happen here at Delacroix,” Capt. Ron “Ahab” Broadus, whispered into the telephone mouthpiece. “They got the siphons open down here and we’re up to our gunwales in river water—yukky from top to bottom.”
“Lake Pontchartrain is like it always is when the winds kick up like they’ve been this past 4 or 5 days,” Capt. Kenny Kreeger confessed this morning just after 10 o’clock. “If I were in your shoes, I’d plan to leave the boat on the trailer and find another direction to go in today if you need to do a TV show!”
That’s the exact time I remembered that my buddy Brian Cappy at Kenny’s Seafood in Slidell was usually back in the boiler room this time of morning amidst the blue crabs, crawfish, and Louisiana white shrimp fixin’ to touch the flame to the propane under the first of eight 60-gallon pots.
Hundreds and hundreds of pounds of seafood would be boiled to perfection before noon, when construction workers, bank tellers, veterinarians, sanitation truck drivers, painters, nurses, and virtually every other walk of life would pull up into not only Cappy’s parking lot for lunch, but into all the parking lots at all the other neighborhood seafood markets in Southeast Louisiana.
Of course, I think I ought to stop right here and take time to bring each of you up to speed on the local fishing possibilities.
“Things are gonna get real good real soon!” Glenn Sanchez took time to explain to a handful of fishermen hanging around the fish cleaning table at Breton Sound Marina at Hopedale.
“Make no mistake about it—the fish are all over coastal Louisiana—trout, reds, drum, sheephead, flounder, croakers, channel mullet, freshwater cats, and numerous other species. It’s just that right now, what with transition in half-swing, one day they bite and the next they don’t! But. . . look out for the middle to the end of April. All hell is gonna break loose!
“They’ll be biting morning, midday, evening, and night! They’ll want a variety of bait—live shrimp, live Cocahoes, market bait, plastic lures, and Lord only knows what else.
They’ll be up top, midway down, and on the bottom. They’ll take dangled baits under popping or chugging corks. They’ll chase cast and retrieve. They’ll make blind strikes on topwaters. So now’s the time to put your tackle and tackle boxes in order.”
In the interim, be not frustrated, I say to you! It happens like this every year! And this year is no exception!
So to tide you over till the heavy action starts, make a few really easy trips. Then stop on the way home and either pick up seafood to boil or seafood already boiled. Regardless of your choice, it’ll be great! And fun! And danged tasty!
Till next week,