Frank Davis / Fishing Expert
NEW ORLEANS - I’ve been waiting for days to “spill the beans” this week and tell you that right now the bottom of Lake Pontchartrain at the trestle area on the north side is practically paved with big southern flounders!
No kidding, y’all!
And the best part of it all is that our local anglers are hauling these monster flatfish in from daylight to dark almost every day of the week.
From a personal perspective, on Thursday charter boat captain Kenny Kreeger and I were on the water in the lake at the break of dawn . . .but get this—we returned to the dock right about mid-morning (just minutes before the forecasted approaching front) with a passel of flounder to clean—frypan size to doormat size.
After that experience, which I enjoyed first hand—I’m totally convinced that all serious fishermen should plan to be out on the water by 7 am—anchor in place—this weekend to take advantage of prime flounder fishing time.
“Yeah, Frank, but let them know what’s absolutely mandatory if they want a good day with lots of fish catching going on,” Capt. Kenny reminded. “These guys are nothing short of brutes, real tackle-busters. So, fishermen, before you set out after them, change out your old line! You will definitely need fresh mono filament (preferably 17 to 20 pound test) and either a casting or baitcasting reel, set atop a stout rod that can handle more than just a little punishment.
“Fishermen will also need to bring along several pre-made Carolina rigs (since the bottom is where these fish are holding). Oh, yeah—they will also need without fail a well-full of live shrimp. A few veteran anglers out there are having some success with Cocahoes and storm minnows, but the bulk of the action these past two weeks has been with live shrimp, hooked behind the horn on the head and floated at the end of an 11 inch leader.”
While I’m on the subject of biological technicality, all the coastal fisheries experts will testify that smaller hooks usually work a whole lot better than large ones for catching flounders because their mouths open side to side instead of up and down. So you might want to swap out a few hooks this weekend if you make flounders your quarry.
Catching technique is relatively simple and straightforward.
· 1—Bait up with a live shrimp (you can get them in good supply at Dockside Marina at the end of old Rats’ Nest Road).
· 2—Then make a long cast and let the bait settle for a second or two.
· 3—Work the bait by “inching it along the bottom” (pull it along for several inches before waiting to feel the strike. The one thing you don’t wanna do is leave the bait stationary—you’ll get no strikes and hence no fish if you do. Remember flounders are ambush fish—they love to pursue their food and they want it alive and lively.
· 4—When you get a strike you’ll feel a “boomp, boomp!” Two solid hits together then nothing.
· 5—It’s at this time when you pause for a moment or two so that the flounder can position the live shrimp in its mouth. Then after the short pause, set the hook hard! The fish will be there, I guarantee!
One last note: Louisiana has a limit of 10 flounders per person per day, with no size limit in effect. As table fare, they can be prepared any which-a-way.
“I have a few open dates on my calendar,” Capt. Kenny told me on the trip back to the dock, “so anyone wanting to make a flounder trip with me can call me right now and get on the books. Just remember, all trips are booked on a first come, first served basis. So to guarantee a spot, don’t dawdle. I will definitely put you in water directly over the flounders.”
Capt. Kenny’s number is 985-643-2944.
Next week. . .Cocodrie!
P.S. The lake right now is also loaded with big bull drum. I fought one Thursday in the 50-pound range for almost 12 uninterrupted minutes on 12-pound-test mono filament.