HOPEDALE, La. - East winds a little stronger than wanted was the only thing that kept Thursday from being the perfect fishing day.

The passage of that late frontal system Wednesday eveningbrought clear skies, cool temperatures and low humidity.

A good tide range had the fish feeding in the Hopedale area.

The first stop Captain Jonathan Sanchez, photographer Tom Moore, Jim McCutcheon and I made was a mere five minutes form the Breton Sound Marina launch.

The rock dam across the MRGO at Bayou La Loutre turned out to be the only stop we needed.

We were armed with dead shrimp and by the right set of circumstances (don't ask) some live shrimp and croakers.

A couple of trout and a redfish were caught on plastics on a jighead but the majority of the speckled trout up to 5 pounds, some borderline bull red fish, two flounder and a sheepshead all came on Carolina rigs.

The keys to our success were two fold. First if you fish the dam you have to be patient. The fish move in and out giving brief moments of non-stop action but then there are long periods in between where the bite stops. Secondly, you must use very light sinkers on your Carolina rig to keep from getting hung up in the rocks. Even at that, live bait, especially croakers, will head straight for the nearest rock crevice to avoid being swallowed by the predator fish. Be prepared to replace sinkers, leaders and hooks often so bring plenty of tackle.

You will also be fishing with company. Because of its close proximity to the launch, be prepared to share the water with a wide variety of boats including everything from the largest bay boats to the smallest kayak. Common fishing courtesy is absolutely required.

If you want to avoid the crowd you might try fishing the opposite side, especially if the waters flowing through that side.

Sanchez says he finds whatever side has the water flowing through it, is the most productive - probably the result of bait being pulled out of the rocks into open water.

Getting to that other side can be tricky whether you go either through the spoil bank canal or the opposite side of Bayou Loutre. To simplify the trip Standard mapping has a GPS routing system that will guide boaters through he quickest, safest route. They are available at the Breton Sound Marina.

Hook 'Em Hard!


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