louisiana fishing and new orleans fishing
Outside with the MarshManiac -
No Defeat in Lafitte!
June 13, 2005
Here I was enroute to the
land of my defeat….Lafitte. It was an early spring Saturday morning and
I have to admit, as much as I love to fish, I was not in the mood. My
week earlier was not one for the record books, heat and rain, rain and
heat with some nice south Louisiana summer humidity thrown in. The mix
was too much and all I wanted to do was lay in my cool bed all morning
alternating between snoozing and cups of CDM.
And to fish in LAFITTE no less. Let me explain….
I have fished all over Louisiana both fresh and salt. Marsh, bay,
swamp…you name it, I’ve done it and I’ve caught fish everywhere. Except
Lafitte, that is. I don’t know whether it is the pirate Jean Lafitte’s
curse or the fact that every time I have been there (including this
time) an out-of-place cold front passed the night before. All I knew is,
to me, LAFITTE meant DEFEAT.
I had met Captain Kevin Plaisance a few weeks prior. Kevin’s full-time
occupation is a computer systems administrator for Amedisys in Baton
Rouge but he is back home in Lafitte almost every weekend taking eager
fishermen out exploring the marsh south of Lafitte. “I’ve been guiding
since I was able to be licensed and before that I was a deck hand for
many years,” said Captain Kevin.
Kevin’s dad, Captain EJ Plaisance, owner of Jean Lafitte Fishing
Charters, is one the Grand Old Men of Louisiana charter fishing. Kevin
adds, “He’s been charter fishing these waters for the past 30 years,
there aren’t many folks that know the waters and fishing this area like
him.” In our conversation I found out that Captain EJ runs 5 boats
directly from Jean Lafitte but is affiliated with some of the other top
guide services in Lafitte. “We all trade trips, we cooperate and fish
trips for each other,” noted Kevin. Jean Lafitte Charters is one of
those guide services that truly live for their customers. Last year,
Captain EJ fished well over 300 days….and when he had a day off – he
went fishing. It is easy to see that it’s in his blood and was passed
down to Captain Kevin.
Kevin had invited me down for a quick trip and even though the
above-listed conditions existed, I decided to gamble. I met Kevin and
impartial fisherman, HuntnFish member, Gary Skeen, at Cochara’s Marina,
just before the hump bridge in Lafitte. After stowing my normal weapons,
the BillyStix custom Rod with the Calcutta, we took off down Dupre Cut
in Kevin’s 22 foot Bay Stealth pushed by a 200 hp Yamaha. We only had a
couple of hours of moving tide so getting to the fishing area and
finding some fish quickly was important. “It’s tough to catch on a slack
tide but we’ll find ‘em,” assured Kevin. After a short, speedy boat ride
we pulled up to the Manilla Village area (29 25.72/89 59.08) and began
fishing the shoreline where Dupre Cut opens up. Within a few minutes, we
had a few keeper specks in the igloo. “Gotta keep moving until we find
them,” He chanted. And move we did! Jean Lafitte Charters does not just
anchor up on a point and wait for the fish to come to them; they drop
trolling motor and follow their tried and true pattern to find where the
fish are located. In the distance, I could see the other 4 boats from
the service maneuvering around Manilla Village, all catching speckled
trout. Their Seapro, Skeeter, Bay Stealth and Avenger hulls were loaded
with anglers whooping every time they netted a fish.
We moved father towards Barataria Bay, fishing around lonesome marsh
islands. They were lonesome for marsh, not for fishermen. This highly
productive area fills up quickly on weekends. We continued to catch
specks but mine seemed to be rather small. Gary was having luck with
soft plastic across the bottom and Kevin, on the bow was using soft
plastic under a cork. Upon seeing my frustration with only catching
“cigars” Kevin schooled me. “When you are catching those 11 ¾ inchers,
fish a little deeper,” he taught, “the smaller fish always run around
and eat what they can but he bigger specks just sit back and eat the
bait that comes to them.”
Adjustment made fish in ice chest.
With only an hour of tide left, our captain decided to make a move to
get some bigger trout. We moved to an area called “3 Pilings”, so called
because of the three pilings sticking up in the middle of the bayou.
The Lafitte area has been decimated by Louisiana’s disappearing marsh
and it takes a lot of time on the water to keep up with the
ever-changing fish patterns.
Around the “3 Pilings” we caught some nicer specks though they were few
and far between. I even found out that Redbone’s Speculizer is a killer
lure for hard head catfish.
Enough specks….tide is dead, REDFISH TIME!
I had caught a few redfish out of Lafitte during tournaments but, like
with the specks, I had never had the numbers as I had in other areas.
Into Bay Round we flew….Bay Round? I asked. A little too much fresh
water for reds, eh? Again I was schooled. Kevin explained that even
though this area held some bass, it was noted for the quality and
quantity of redfish. “Trust me,” he explained, “We’ve won a few bucks in
the redfish tournaments fishing this water.” My trust was well-placed.
The lure of choice for Jean Lafitte Charters is a simple, traditional
spinner bait. "Just fish the shoreline and concentrate on the points,"
coached Kevin. Gary, fishing the rear deck admitted that he had never
used the spinner on redfish. He quickly found out the allure of using
this lure as a tough redfish in a foot of water running down a spinner
bait is quite exciting and the fight, wooooo the fight! I fought one
bull that after a tough 10 minute fight bent the hook and gave me a
swish of the tail…and he was my “picture” fish for this article!
After enough redfish action, I cried uncle…I’d had enough and seen
enough. I was convinced; Jean Lafitte’s and all the other curses had
been broken for me thanks to Captain Kevin Plaisance and Jean Lafitte
Article in October 2003 issue of Louisiana Sportsman
Anglers cashing in on Lafitte trout run
BY JOHN MCQUEEN
You don't ever have to concern yourself with Capt. E.J.
Plaisance sitting on a spot, waiting for the fish to come to him. Unless
he's got a good number of fish for his customers to work, the owner of
Jean Lafitte Fishing Charters (504 689-4120) leans heavily on bow
mounted propulsion to find fish.
"I call it hunting more than fishing. I get on that
trolling motor," said Plaisance.
These tactics are what's necessary according to
Plaisance as the speckled trout are beginning their hard migration into
the interior marshes, but remain scattered and the possibility of
catching a whole bunch in a location is day to day at best.
"The trout have been scattered. It's been a dozen here,
six or seven there and so on," said Plaisance.
Along with not being concentrated in schools, Plaisance
says that the fish are being found in a wide variety of locations around
the Lafitte area. Covering lots of water is important not only in the
sense of keeping baits wet, but also moving from location to location as
Plaisance has found that no one area has been holding concentrations one
can sit on until a limit is reached.
"When you've got the right conditions, Lake Salvador has
been really good (for a lot of fish)," said Plaisance. "But for the most
part, you want to jump around. A ten to fifteen minute boat ride from
the marina is all you need in most any direction.
"That's a lot better than this summer, when we were
having to run to the beach every day. And even that was a gamble. Some
days you'd catch forty and some days you'd catch four."
Dwight Hinton of C-Way Marina echoed much what Plaisance
talks about. The trout have definitely moved in - seemingly overnight -
in a wide variety of location surrounding Lafitte.
"Trout are hitting live shrimp - which we have plenty -
and artificials all over the place," said Hinton. "Redfish are no
problem on dead shrimp under a cork."
Hinton was excited at the prospect of the return of one
of the most popular areas in the region. Last year was a very down year
for what is known as "The Pen", but Plaisance and Hinton report that
there have already been significant catches of trout in the large body
of open water located just a few minutes from most any jumping off spot
in the area.
"It had an off year last year, for sure," said Hinton.
"I'm not sure what happened, but this year has been good already,
especially off of the grass bed on the southeast side."
"Redfish have been good along the shore and the trout
have been out further. Drifting the crab traps out in the middle has
been good as well." -Normally a dedicated tightliner, Plaisance says
that "The Pen" is one place that he's found more success fishing a cork.
"This time of year, I use the smoke H & H Cocahoe with a
chartreuse tail almost exclusively. I'll throw it with a ¼ oz. unpainted
jighead without a cork, but I will use a small snap cork with a three
inch glow beetle in (the Pen).
"I've also found that a cork will work better later in
the day than early morning or late afternoon."
For anglers fishing the Lafitte area, Plaisance had one
last bit of advice that everybody will be glad to hear: keep it close.
"There are a whole lot of fish between Turtle ay and The
Pen. You don't need to go any further than that."
Gorgeous SE Louisiana Redfish
4 Buddies loving there day on the water with Capt. EJ
The kids love it!!
The Famous Louisiana Delta
Inland fishing from Lafitte to the Gulf of Mexico. Enjoy the
wetlands and wildlife that makes the Louisiana culture what it is today.
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