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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. Erosion.

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 Fishing Charters.


Article in October 2003 issue of Louisiana Sportsman magazine.


         Anglers cashing in on Lafitte trout run


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


Happy Customers
4 Buddies loving there day on the water with Capt. EJ


  The kids love it!!



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