Everybody likes a little "lagniappe"
Last updated 6/6/2023 at 9:13pm
For most of us who have spent time around the Cajun French way of life or culture the word "lagniappe" usually brings a smile to your face because it means "a little something extra". I could not think of a better word to describe how things are going in my little part of the world at the moment, it finally feels like a corner has been turned and the destination, even though it may be farther than we think, is actually beginning to come into view. After more days than I care to recount it appears that some of the old reliable patterns that we counted on for so long to catch fish are finally starting to produce again and make things resemble something normal. I am personally trying to temper my enthusiasm with caution because it could all disappear as fast as it showed up. Until that time comes lets all enjoy it.
Looking back at many years of notes it's not hard to put a plan together based on all that historical data accumulated. Several patterns jump out to be noticed right from the start. Consistent weather does nothing but increase every anglers odds because every inch of water becomes fishable, from offshore to the shallowest of marshes, and that means every angler can pursue their favorite fish like they prefer. A couple of patterns that usually grab the lions share of attention are hustling big trout off the jetty systems and near shore rigs before daylight as well as working flocks gulls picking brown shrimp in the open bay. Both of these patterns are paying big dividends right now and that should do nothing but get better as we get deeper into the summer months. The pre dawn topwater bite is one that no angler should miss down on the rocks, it can be absolutely epic in every sense from numbers of fish to the size of some these brutes, it's impressive. Topwater plugs and swim baits rule the roost down there so be prepared to do battle when you arrive.
The open water program of chasing the flocks of feeding gulls is a bit less technical but just as much fun and action packed. A vast assortment of baits work under these conditions from topwater plugs to soft plastics and virtually everything in between, it's really your preference when the fish are feeding. Perhaps the most consistent producer under these circumstances is a rattling cork and plastic shrimp imitation rigged on a 2 foot leader with 1/4 ounce jig head. The rattling cork is hands down the great equalizer under the birds because it gives you all the attraction you could ask for and just flat out catches fish for everyone from a pro to a novice. My personal favorite corks are the ones made by 4 Horsemen, they have a unique sound that really seem to work well, especially on redfish. Besides the fact that the rattling cork just works it's always fun to see that cork go under, a very basic technique that we all have enjoyed at one time or another in our fishing career.
If there is any draw back to the summer months and the fishing that goes with them it's the fact the shallow water fish in the marshes become much more fragile. The water temps in the back lakes and ponds get so high that fish get somewhat lethargic and less aggressive. The high temps and dying grass also deplete oxygen so these fish really need to be cared for, especially when you release them. Please take time to show some respect to these fish and revive them properly, they deserve that opportunity. Now speaking of respect, I have a difficult time understanding people that ignore the rules or lack the common courtesy to treat the shallow water areas with a little regard. Running boats through areas that are classified as "no motor" while destroying grass and harassing fish at the same time is inexcusable. Just because you have a boat that will run in a couple of inches of water doesn't mean you have to do it, especially at the expense of the habitat.
Now earlier we mentioned "lagniappe" and the fact that it meant "a little something extra". As a guide, or just people for that matter, we tend to get in ruts and stay there for periods of time until something snaps us out of that and we either get refocused or find something to renew our enthusiasm. Easily one of the things that I consider lagniappe is when I get to help new anglers learn more and catch more fish. So many of the things we take for granted every day as a "ho hum" experience are really big occasions for some young or novice anglers. I enjoy talking fishing with young anglers and helping them to understand some of the methods so they can be successful. Many times after sharing a few tips or techniques I'll get a text with some pictures from a young angler or their parent showing off their catch and saying how excited they are to keep getting better. Few things are more satisfying than helping others to enjoy something that you care about and seeing them succeed as a result of just sharing some knowledge with them. Each and every time this happens I make it a point to stop and take things in, appreciate the opportunities, and be thankful for the experiences. Get out and enjoy the great conditions and be sure when possible to bring a kid fishing.