Photo by Shamus Pons
If there is a theme for fishing this month it would be "Variety." The Lake Pontchartrain basin is on fire with fish this month. September is a month when the water in the lake is often a little clearer than usual and the salinity rises enough to attract a long list of great fish.
Speckled trout is the number one game fish in Louisiana, so let’s start there. Beautiful yellow mouth specks are already finding their way around the artificial reefs on the west side of the Causeway. Fishing these reef balls is a little tricky and a depth finder is very helpful. If you can find a ball on your finder and maneuver over it, a drop shot method with any live bait is working well. The trout are also along the Causeway and trestles. The Causeway’s crossovers and the south side of the trestles are good places to start.
The Lake Borgne rigs are holding some nice trout and in good numbers. Troll around the rigs on days when the weather is cooperative. If you aren’t catching after making a circle around a rig, move onto the next one until you find a school.
Redfish are spawning and that makes the mature ones (over 27 inches) more predictable. You will find the bull reds near deep passes and the beaches near those passes. Huge schools of redfish will also start showing up in open water. For the smaller (under 27 inches) ones, shallow ponds near open and moving water will hold a lot of fish. Sight casting should be great this month.
This summer’s flounder fishing is better than usual and should continue. Flounder in Lake Pontchartrain will stay on the flats where water moves well. Places like the hospital wall will have a few flat fish and should continue to get better as we move into fall. The trestle will also have a few “doormats” waiting for your bait. One place often overlooked for great flounder is the drop off by the deep hole on the Lake Pontchartrain side of Chef Pass. As the pass opens into the lake, there is a deep hole; the west side of that hole has a drop off that often has some monstrous flounder hanging around as well as speckled trout.
If you are a sheepshead fan (and you know who you are), these “tanks of the lake” will be easy targets; the striped fish will be near structure like bulkheads, pilings, rocks, and bridges. Don’t go all the way to the bottom for these fish; usually a sliding cork that allows the bait about to fall 2/3 of the way down will work.
Triple tail are still in Lake Borgne. They have experienced a fair amount of pressure in the past weeks, but every tide seems to bring in a few. The technique is not difficult but does require a little finesse. Anything floating in the lake is a potential spot for triple tail. Ease up to crab trap floats or anything else that is floating in the Lake. Polarized sunglasses and good eyesight help. You need to spot the fish before it spots you and then cast past the fish and reel back slowly. Rig your line with a cork placed about 16 inches above the hook. These fish are delicious and tough fighters so be prepared when you set the hook.
The biggest news in Lake Pontchartrain this month is without a doubt the tarpon. Each year, The silver kings find their way into the Lake at this time, but reports indicate this may be a banner year for the elusive fish. Tarpon fishing is almost a lost art and while there are die-hards that still patiently fish for these trophies, the number of avid tarpon anglers is growing thin.
Perhaps most don’t have the patience to catch tarpon. The equipment is very specialized, and those who do chase these sport-only fish closely guard their techniques. Another reason is that most Louisiana anglers are more “food” fishermen than “sport” fishermen. We are probably the only Gulf Coast state where most, if not all, of our anglers focus more on the meat in the box, than the “one” fight on the line. We are spoiled that way.
The fishing in the Biloxi marsh and Breton Sound is fantastic, but September is normally a “back-to-school” month when charter fishing usually slows down a bit. For you, that means openings on the calendar if you want to get on some great fishing, but haven’t booked a trip yet. For me, it’s an opportunity to use the off days to go find one of those Lake Pontchartrain tarpon.
Conditions are right, the fish are hungry, and your rods and reels are getting dusty. Your window of fishing opportunity is open, so prioritize a little quality time on the water.
Get Out and Get On ’em and let me know how you do.