Topwater Bite Still Going Strong
The key to consistently catching big fish on topwater baits is to avoid the tempatation to throw something else—something easier. Wednesday at Raccoon Island and points west, I managed to do just that, as did Capt. Howard Cuevas of Xpectations Guide Service out of Dulac. Cuevas is undoubtedly one of the best hard-bait fishermen in Louisiana. If he’s not throwing a big topwater bait, he’s tossing a Bomber Long-A, a hard plastic jerk bait that dives and darts just below the surface.
Cuevas walks the dog with a topwater or chunks the Long-A all day long and year round with great success regardless of water color or depth, defying the notions that topwaters only work in clear, calm, shallow water and before 9 a.m.
Joining us on the trip were photographer John Balance from The Advocate and Paradise Louisiana cameraman Gary Krouse. At the end of the day, between Coon Point and Enstar, a large, abandoned rig just west of Raccoon Island, we had 60 beautiful trout all between 16-22 inches. The trout wanted the topwaters most of the morning, even blowing up on the new Heddon Chug’N Spook well past 10 a.m. in a foot-plus chop in 14 feet of water!
While Cuevas and I kept chunking the big topwaters, the other two avid fishermen free-lined live croakers around the platform and added some beautiful trout to the box.
I threw a bone-colored Chug’N Spook that I doctored a bit with some black Marks-a-lot and a raid of my wife’s red fingernail polish. I find that a bit of red on the throat of any topwater bait makes it look more like the distressed mullet that bait is designed to imitate. We started on the west end of Raccoon Island walking the Spooks through mullet and pogey schools in 2 feet of water or less before making the short hop to the rig about a mile away.
The intent of the trip was to document for Paradise Louisiana the importance of our coast’s barrier islands as first-lines of defense against storms, habitat for brown pelicans and other birds and as vital fisheries habitat. I also wanted to get some photos specifically of Raccoon Island for an upcoming article in Louisiana Sportsman about successful coastal-restoration projects and their imporatance to hunters and fishermen.
Raccoon Island is one of the few relatively stable islands along our coast. It is growing each year that it is not ripped apart by hurricanes. One of the primary reasons for that was an effort to add a handful of rock breakwaters to the east end of the island back in 1997. At the relatively low cost of about $2 million, those segmented breakwaters have helped trap migrating sediment in the Terrebonne Basin and helped the island grow in size.
I write that with the caveat that adding rocks to barrier islands, while popular with politcians and great as fishing reefs, is not a wholesale solution to solving Louisiana’s barrier-island loss problem. One only has to look at East Timbalier Island, which probably has more rock on it than all other barrier islands in the state combined and has still washed away almost completely, to know rocks don’t always work. In the case of Raccoon Island, they have helped. And Raccoon’s rocks and sandbars hold a lot of very nice speckled trout and some giant redfish.
Fishing at Raccoon and Enstar should be fantastic through the end of September as long as weather and dirty water don’t limit access.
Cross-posted from Laspecks.com, a new website aimed at helping Louisiana anglers catch more speckled trout.