Fall fishing is like a box of chocolates

RattleTraps are great lures for catching both bass and redfish during the fall. (Submitted Photo/Courtesy of John K. Flores)

By JOHN K. FLORES

Most everyone reading this column is familiar with the movie “Forest Gump,” where Tom Hank’s character says, “Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
Well, that also holds true around these parts when you’re talking about fall fishing.
The past three weekends simply have been stellar out on the water. And, not just for me, either.
While the wife and I were riding our bikes around the neighborhood this past week, one of our younger residents called out to me, “Mr. John, the fish are biting.”
It’s hard for me to walk and chew gum at the same time, so my halfhearted reply while trying to watch where I was going, was simply, “I know. I’m going in the morning.”
In church, two days later, a time when you’re supposed to turn the cares of the world stuff off and turn your God focus on, had me answering a, “Doode! You catching any fish,” question before service. It took the first two songs and some mental repenting before I got my mind right.
The fact is, yes, I’ve been catching fish. What’s more, it’s been like a box of chocolates. A couple of weekends back, I went to the marsh with bass specifically in mind. After tossing several different baits with nary a bite, I switched to plan B.
Fixing a shrimp on a simple drop rig, I tossed the whole thing in a little bayou where the falling tide was draining a pond. I no sooner had the slack out of the line when “BAMM!” Fish on.
I also brought a box of good old night crawlers. During the next two hours, I had nonstop action, catching blue catfish, channel catfish, bluegills, chinquapins (redear sunfish), largemouth bass and goggle eyes (warmouth sunfish).
Everything was biting, and it was exciting because I never knew what kind of fish was next.
The following Saturday was a repeat of the previous Saturday.
This past weekend, I decided to fish around East Cote Blanche Bay out of Burns Point. Starting out in a couple of canals, I was loaded for bear… err fish. I had a basic drop rig set up on one pole. On another pole, a popping cork, a Texas-rigged plastic worm on a third and a gold saltwater RattleTrap on a fourth pole.
In the back of one canal, there was a little drain or trenausse. There is nothing like fishing one of these locations on a falling tide in the fall.
The little gold RattleTrap was a big hit, because I immediately caught bass and several rat reds that just missed the 16-inch keeper mark.
When it appeared all I was going to catch was undersize reds, I moved out in the bay at the mouth of the canal. That’s where things got exciting, when I landed my first keeper red.
East Cote Blanche Bay is easy to fish in the fall. You can bang the banks all the way around the bay from Burns Point to Marone Point with RattleTraps, Johnson gold spoons and popping corks with plastics like H&H Cocahoe Minnows.
There’s one suggestion that I might offer when considering popping corks in shallow water: Use a ¼ ounce jig head rather than heavier 3/8 or ½ ounce. This will prevent less hang-up on shell bottoms and keep the plastic swimming more.
Across the East Cote Blanche Bay from Burns Point is the Humble Canal. This is a local hot spot that many St. Mary Parish anglers know about. I fished a drop rig with a one-ounce weight and number 2/0 hook about 50 yards from the mouth of the canal in 25 foot of water. Moreover, I immediately caught redfish.
The falling tide really pours out of the Humble. It’s not uncommon to have to change to even heavier weight, as the current often will pick up your rig.
In short, you have to match your rig to the conditions you’re fishing.
The thing about fall fishing in East Cote Blanche Bay, West Cote Blanche, Cypremort Point, Vermillion Bay and Weeks Bay is that with no Atchafalaya River high water influence and prevailing winds out of the southeast and southwest, the coastal waters are much saltier. Though I’ve never caught one, Jack Cravalle have been known to come closer inshore during this time of year.
I’d be remiss to not mention how good speckle trout fishing can be in late October, too.
Just look for the birds working and take your chances with a MirrOlure Catch 2000 top water bait, Egret Baits Vudu Shrimp under a popping cork or 3/8-ounce jig head with a Berkley Gulp Swim Mullet.
The biggest thing is to simply get out on the water and go fishing. Fall fishing is just like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’ll catch.
EDITOR’S NOTE: John K. Flores is The Daily Review’s Outdoor Writer.

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