If the overall saltwater fishing scene busts loose like the freshwater fishing did a little more than a month ago when the proverbial plug got pulled in the Atchafalaya Basin, bait shops and fishing tackle stores big and small will be hard-pressed to keep up.
The speckled trout, redfish, croaker and flounder fishing should get better and better this month because the Atchafalaya River dropped like a rock below 10.0-feet at Butte La Rose. The waters in and around Vermilion Bay undoubtedly will get saltier and saltier without the freshwater intrusion from the Wax Lake Outlet.
We’ll get a better idea just how good the redfishing gets in the dog days of summer with improving water conditions when the Southcentral Fishing Association fishes the SFA Classic on Aug. 15. The area in and around Marsh Island certainly will come into play, perhaps more than the 2020 SFA Angler(s) of the Year’s hotspot in Carencro Lake on the east side of Four League Bay. New Iberian Keith Delahoussaye made that long boat ride from Cypremort Point to the east side of Four League Bay in Quinten Comeaux’s boat three times this season and won three tournaments.
As for the nation’s last great overflow swamp, it has been on fire as far as sac-a-lait and bream fishing success up and down this side of the river from Catahoula to Verdunville. Beau Bayou and that little hotspot in Grevemberg (18 boats were in there recently) have been the biggest producers lately following the torrid run on sac-a-lait and bass a few weeks ago in Crew Boat Chute.
The Atchafalaya River has settled in around the mid-6-foot range for a little more than a week but is forecast to fall a little more after today and be just above 6-feet on Wednesday, the day of the 10th Wednesday Night Hawg Fights Bass Tournament Series contest of the year out of Bayou Benoit Boat Landing.
If you’ve been to some bait shops and/or fishing tackle stores, you’ve seen how the public’s reaction to coronavirus pandemic restrictions has made a huge impact. Folks are fishing, more folks than ever in the Sportsman’s Paradise based on resident fishing license sales that increased three straight months from 28,800 (15,612 for saltwater) in March to 51,539 in May, the latter a 35-percent increase over May 2019. There were 39,702 fishing licenses (21,000 for saltwater) sold in April.
Those freshwater and saltwater anglers have been making a run on the shelves and racks for several months across Louisiana. Reports are that some of the bigger stores haven’t been able to keep up with the demand.
The bait shop at Iberia Outboard & Marine on the service road along U.S. has been extra, extra busy, Crystal told a shopper Friday morning. And the Sonniers are supplying fishermen and hungry bream with all the crickets they want, she said, happily and proudly. Apparently, bream fishing is on fire in the Atchafalaya Basin.
Freshwater and saltwater fishing ought to be scorching hot August, just like the weather. Good luck on the water. Be safe.
DON SHOOPMAN is outdoors editor of The Daily Iberian.