an insider look at some of our best
bays to fish with some of the best
local captains from around the country
WORDS BY Captain: Tommy Pellegrin
KEY SPECIES: Speckled Sea Trout, Red Drum, Sheepshead, Black Drum
Reel: Penn Fathom Low profile 200/ ROD: Carnage iii inshore CARINIII815C70
REEL: PENN LIve liner spinning 2500/ rod: battalion ii inshore BATINII612S76
Terrebonne Bay is located in Louisiana, in fact, it was ground zero for the last big hurricane to hit the gulf, hurricane Ida. as told by long-time local captain Tommy Pellegrin, although the area sustained incredible amounts of damage, the fishing surprisingly bounced back quickly.
Terrebonne Bay is a fairly large bay in Terrebonne Parish, LA. that is bordered on the south side by West Timbalier Island. In the bay, there are several ways to target the many gamefish in our inshore waters. One way I love to fish is on human-made structures called wellheads. There are numerous wellheads, or as we call them “cribbings”, which are structures used in the oil and natural gas industry. almost all of them will hold speckled trout, redfish, sheepshead, and black drum. The key to success is figuring out which cribbing is holding fish on any given day. Each cribbing is different and most will have a shell pad on the bottom that attracts fish, so the area that’s holding fish isn’t always the obvious structure that you can see. It’s important to make casts to the area around the wellhead and to pay attention to where you’re getting bit because that’s where the submerged structure is that’s holding fish. One of the drawbacks of fishing around the heavy structure is that it’s very easy to get hung up in it, so you’ll want to fish with a sliding cork rig to keep your bait safely above the structure.
When using a sliding cork rig you can adjust the length of your leader depending on the depth of water you’re fishing. . My favorite bait on this rig is a live shrimp hooked through the horn on a Berkley Fusion 19 Medium Shank EWG #4 Treble Hook.
When targeting speckled trout, you will need to concentrate your casts all around the wellhead, both close to and a good distance away from the visible structure. If the water is deep enough, you can use your side imaging to look for fish as well. When rigging up, you’ll want to set your leader length to be approximately 2/3 of the water depth, as this should put the bait right in front of the trout.
A lot of times, if you watch the cork, you will see the strike before the fish even pulls the cork down and if you’re fishing braid, which I recommend, you can feel it as well. There’s no need for a hard hook set when fishing a treble hook, so just lift the rod until you come tight and start reeling.
When targeting redfish, sheepshead and drum, all of your casts should go to the structure of the wellhead. Sheepshead tend to suspend higher than the redfish and drum, so you’ll want your leader to be half the water depth. Since the other two are bottom feeders you’ll want your leader long enough to keep your bait just off the bottom.
Now that you know all about catching fish with live shrimp, let’s talk about fishing plastics. My favorite lure is the Berkley Rattle Shrimp in Coastal Candy. I’ll fish this on a ¼-ounce jig head with a cork about 24-inches above it. The Berkley Rattle Shrimp is what we call the “Dog”. When something is lost and you want to find it call in the dog, give it a smell and send it out to find what’s lost. The rattle shrimp is Power Bait so it has a smell that the trout love. Send it out and see what it finds, usually a speckled trout.
Another productive bait is the Berkley Pro Grub in Opening Night color. I’ll also rig it on a ¼-ounce jig head. If you see the laughing gulls diving on shrimp being chased up by the trout, get ready..
My final bait is the Berkley Grass Pig in Swamp Gas color. While its a strange name for a bait color, just know that it works. Looking like a cocahoe minnow it will attract a lot of fish. Speckled trout and red fish love eating minnows and this one is perfect for the job. I use the 5-inch version on a ¼-ounce jig head mostly in the late winter and early spring when fishing for the larger trout and any time for the red fish. The water is still very cold at that time of year and the fish are slow so don’t move it too fast. The technique I like is to bottom bounce it over shell reefs and over sand. Bounce it up and let it fall, POW, there’s the bite!
to learn more about the Terrebone Bay area and to book a charter with Captain Tommy Pellgrin click this link.