March 30, 2010 at 5:45pm
WHAT TO EXPECT - Gulf Surf Fishing
After 15 years of trying, I have landed several beastly Redfish and Blackdrum, tasty puppy drum, speckled trout, flounder, sheepshead and a jack crevalle and pompano in the surf of Grand Isle beach.
The way to catch fish in the surf include the following:
1.) Check the tides, weather and wind every day the week before you go and up until you leave. I live in New Orleans, so it takes me 2 hours in my truck to Grand Isle State Park.
2.) Either decide to bring a tent (on a less windy trip, which, by the way, is NOT good for surf fishing the Gulf; when the water flattens and no waves break, the sharks, dolphins and birds take precedence over your clear 'fishing grounds') OR you can decide to rent a seashore cabin for cheap. I've slept in my car before, but I don't recommend it. Mosquitos are a huge problem at night and the DEET stinks up the bait you handle, so try not to use it.
3.) Your bait varies with the conditions and what your target is. If you fish a live shrimp, buy them before you reach cutoff or you will be paying a premium around the beach. a medium sized live white shrimp is the BEST most VERSATILE bait you can use. In the surf, you can put it on the bottom with a shot weight on a winder day, or put a cork on a calmer day. Regardless, the key here is to keep the shrimp alive and be careful not to loose your bait well tied to you in the surf! Hook the shrimp through the head ABOVE the black spot, or, do the same for live minnows. I also have had success with crab and cut bait at night on the bottom. If you go for speckled trout, use a traditional spec rig, experiment with the jig head and plastic, and bait the hook with a piece of dead shrimp. When they are biting, switch to dead shrimp, but otherwise, dead bait usually attracts trash like hard heads, rays, and croaker or white trout, all of which make great bait, but not when you are alone in the surf with a nothing but a fish grappler.
4.) Be well rigged. You don't need a big rod or reel if you plan on going waist deep. I recommend 15+ lb test (MONO - braided will get you in trouble here...trust me.)Bring everything you need to fish for as long as you plan on being in the water. The key is to work up and down the ENTIRE beach at a waist-deep level. Sometimes, I go deeper to cast a line and walk it back, this is where a bigger rig will come in handy but active fishing is what you need to focus on. I fish one end of Grand Isle State Park because they have new bathroom and camping facilities built after Katrina ($2 dollars a day gets you on the pier too - another spot where I caught a 60 in redfish at 2:00 am.)I try to work the exposed jetties (even climbing on them) and the wooden buoy pilings where the natural reefs are home to a plethora of bait fish and keepers alike.
5.) Have fun. Be safe. Let me know if I can offer any more advice. Basically, fish live shrimp waist deep wherever you feel lucky. It's a numbers game between you and the monsters. Trust me, they are there...everything that's large rolls in and out over night so your big rig will really come in handy. Be careful because I have had a 5 ft bullshark bump into my bait bucket and swim away after I punched it's nose with my "safety brass knuckle paperweight." Bring scentless everything, and I usually don't shore before until I'm home.
In my 40 years of fishing grand isle surf and back bay. you have got the bait right but i'll have to disagree w/ you on a few points .
1. Most of my best trips have come w/ flat calm or very slight ripple surf. Top water early and late no matter the tide.
2. there are no cheap cabins on grand isle post katrina.
3 . unless you can't get a bite w/ a cork in the surf do not bottom fish . Incresases your catch of hard heads , gaff tops and sting rays . I fish a cork even in 2 ' surf.
4. been fishing power pro braid in the surf for at least 5 years and never had a problem.
5.It is against park rules to climb on the jetty, You can be kicked out the park on a second warning from the ranger.
Now if you are talking about the breakwaters (rocks in front of the island in the surf) yes you can climbv on them .But, if you fall and get hurt the park is not responsible and is not going to help get you back to shore ,Other than calling the coasties.
Sounds more like you are night fishing for the big boys but that is a totally differnt thing than surf fishing during the day for trout.
Night fishing is better on the west end behind bridgeside in the pass.