Here are some hot baits for hot summer fishing
By JOHN K. FLORES
My sons popping cork took a vicious dive beneath the Vermilion Bay water for the fourth time in as many casts. His first cast had produced a decent 22-inch redfish, the second a white trout and the third a good speckled trout. And now he was working another speck towards the boat.
Taking the speck off the line and looking at his bait, the fish had ripped the tail off his Category 5 Suicide Croaker. Not wanting to change baits in the midst of such action, he threw it back where immediately another trout hit it.
“See, Pops — no tail necessary,” my son said.
I met Richie Bulot, owner and operator of Category 5 Fishing Lures at a conference last summer. Bulot handed me a few sample packs of the company’s Suicide Croakers and encouraged me to give them a try the first chance I got.
That first chance came the next weekend following the conference. Bulot’s Suicide Croaker mimics the kill fish minnow found in most coastal waters around the world.
Bulot’s croaker clearly was the real deal, just as he said, because the 4-inch textured soft plastic proved irresistible. We caught both reds and specks on the Cat-5 bait fixed to a 3/8 jig head underneath a popping cork.
The bait has a lifelike body and paddle tail that, according to Bulot, gives it a very “lively” action when fished as a swim-bait, jerk bait or on a spinner blade. The bait can also be fished off the bottom.
My son and I fished the Suicide Croaker in the Tiger Bait color, but the croakers also are available in Cat 5’s natural, Lu-Lu Shadow, Alligator Pear, Eclipse, Candy, Black Tie, Midnight Blue, Ghost and Golden Fire colors.
When rigging the Cat 5 Croakers for fishing under their popping cork, anglers should use about 32 inches of leader. H&H conical corks are best, but the baits will work under whatever anglers are comfortable with and accustomed to throwing.
Another bait making a lot of noise in coastal waters is Egret Baits “VuDu Shrimp.” The bait is pre-rigged on a 3/16-ounce jig head and also can be fished under a popping cork but also bounced slow off the bottom. The VuDu shrimp is a speckled trout killer and the waters of Vermilion Bay this summer should be a perfect place to wet these new Egret baits.
The bait has a natural action and in certain colors when tossed into a bucket of shrimp, it’s hard to distinguish VuDu shrimp from the real thing. The baits come two per pack and aren’t cheap. But they are durable and built to last.
Both of these baits, the Category 5 Suicide Croakers and the Egret Bait VuDu Shrimp, should be fished using proven methods everyone employs during summer conditions.
Once the Atchafalaya River starts to fall as summer begins in late June, the fresh river water becomes less of an influence on West Cote Blanche, Weeks and Vermilion bays. With mild southeast and southwest winds, often some of the best days fishing are during the dog days of summer, when the birds start working these bays.
Quite often, like all across coastal Louisiana, fishing beneath the birds it’s common to catch trout after trout as a result of a feeding frenzy. The key when this occurs is keep baits in the water. It’s fun to admire a nice fish, but when the bite is on, it’s on. What’s more, the bite shuts down when the fish move as quick as it starts.
One of the things trout anglers will find in Vermilion Bay is quite often you’ll catch white trout right along with speckled trout. When you’re catching more white trout than speckled trout, one of the tricks is getting a little deeper for the specks. By changing up and fishing without a cork using either a 3/8-ounce or ½-inch jig and getting a little deeper, it may produce more speckled trout while these fish are in frenzy.
Both of these baits will catch flounder, too. Vermilion and Weeks bays are known flounder waters. Bett’s Flounder Fanatic jig is ideal for bottom fishing flounder.
Both Category 5 Suicide Croakers and Egret Baits VuDu Shrimp can be affixed to the Flounder Fanatic and will entice flounder to bite.