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Maybe you don’t really have a plan when you go fishing, you just go to where you have caught fish or where you think there will be a good bite. Maybe you just want to relax and not worry about anything on your fishing trip. But maybe you are different and have an addiction to catching speckled trout and redfish. If this is you, then continue reading.
There is a strategy to multiply your successes. At the Louisiana Fishing Blog we are hardcore inshore anglers who identify with a culture of Fishing Smarter. To Fish Smarter means paying attention to your surroundings and learning from fishing trips. There is a strategy we developed called the “Louisiana Hustle.” It is named because it was developed in Louisiana, where the best inshore fishing in the world resides. But more importantly, this technique is identified as a hustle because that is what we do when we are looking for specks and reds. The conventional wisdom of sitting in one spot and being patient does not apply here! Read on and we will show you how.
The Louisiana Hustle is a means to reduce odds of failure and increase chances of success. The idea here is to cover as much water as possible in the shortest amount of time in order to find where the fish are biting at. On any given fishing trip we will have a multitude of fishing spots lined up for the day and we will hit all of them up until we find an excellent bite. These spots are all co-located in the same area and we generally give each spot about five minutes of fishing time. The actions we take at each spot are also an important part of the Louisiana Hustle.
Proper execution of the Louisiana Hustle almost looks something like a Chinese fire drill. As we pull up to the spot, the captain is gauging where to position the boat. Not a second later the boat is positioned lines start being cast out. Different lures and presentations are being thrown if there is more than one angler in the boat. This is done so we can find what the fish want and how they want it.
The top and bottom of the water column should be fished and casts should be made in every direction. An Inshore Rig is excellent tackle for doing this because it is designed to fish the entire water column. It is important the correct weight is used so the bait reaches the bottom.
In about five minutes the determination is made to stay or leave. Obviously if we are catching the kind of fish we want we will stay. If nothing happened or we caught undesirable fish we leave. Leaving is the most important part of this strategy. If the boat was anchored off using a Danforth anchor or rig hook the captain is not left to get it by himself. The Louisiana Hustle is a team effort and one of the other anglers will get it while he mans the helm. Everybody in the boat knows it is coming so they secure their rod and sit down as the boat gets on plane. There is no screwing around, there is no wasting time.
The Louisiana Hustle does not have to be choreographed but it will appear that way once you and your fishing partners get used to it. Fishing can be a team effort and a well-oiled machine runs the best. However, it is important to note you should not get stressed over moving fast. Some of us are guilty of this. Remember that you are still fishing and you should enjoy doing so! The key component is not moving fast so much as it is leaving when it is clear there are no fish so you can go somewhere else there are.
You don’t want to run ten miles between spots. That is bad execution of this technique. If your line isn’t in the water, you can’t catch fish. And when that boat is blasting full throttle down the bayou, your line isn’t in the water! Makes sense right?
Anyone who has spent time on Louisiana Fishing Blog knows we use Internet resources to further our understanding of fish behavior. One of those resources is Google Earth, a free mapping program used to view satellite imagery and create routes and waypoints. In fact, we have an article about making your own custom GPS routes and it serves as a primer for this. You should go over it if you have not already.
Go ahead and open Google Earth. We will use some of our old summer fishing spots and the route we ran as an example. This is waaaay before we started Fishing Smarter, so try not to laugh so hard. In this example we are fishing in Hopedale, Louisiana and are launching out of Breton Sound Marina.
As you can see, that route is a total of 40.4 miles for only five fishing spots. Several of them are pretty close to one another and “on the way”, but consider that you are running a distance-to-spot ratio of 8.08 miles to one spot or 8.08:1. So you’re adding roughly 14 minutes to each run between spots. Additionally, most boats that fish the same area get about 2.5 miles to the gallon, some more or less. With gas not being cheap, you’re paying more more what you must to go to the next spot. So what can you do? There are a couple things:
First off, you can find more spots along your route. This requires scouting and is outside the scope of this article. Refer to Scouting: Finding Reefs & Eroded Points and Scouting: Locating Tidelines that Hold Fish once you are done reading this article. You want to find more fishing spots. It can be grueling, but will be worth it.
Secondly, you can start fishing somewhere closer to the launch. This will also require scouting, but again, it is worth it. We are telling you the best feeling in the world is finding a new fishing spot on your own. We prefer that over catching at someone else’s spot!
So we took these two things into consideration and began running a shorter route after extensively developing the Bayou Biloxi marsh. Granted, the route you see below is geared towards fall fishing, but the same principles apply.
You can see a lot more spots that are closer to each other, despite the route terminating at 33.2 miles. It ends in Biloxi Lagoon, so know that you would still have to drive back to Breton Sound Marina, which would be an additional 20 miles. So you are running 53 miles round-trip and have 20 fishing spots to hit on the way. We’re looking at a distance-to-spot ratio of 2.65:1. This is way better than what we had before! Yes, it’s longer than the previous route, but you are fishing more water and putting less run time between fishing spots. Especially if you are consistently catching good boxes of fish in this area, the run is worth it. The biggest problem is getting there.
From Breton Sound Marina to the mouth of Stump Lagoon it is roughly 12 miles. That’s a long run with few places to fish along the way. So we’re talking 24 of those miles there are few fishing spots worth stopping for. Now, as stated before, if you are consistently killing fish that whole time then it is worth the trip. But what if you can hone the fishing trip in such a manner that you are getting to your initial fishing spots faster? What if you could take those 24 miles and put them to good use? Know that if you did you would be saving a lot more money on gas and catching a lot more fish.
Be creative, look at Google Earth and see what you can put together. You can stop off in Bayou St. Malo and pick up some fish there before continuing on to the Biloxi Marsh. Change the route to running up the shoreline of Lake Borgne and stopping to fish Bayou Grande, Lake Borgne shell beaches and more on your way to the Biloxi marsh.
Take this method, the Louisiana Hustle, and use it to Fish Smarter. It is a great tool to have in the toolbox. Imagine if you could scoop up millions of gallons of water in a giant bucket. The more water you scooped up, the more fish you would have in your bucket. Makes sense, right? Evaluate how quickly you fish a spot, identify what can be improved in your route and then set out to fix those things. Above all, use the time and patience necessary to get this accomplished. And if this helps you catch more then let us know on Louisiana Fishing Reports!
The Louisiana Hustle is a great way to effectively cover water and catch more fish, but it’s only one way. In Inshore Fishing 101 I teach a lot more. Actually, it’s the entire package. In Inshore Fishing 101 I cover details in more depth to include, but not limited to:
You can learn more about this course and all of the cool things that come with it (like instructor support) by hitting the button below!
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