July 31, 2017

Why Anglers Fail To Catch Speckled Trout On Lake Pontchartrain Bridges


This blog post reveals the painfully obvious reasons why catching fish on Lake Pontchartrain bridges isn't nearly as easy as catching fish in the marsh.


Lake Pontchartrain Bridges are Tough to Fish

Our inshore waters are fairly uniform across Louisiana's coast.

It's all flat and there are no overhead obstructions impeding an angler's cast, such as trees or low-hanging wires.

Because of this, we become comfortable casting in one way: an overhead cast.

An overhead cast is easy to execute. Best of all, it enables unskilled anglers to put a lot of power into their cast.

But this technique is no good when fishing Lake Pontchartrain bridges.

Many anglers mistakenly believe they are good at fishing until they go to the spring and fall runs in Lake Pontchartrain...and are proven otherwise.

What's the Difference to Anglers?

People say it's the snags you lose your lures on. Others believe "Lake P" speckled trout are a "different breed", being finicky and harder to catch.

I don't agree with this.

Snags exist across Louisiana's inshore waters. We handle all of them the same.

I'm pretty sure the specks feeding on Lake Pontchartrain bridges are like any other speckled trout, especially since we know the majority of them leave the lake to spawn with "ordinary" trout, sharing their genetic material to create new stock.

I believe the real difficulty anglers face is the difference between geometries of water at Lake Pontchartrain bridges and the marsh.

I am telling you from experience that an angler not possessing this knowledge will have a tough time.

What is this "geometry of water"?

It's the distance between these things in the water into which you are casting your lure:

  • you, the angler
  • the fish
  • water depth
  • water speed (or current)
  • weight selection

Geometry of Water When Fishing in the Marsh

You simply cannot cast to where you think trout are eating.

Trout feed when the water is moving, and this moving water acts upon our sinking lures, moving them horizontally.

It does this in the same way wind moves a rising balloon.

To compensate for the current, you have to cast upstream of the trout.

In the marsh you have lots of room to make this big, overhead cast ahead of speckled trout.

This gives the lure plenty of horizontal distance to get down to the fish.

This view from above is a good example.

NOTE: The scenarios here are for trout feeding at the bottom of deep water, usually 10ft or more. This is not for trout feeding at the water's surface.

The same example, but this time viewing it sideways.

Click to Enlarge

Geometry of Water When Fishing Lake Pontchartrain Bridges

You do not have the luxury of a long "runway" when fishing Lake Pontchartrain bridges.

The "runway" for the lure to reach the fish is much shorter, because the bridge impedes a long-distance, overhead cast.

With a shorter runway the lure flies over and past speckled trout.

The trout will never see the lure. If they can't see it, they cannot possibly bite it!

lake pontchartrain bridges

In the marsh, your lure has plenty of horizontal distance to descend the vertical distance to biting fish.

On Lake Pontchartrain bridges, your lure has far less horizontal distance to cover the same vertical distance.

Trestles Bridge Clearance

How do we adapt to this short runway?

We adapt by using the tackle, skills and knowledge of deepwater jigging.

Deepwater jigging is what Chas Champagne talks about in Episode 63 of Inshore Interviews. Few are better at it than him, so be sure to listen to the advice he offers!

You'll discover the good ol' spinning reel and popping cork need to be put away and replaced with baitcasting tackle.

Anyways, I cover these in three blog posts, and you can read the first one here.

Tight lines, y'all!


Did you find the knowledge in this article to be useful? If so, consider joining my newsletter to be notified when more like it publish. 

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a veteran of the Iraq War and former fishing guide. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.

You may also like

South Shore Bait & Marina

South Shore Bait & Marina
  • Devin, for a couple of years now, I thought that you should have your own local TV persona like Frank Davis had until he passed, but it is apparent that you aren’t just an entertaining fisherman, you are the ultimate in fishing knowledge. You should have your own national television show dedicated to educating today’s fisherman. Personally, I believe that you have already started that journey. I hope one of the big networks realizes what a valuable asset you would be to them. See you on our Birthday, November 10th at Luke’s Restaurant.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    Never Miss Practical Fishing Tips & Tricks for Louisiana's Coast