The best speckled trout fishing can be had over oyster beds, but do you know how to find them?
Some days I wonder if I am Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.
It just happens that most questions I am asked on charters are often questions I had just answered the day before.
It’s almost like the day is choreographed and everything is well rehearsed. I know what’s on the customer’s mind long before he does. And when I see him lock eyes with those oyster sticks, I know exactly what’s happening next!
“Hey Cap, what are those? Who put them there?”
This experience has given me a perspective that may help you in your quest for speckled trout.
I call them “oyster sticks”. I have heard others call them “pickets”.
They can be PVC pipes, bamboo sticks or willow branches. They are used to mark things underwater.
In this case: oyster leases.
An oyster lease is a section of real estate, beneath the surface, leased to an oysterman who uses it to grow an oyster reef (or bed) to harvest oysters from.
Have you seen the monster oyster boats laden with gravel? That gravel is used as a surface for growing oysters, or “cultch”.
When eating oysters you may have seen a piece of gravel stuck to the hinge of the shell. That oyster grew on that piece of gravel.
Not every oyster stick is marking oysters. PVC pipes (or willow branches, bamboo, etc.) are used to mark other underwater points of interest.
You will eventually see workers on gas platforms marking pipes pertinent to their workplace. Just use your common sense.
An area covered by river water isn’t going to be home to an oyster reef. Any markers you see are probably not marking an oyster lease and possibly something you don’t want to hit.
They make locating oyster beds easy. We want to find oyster beds because trout love to stack there for the following reasons:
Trout aren’t the only denizens of oyster beds. Sheepshead and black drum are patrons as well.
Spend a little time in the Louisiana marsh and you will see oyster leases everywhere. So which ones are most productive?
I fish oyster beds that have tidelines running across them and especially any that have deeper water nearby. I have caught untold amounts of fish on oyster reefs that fit this description during every season of the year.
Are there exceptions? Always. Remember there is no harm in trying.
I fish oyster beds just like any other spot. I focus on good boat positioning with one exception:
Cajun anchors and Power Poles are better for the oyster lease and easier to use.
I will also drift my boat over oyster beds, especially if the bed is new to me. This way I cover more real estate and learn where trout like to hold.
Finding oyster beds is easy enough if you are on the water. But what if you’re not?
You can’t use satellite imagery because you cannot see the PVC pipes from space. They’re just too small.
Devin is the founder of Louisiana Fishing Blog and enjoys exploring new fishing spots on Louisiana's coast. He prefers using artificial lures and casting tackle, but won't hesitate to break out a popping cork when the time is right.
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