Why Anglers Fail in Lake Pontchartrain When They Catch Everywhere Else | Louisiana Fishing Blog
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Why Anglers Fail in Lake Pontchartrain When They Catch Everywhere Else

These bridges humble many anglers. This is why.

Lake Pontchartrain’s 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 the bridges of Lake Pontchartrain.

Many anglers mistakenly believe they are good at fishing. Then 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 in Lake Pontchartrain are like any other specks, 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 P bridges and the marsh.

It’s obvious an angler not possessing this knowledge will have a tough time.

What is this “geometry of water”?

I am merely referring to the distances between these things:

  • the angler
  • the fish
  • water depth
  • water speed (aka 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.


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.

Click to Enlarge

The same example, but this time viewing it sideways.

Geometry of Water When Fishing Bridges

You do not have the luxury of a long “runway” when fishing bridges, especially the ones in Lake Pontchartrain.

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.

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

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

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 things in three upcoming articles. You can read the first one here.

And one last thing, if you have questions or comments, please post them below.

Tight lines, y’all!

About the Author Devin Denman

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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