On Road - Off Road Angler
On Road - Off Road Angler
Catching fish without a boat is possible, if you know where to look. Learn the best (top) hot spots (places), methods, tips, tactics, how-to, and techniques for fishing along (on, from) Louisiana roadsides, piers, bridges, seashores, canals, lakes, and beaches.
While many anglers throughout the states begin to hang it up for winter, Southeastern Louisiana anglers are getting their second wind.
Despite the fact that there are quite a number of good "on road -off road" fishing spots, a question still wondered by some is: "Can you catch fish without a boat?" The following information should prove helpful for those with such a question.
Basically two types of fishing will be detailed in this article: "On road" fishing and "off road" fishing, both of which will become apparent as the information unfolds.
Let's start with "off road" fishing. Topping the list in this regard is the Buras Canal, located in Buras, Louisiana. While the locals refer to it simply as the "Buras Canal," maps identify it as the Buras Navigational Canal. The main access road to this canal is La. Hwy. 23, which passes through Buras and parallels the Mississippi River to the east.
Keep in mind that the Buras Drainage Canal (ditch) also parallels the Buras Canal for most of its running length, so access to the Buras Canal from the highway can only be made at certain access points. The best access approaches from the highway to the Buras Canal are the pumping stations located in Fort Jackson, Boothville, and Buras, all situated on the west side of the highway.
The Buras Canal can be easily seen from each approach, except the approach at the pumping station near Fort Jackson. This spot will require you to drive down the levee, heading south toward Venice for a few blocks, in order to reach the Buras Canal. After arriving at the canal, you will notice how it runs and be able to pick different locations to fish. Depending on where you choose to fish, this area can involve at least a block or more of walking in order to reach the canal's edge- thus fittingly termed "off road" fishing.
During fall and winter months, the Buras Canal produces excellent catches of redfish (red drum) and speckled trout. In some cases limits if you use the right bait and know where to fish.
The Buras Canal is an excellent cold-weather fishing spot because its provides deeper, warmer waters for fish to seek. The canal's bottom contour, which occasionally runs into shallow bays, is best described as a roller coaster trail, having dips and holes up to ninety feet in depth.
Among the most popular fishing baits are fresh shrimp, chartreuse tandem 1/4 oz. jig head Sparkle Beetles, tandem 1/4 oz. red/white or white/yellow Shad Rigs, and gold 1/2 oz. Johnson Sprite spoons. Popping cork or freelined fishing is a matter of choice, but colder weather dictates the latter when the fish run deep. Fresh and live baits can be purchased at bait stands in Empire, and don't overlook the availability of live cocahoe minnows.
While specks and reds dominate the menu, don't be surprised if you hook up with a black bass (large mouth bass). Areas located closer to Venice are known to produce this freshwater delight in abundance.
GI Bridge Another notable "off road" fishing hot spot is the Grand Isle (or Caminada Pass) fishing bridge, located in Grand Isle, Louisiana. This fishing bridge parallels the entrance bridge into Grand Isle and is actually part of La. Hwy. 1. Grand Isle also has a pay-to-fish pier located in the state park at the opposite end of the island; but since this article will only deal with free locations, it won't be elaborated on.
The Grand Isle fishing bridge is a good choice for "off road" fishing, because the island boasts of needed amenities like hotels, grocery stories, and tackle shops.
(NOTE: Hurricane Katrina heavily damage the fishing bridge and it has been condemned. So it is no longer an option. There are still rock jetties that can be fished on the island.)
This fishing bridge was once the original entrance into Grand Isle but has since been replaced by the span that now parallels it. Those choosing to fish it must be reminded that the middle section of the span has been removed and blocked off to prevent crossing to the opposite side.
Anglers fishing this bridge on the island side can park at Bridgeside Marina and be fishing in a matter of minutes. Bait, tackle, food, and lodging is available at the marina. Successful anglers like fishing the bridge starting from the shore side and working deeper until the feeding zone is located. Baits and lures mentioned earlier will produce excellent catches of sheepshead, speckled trout, white trout, redfish (red drum), and black drum.
At nighttime the bridge becomes an unusual sight to the unfamiliar. Brightly lit lights illuminate the area on either side of the bridge due to anglers hanging gas lanterns near the water's surface. The objective is to attract small bait fish which predator fish like to feed on. When the tide is right and the bait fish congregate, anglers dangle various lures before the swarming fish in an effort to hook them.
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing bridge anglers is landing a hooked fish. The more experienced individuals resort to the tried-and-proven method of lowering a crab net down on a rope for use as a landing net.
Live cocahoes or glass minnows are excellent baits if you have a portable live well to take along. These baits are fished free line with the use of a # 4/0 treble hook placed through their lips. One advantage of using the cocahoe over the delicate glass minnow is that they're tough enough to withstand catching more than one fish before they perish.
Now that "off road" fishing has been discussed, you might be wondering what is "on road" fishing?
Such a question might not be raised if you've ever driven down La. Hwy. 1 on a bright and sunny day. This area is prime "on road" fishing, especially the section of La. Hwy. 1 that lies between the Leeville Bridge and La. Hwy. 3090 (Fourchon Rd.). On days when the weather and tide are right, anglers speckle both sides of the roadside, fishing the canals paralleling it. It's as simple as pulling your vehicle to the roadside and wetting a line. Hence the term, "on road" fishing, since hardly any walking is involved to catch fish.
There are two hot spots along La. Hwy. 1 that are most often fished, and one of them is located about 2 miles before Hwy. 3090 heading south. This spot, situated on the left-hand side of the highway, is identify by a small boat shed and pier that has a camp in the distance. The other spot, located one mile farther down, is identified by a bed of white sea shells spread out along the roadside. Actually, any area where these white sea shells line the roadside is a good location to park and fish.
For those who have never traveled this portion of La. Hwy. 1 before, the road might resemble a long, narrow fishing pier that protrudes deep into a marshy wilderness. Therefore drivers must exercise caution, or they may end up stuck headfirst in the canals on either side of the road.
The canals along the highway are not only good fishing spots, they also provide anglers with an endless reservoir of live bait. However, if you intend on throwing a cast net, don't pitch it in an unfamiliar area unless you don't mind losing it. Safe areas for cast netting bait are those fishing places aforementioned.
For travelers who frequent La. Hwy. 1, it's easy to sneak in some last minute fishing, either before, during, or after work. All you need to do is keep a rod and reel in the trunk, and when the sudden urge strikes, pull over to the roadside and fish.
Whatever the case, the options can be endless for those opting to be an "on road - off road angler."
By Jerry LaBella
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