ur, Louisiana, so that Alex could show me how the region now appears. I
was also looking forward to Alex letting me in on some of his hot fishing
spots that he claims have been progressively getting better with age.
Particularly since he told me that he had recently boated one trout that
went 8 lbs. and several others right at 7 1/4 lbs. Admittedly, some other
states might not consider that bragging material, but to those familiar with
Louisiana and the netting problems over the past years, these are
exceptional trout from this territory.
A week following the call, David Tompkins–a professional photographer–and
I found ourselves heading south down the Freeport Sulphur Co. Canal in a 19
ft. La Sabre boat with Alex at the helm. Bright vapor lights from the nearby
company and various other inside marsh oil facilities dazzled the early
morning darkness like fireworks on a New Year's night. This bustling sulphur
company lies a couple of miles farther south of the marina on La. Hwy. 23
and both sit off the west side of the highway. Paralleling the highway to
the east is the Mississippi River.
One thing you can be assured of, if you happen to
pass up the marina, you'll know you've done so by the strong stench of
sulphur that suddenly permeates the air. Here is where huge ships tower above the nearby Mississippi River levee, adjacent to the sulphur company,
waiting to be loaded with sulphur, Louisiana's yellow gold.
As we continued down the canal, Alex pointed
out that the old rusty pipe rack that once paralleled the waterway on the
east side had been removed, along with the ever familiar abandoned rusty
ship that stood lodged near Little Pass.
As the sun began to peep over the horizon, his
boat was well under way, having already made it through Billet Bay to
Robinson Canal and onto Shell Cut, a waterway that opens up into the Gulf of
Here is where familiarity struck me, as he pulled up to the flat-top piling
stands that lay just outside the cut. Here is where tank batteries once
stood atop the piling platforms, but hurricanes have since taken their toll
on the structures.
Within a matter of feet from these pilings and
just outside the cut, lay the immovable "Sunken Shrimp Boat," a
landmark and sobering reminder of how treacherous the sea can become.
Additional piling configurations lay about a block farther west of this
spot. Probably no other surf area within a ten-mile radius harbors more
structure in one location.
This area is somewhat similar to the inside marsh south of the Freeport
Sulphur Co. Canal, where remnant structures from the abandoned mine can still
be seen throughout. Of course, no area of Louisiana is complete without oil
company installations, and Port sulphur is no exception.
"The plastic cocahoes are taking the (sparkle)
beetles over, really," Alex said, casting his single cocahoe lure
toward the piling legs and steadily retrieving with his bait casting reel.
"The beetles are good for school trout and anywhere you look for birds
working over trout about that size," he indicated with his hands spread
apart 14 inches or so. Alex generally prefers going after speckled trout over 15
inches or more, and anything he thinks has to be measured he throws back.
It wasn't long before he connected with one, pulling it from the shallow,
green water around the piling legs and systematically removing the hook and
pitching it into the ice chest. In the days before the limits, Alex
remembers coming out here catching school trout two at a time on tandem
sparkle beetle rigs until he his arms wore out. Since size and limit
restrictions, however, trout have more of a chance of growing bigger.
Just outside of Shell Cut along the shallow sandbar, bull redfish like to
lurk. Alex says both this spot and Four Bayou Pass–
about 4 mile farther
west– are good places to fish for them both by day or night.
While Alex prefers using artificial cocahoes, he
doesn’t leave the dock without the live version–
along with a good supply
of ¼ oz. jig heads to present the offering. It’s sort of an insurance,
when the artificials don’t work he throws the live ones, and vice versa.
This strategy, coupled with seeking out good established structure and
moving water was most effective–
yielding both redfish and speckled trout,
even in water made murky by intermittent thunderstorms.
After bagging a dozen or so speckled trout,
Alex lifted anchor and headed east a half a mile or so down the beach where
he came upon a pile of rusty scrap iron which he said were remains of
a sunken barge. It lay right up against the shore along with some broken and
scattered concrete slab pieces. "Yesterday, I caught two twelve pound
redfish right here," Alex asserted, shutting down the noisy outboard
motor and allowing the boat to drift toward the conglomeration sitting in
the calm surf. Minutes later both he and I put two nice bronze-backs
(redfish) in the ice chest that would soon see more speckled trout from the same spot.
Compared to many other places along Louisiana’s
coast, Port Sulphur doesn't get a whole lot of publicity, possibly because
of the marina's inelegant appearance and competition from two other
neighboring launches within the ten mile radius. However, the marina in Port
Sulphur (Hi-Ridge Marina) is the centrally located of the three and is best
situated for accessing Lake Grande Ecaille, Lake Washington, Billet Bay, Bay
Long, and Lake Robinson, to name a few.
Alex fishes year-round out of Port Sulphur, following a routine pattern of
fishing the surf during the warmer months and moving to the inside marsh
during winter. Summertime surf fishing, according to Alex, can get as hot as
the weather. But in winter, inside fishing can be just as good.
"It was simply fantastic fishing this past winter, Alex added. The
southeastern section or Lake Grande Ecaille, where the desolate sulphur mine
once stood, is now covered with a bed of rocks three feet or more below the
surface, making for an excellent inside fishing area. Popping corks here are
a must and freeline fishing is only for the more experienced.
Port Sulphur's shoals of yellow gold are an unusual site for most anglers. Here's a place where you'll find anglers fishing small, islandlike reefs of
sulphur projecting above the water's surface. Most local anglers are undaunted by
the menacing odor while fishing around these
At the mine, one can't help but notice how structure abounds in limitless design. Like the area where 25
to 30 ft. pilings project above the water's surface, spaced only a few feet
apart, and numbering 30 to 40 in one section. In other nearby spots are
vacant concrete platforms, some of which enter the water, and various barges
loaded with mangled rusty pipes add further to the distorted fishing haunt.
Port Sulphur with its grassy shorelines, cuts, lakes, bays, and bayous is
home also not just to various finfish, but the ever sought after shrimp. Two
shrimp seasons during the year will be the cause of many anglers hanging up
their rods and reels and breaking out the trawling gear.
The brown shrimp season usually
opens May 15 and closes mid July. The white shrimp season usually opens
August 16 and closes the last week in December. Dates may fluctuate
according to data received by the LDWF on shrimp growth; so check with the
marina or LDWF (Louisiana
Department of Wild Life & Fisheries). Boats waiting to be launched on opening day for brown shrimp
will wait in a line that reaches all the way back to the highway. And
they'll tell you it's well worth it.
Fishing Guide: Alex
Rogers shows off a nice speckled trout
taken from the yellow-gold shoals.
Alex Rogers no longer provides fishing guide service. For
fishing guide service click: Louisiana
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