John's Journal... Entry 252, Day 2
FLEET FISHING EQUALS MORE FISH IN THE BOX
Captain Ronnie Biddy On How To Find Fish
Editor's Note: Captain Ronnie Biddy, a fisherman for his entire life and today a guide at Hackberry Rod and Gun Club in Hackberry, Louisiana, near Lake Charles, has guided on Lake Calcasieu for 11 years. Today, Biddy will tell us how he finds fish.
When I asked Biddy how he knew where to find speckled trout and redfish on Lake Calcasieu, he explained that, "Each morning I'll try to decide the wind's direction, because that determines where the clean water is on the lake. Trout usually will come further to take bait in clean water than they will in dirty water. Your bait will attract more fish, and you will catch more fish when you fish in clean water than when you fish in stained water. Next, I'll check the tide chart so I know the time the tide is coming in and going out. Because I'm on the lake about 270 days a year, I often will return to the places where I've caught fish the day before."
Since winds and storms often hit the Gulf Coast, I asked Biddy how he found fish when a storm hit late in the evening or at night, and the next morning the fishing conditions had changed. "On those days, we fish where we can, not where we want to," Biddy explains. "We fish primarily oyster reefs, and we try to go to the reefs least affected by the storms. Because we have 16 boats and 16 captains out, we can each run to different reefs and areas of the lake and find the least-affected region quickly and often find the fish. Both speckled trout and redfish often feed on oyster reefs, and the schools of fish will move onto the reef to feed and then move off the reef when they stop feeding. Being on the reef when the fish decide to feed is the real secret. Often, there will be a school of redfish or speckled trout move onto the reef, or sometimes we have a mixture of both. This year we've had schools of flounder moving onto the reefs too."
So far this year Biddy's best day of fishing with two anglers and himself in the boat included 69 trout, five redfish and one flounder, and they stopped fishing at noon. "We found a flock of birds that were diving on shrimp and baitfish," Biddy recalls. "We drifted close to the birds and hit a really-big school of fish. That type fishing doesn't occur every day, but when it does, the rewards are fantastic. Fishing birds is an effective way to find speckled trout and redfish because the birds (seagulls) mark the spot where schools of speckled trout and redfish feed. The school of fish will force shrimp and other baitfish to the surface, and then the gulls can see them, dive on and eat them. To fish birds the most productively, shut down your motor 100- to 150-yards away from the working birds, and then let the boat drift near the birds' location. If you try to run your motor right to the spot where the birds are working, or you throw out an anchor, the birds and the fish will leave."
The biggest two trout that Biddy has caught out of Lake Calcasieu weighed 9.25 and 9.6 pounds. Both trout were caught after July 4th in 2003. "If I'd caught those two trout two months earlier before the spawn, I believe both fish would have weighed over 10 pounds," Biddy said. "Both fish were caught on top-water lures. One was caught on a redfish-colored Super Spook. The other was caught on a chartreuse-and-chrome She Dog."
To learn more about how to catch more speckled trout, redfish and flounder at Lake Calcasieu or to book a trip, go to www.hackberryrodandgun.com or call (337) 762-3391.
TOMORROW: CATCHING SPECKS AND TROUT BIDDY STYLE