The sun is shining and the weather is sweet, makes me want to go fishing! Spring has sprung and the fish are snapping. From the steamy south to the crispy north, Mother Nature is waking up and anglers are ready to get out of the house. Here’s Kayak Angler’s top picks for spring hotspots from the anglers who know them best.—Ric Burnley
TACKLE BOX: Medium-heavy seven-to eight-foot casting rod spooled with 30-pound braid and a short leader of 20-pound fluorocarbon. There are many ways to catch trout, but topwater is the most explosive. Rapala Skitterwalks in a natural color works for specks. I also like the MirrOdine and SoftDine lures to imitate a baitfish loaded with eggs.
FISH FINDER: When the water temperature hits 70 degrees, redfish start to move inshore to spawn. Once the temp reaches 77 to 86 degrees, it’s game on. Find a travel route from the marsh to the Gulf. Look for trout and reds on the edge of a shell reef. The best conditions can be the worst weather—trout like to bite before a weather front under an overcast sky.
EARLY ACTION: Grand Isle, Louisiana. Fish out of the new launch ramp in Leeville. The ramp is close to deep channels running off the Gulf of Mexico.
SIGNS OF SPRING: When I can hear owls hooting from my back porch, spring has officially arrived.
FISH TALE: During this year’s IFA tournament, I started the day casting into the sun. On my third cast, I felt a huge explosion on my topwater lure, but I couldn’t see the fish. I was in awe when I put a 23-inch trout into my net. Then I hit my redfish hole and scored a 44-incher. Two fish won the tournament, and I took a big trout award, too. That’s my favorite.
SOMETHING FISHY: Red drum are also known as channel bass, redfish, spottail bass, reds or puppy drum. The fish is identified by a black spot on the tail. There is great variety in size, shape and number of spots. Some fish have over 100 spots. Scientists believe that the drum use the spots to trick predators into biting the wrong end.