March 2016 Volume 17 • Issue 189 - Page 14

Marsh & Bayou’s Fishing Forecast Lake Pontchartrain by Chas Champagne DockSide TV / Matrix Shad 985-707-9049 The time of year most Gulf Coast anglers dread the most is here upon us now. From late February to early March is just about as tough as it gets for chasing speckled trout and red fish in our areas. What this time of year is great for is Slinging Slabs. Thats right, the time is now if you are a crappie enthusiast, and if your not I suggest you try it. In my opinion it is one of the most entertaining fish to chase in the south. If peaceful fishing is what you enjoy this is for you. If your a catch and hot grease type of angler this is the best table fare you will find. Sacalait fillets make the best deep south dish our waters have to offer. If you have never chased the white perch it can be quite challenging. They are very easy to catch but very difficult to find. They ball up in very tight schools. You can go three hours without a nibble then catch them until you are flat tired of it once you find that magical brush pile or cypress tree holding the nest. This is a peak time of year to target them as they are either just about to spawn or on the beds in the shallows crushing everything that moves. Well if you are wondering what types of lures to use there are plenty to try. Here at DockSide Bait and Tackle, home of the Matrix Shad, we designed the perfect miniature swim bait that these pan fish seem to devour, the “Matrix Mini.” The Matrix Mini is an exact replica of the well known Matrix Shad and it is a Crappie killer. It swims just like a small minnow in the water and that just happens to be one of a crappie’s favorite dishes. Where do you find this intriguing freshwater species? Well many places is the answer. The one thing you have to avoid is salt water. These delicate fish are fresh water only. Hurricane Katrina really put a damper on them but with recent years of flooded rivers and bayous from the last few rainy years they are making a strong come back. From the Tchefuncta River all the way to the East Pearl River and all the bayous in between, makes the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain is a great place to start. For you South Shore anglers try from Bayou Black all the way to the Lake Boeuf area and all fresh water canals in between there. Here, the DockSide TV crew will go through anything to find the slabs. We will tow the Andros just about anywhere. If we can’t get in an area with the big boat we will even pull Jon Boats through acres of woods and brush to get 14 March 2016 to that magical lake or pond if need be. What ever and where ever it takes. How to find them? Well they are tricky to find and we are learning new tricks everyday. Cover a lot of water is key. They pile up so you have to find that special zone they are favoring. If it’s in the colder of months you will find them deep. When that is the case we switch to a 1/8 oz mini Jig with a Matrix Mini attached. Brush, snags and structure is crucial, but if there is not much visual brush and we are fishing a deeper lake in 15-20′ of water we will drift the middle of the lake especially in the winter months and simply troll like we do for trout in Lake Pontchartrain. They love to use cover to their advantage and they always look up, so when your jig is falling be looking for a strike. If you find the right structure or brush pile don’t avoid a cork. Even in deep water a cork can be very effective. When they decide to go into reproduction mode which is generally late February look for them to move up to the shallows and really get active and easier to catch. When this takes place we simply attach a spinner blade to our Matrix Mini on a 1/16 oz Mini Golden Eye cover ground and find the beds where they are doing there spawning ritual. The point is put your big poles up get you some mini spins and push buttons and chase down this beloved fish. Until Next Time Good Fishin’ Mississippi Coast by Alex Smith Fishing has been hit and miss the past few months. One day the conditions are perfect and the next, a cold front moves in and pushes the water temps down 10 degrees. Luckily the end is in sight. Fishing is slowly starting to pick back up along the MS coast. Water temperatures are back up in the mid 50’s and steadily climbing. The speckled trout are on the move, heading out of the protected estuaries and back into the gulf. In order to increase your odds, fish around the mouths of bays and near shore structure. Inshore reefs and harbors along the beach front are producing coolers full of trout. Make sure that you have 6-10 ft of water since the bait is still holding low in the water column. Since the trout are still feeding predominately on bait fish, Matrix Shad’s glow paired with a GoldenEye ¼ oz jig head is the best combination. Tightlining Egret Baits Vudu shrimp is preforming equally well. For those of you targeting bigger trout, try a Paul Brown original in chartreuse, remembering to work it slow. Once the water reaches 65 degrees, the trout bite will be in full swing. Hopefully you will be filling the box before you know it. Tight lines! For more fishing tips on targeting inshore trophy fish, visit my Facebook page Alex Smith Fishing. My blogs are also available on my website For all questions contact me at (228)-669-2317 or email