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  • Capt. Sergio Atanes

Every year we make our way to Louisiana to fish for redfish but not just anywhere we like to do our filming in what I consider the real Louisiana not the commercialized areas that everybody goes to fish we love the Barataria area for its history and culture.

Barataria Bay Louisiana was used in the early 19th century as the base of pirates and smugglers led by the pirate Jean Lafitte. The bay is a notable source of shrimp, as well as muskrat fur, natural gas, and petroleum. Located just outside New Orleans close to the airport and just about a 10-hour drive from Tampa Florida. Their daily bag limit is five (5) redfish per day and twenty-five (25) speckled trout per day this is way Louisiana is called a sportsman paradise.

Our lodge is in Barataria on an island (everywhere you go it’s an island) Griffin Fishing Charters & Lodge we call home for three days each year Colby Creppel GM and part owner oversees the operation and is also a guide himself. Everything includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, guides, tackle, and lodging. They have some of the best captains in the area and call this place home. All you need to bring is a cooler to take your fish home and yes purchase a fishing license for under $20.00. Before crossing the bridge into Barataria you pass the small town of Jean Lafitte named after the pirate himself, a nice place to walk friendly people, some small shops, and a quaint museum with some of the local history.

Here is where our adventure starts, on our first trip I was surprised to see nothing but dead shrimp on board thinking the area is loaded with live shrimp why dead? Our guide said simply put you don’t need any when dead shrimp works great and no hassle trying to keep them alive, they are kept in a cooler sitting on top of ice we used the same left-over shrimp for three days in a row with no problem.

Our Captain of choice each year is Capt. Gage Vincent running a 2400 Pathfinder boat rigged for bayou fishing. Our daily run to Lake Salvador, Rigolets, Bayou DuPont, Three Bayou Bay, Little Lake, and Myrtle Grove takes anywhere from 20 to 35 minutes, and I can tell you from experience its nonstop fishing for six hours. Our average day for the two of us is anywhere from 30 to 50 redfish per trip with some trout, sheepshead, and puppy drum thrown in for fun.

Three ways to catch these redfish.

First: Dead baits using the favorite cork of choice from the guides and locals the 4-Horsemen popping cork, a short leader about 30 inches long with a 3/0 circle hook and one nice big dead shrimp. We simply cast along the grassy shoreline popping the cork making plenty of noise to get the redfish attention, nothing more exciting than watching the cork disappear and your drag singing its tune fish on as she runs for her live.

Artificial Baits (1): Using artificial baits and here is the part I enjoy the most getting the big, beautiful redfish convinced to eat something that is not natural to them, making them think artificial is something they want to eat. It’s not easy and takes patience but the reward is knowing you did it your way. We use our favorite artificial bait Saltwater Assassin Shrimp on a 1/8 oz jig head color doesn’t matter is mostly to add some weight to the artificial bait.

Artificial Baits (2): Using the same method as with a dead shrimp but replace the dead shrimp with a Saltwater Assassin under a popping cork.

Tampa Bay: I tried the same method here in the Tampa Bay area using the popping cork and artificials with success but to my surprise the trout went wild on the flats. It also increased my flounder catch or maybe it was luck and the two times I tried it they were just ready to eat.

Tampa Bay Tackle Method: Combo using a 4-Horsemen cork with 30-pound fluorocarbon leader length should about 6 inches shorter than the depth of water. The idea is to drift an area popping the cork once wait a few seconds and do it again. Once you get a strike drop your Power Poles and work all around the boat start another drift when the bite quits.


1. 4-Horsemen Float.

2. Combo rig using artificial shrimp.

3. Saltwater Assassin Shrimp Cocktail in Light Beer color.

4. 761M-FG 7 ½ foot medium action like Okuma SRT Inshore Elite rod.

5. Helios 3000 Okuma reel.

6. Fins 15-pound Windtamer braided line.

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  • Capt. Sergio Atanes

by Capt. Sergio Atanes

Florida Pompano (Trachinotus carolinus) are a much overlooked fish, fun to catch and even better to eat. A feisty fish very hard swimmer that puts up a great fight on light tackle.

Pompano are in the jack family and first cousins to permit. Juvenile permit and pompano school together in many area and are often difficult to tell apart. Since the net ban pompano population has increased tenfold giving local anglers a chance to catch fish.

Pompanos are found in warm waters of Tampa Bay and shorelines of the gulf beaches. This year has produced more pompano than I can remember maybe due to the lack of greenback sardines in the area more fishermen including us guides started using live shrimp as a backup source, which happens to be one of their favorite baits.

Now having said all of this pompano fishing is very time consuming and lots of work, they can be caught from the shore around bridge pilings and the working the grass flats. One old trick is to run your boat on a plane through the flats and watch for them skip your wave, once you see them skip work the area with jigs, live shrimp while drifting the flats.

My favorite tackle for pompano, 10-to-15-pound braided line on a medium spinning reel 7.6-foot fast taped spinning rod. I found using 20-pound fluorocarbon leader works best a #1/0 circle hook with a fiddle crab or shrimp. When fishing the beaches sand fleas are also a good choice and easy to catch.

Live baits are fished on the bottom with a small split shot just enough to drag the bottom and stir up some sand drawing the attention of the pompano. When using live shrimp, I prefer to run the hook from the back and under the tail of the shrimp so as drag the shrimp makes look like it is avoiding another predator and increases the bite. Another method and my favorite are using jigs they give me the ability to cover a larger area whether I am fishing the shoreline or drifting the flats in a boat. You want to bounce the jig off the bottom so that when it fall a puff of sand pops up making it look like a crab trying to bury itself. Some of the best jigs I have found are the ¼ and 3/8-ounce pompano jigs they look like a banana in pink n white or yellow. The other is a feathered jig chrome head with white-red and silver feathers both of these are killers on pompano and other species.

Pier or bridge fishing for pompano is challenging, I use a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce pompano jig depending on the current at the time. Drop the jig along the pilling and bounce it off the bottom the sinking motion of the jig entices strikes find the area with the best current flow for best results. When fishing around pilings or dock it makes sense to increase you leader size to 30-pound test to avoid break offs. The lighter the line the less weight needed to keep the bait on the bottom.

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  • Capt. Sergio Atanes

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