Year: 2015

How-To: Make a Double Drop Shot Rig for Trout

What we have here is a Double Drop Shot Rig. We use it for speckled sea trout when fishing the river system in deep water, and often there is a lot of current. This is very similar to a standard drop shot rig, but we are using a grub-style jig instead of a weight on the bottom. A shrimp-like lure is presented a few feet above.

To rig it, you tie your mainline to a simple barrel swivel, which is then tied to two leaders: one about three feet in length and the other a foot and a half. Tie the heavy jighead to the longer leader; that gives the rig the weight necessary to get the lighter-weight soft-plastic shrimp down to the deeper part of the water column, where it wiggles in the current.

Most of the trout bites will come on the shrimp lure first and sometimes the jig as it’s raised up and moving from the fight of the first trout hooked. So, sometimes you can catch them two at a time, or sometimes they prefer to eat the bottom jig. You just never know.

It’s a great rig because it’s easy to build, fun to fish and works great. Just toss it out, let it sink to the bottom, tighten up the slack and then twitch it back towards the boat. You can adjust leader lengths if you think the fish are closer to the bottom.

Anglers should experiment to see what is working best for the condition but do give this rig a try. because it can produce fantastic results.

Louisiana’s Seafood History

Since the first native Indians inhabited the fertile delta that would become known as Louisiana, the bounty of the waters has been an integral part of life. Louisiana’s seafood has played a major role in the growth of the area and the history of its people. For years, the traditions and knowledge of how to harvest these tasty creatures has been passed down from generation to generation. It continues today as Louisiana’s commercial fishermen work hard to bring their fresh catch to a growing percentage of the world.

The fertility of the aquatic environment in Louisiana is able to support a sustainable yield of crabs, shrimp, oysters, alligator and both fresh and saltwater finfish.  The modern seafood industry in Louisiana is touted to be valued at over a billion dollars and provides much of the U.S. with its fresh-caught and better tasting wild-caught seafood.

The industry also sustains the family traditions that stem from the men and women who endure the elements and the ups and downs of commercial fishing, to pursue their passion for plying the waters of Louisiana in search of her edible treasures.

Fish Taco

This is a quick and easy way to make a delicious meal. It can be made even easier by using that leftover redfish from my grilled redfish recipe you made the day before. Add a margarita with a wedge of lime, and you have the perfect dinner.


  • 2 lbs fish fillets (or 2 lbs leftover cooked fillets)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp margarine or butter
  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – chopped
  • 8 oz diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz cooked black beans (canned works fine)
  • 2-3 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp cilantro
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 cup bell pepper
  • 8 soft corn tortillas


  1. In medium skillet, heat 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp margarine on medium-high heat. Add seasoned fish fillets.  Sear/cook 4-6 minutes on each side (depending on thickness of fillets) Set aside.
  2. If you use leftover cooked fish, just skip above step and set aside cooked fish.
  3. In large skillet heat 3 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp margarine on medium-high heat. Add onions and bell peppers. (I prefer to use a mixture of bell and Sorrento peppers to add just a little heat. If you want to really heat things up, you can use jalapeño peppers)
  4. Sauté. Add 2 tsp cilantro, the chopped garlic, diced tomatoes, and black beans. Season to taste. Continue cooking on medium-high heat, stirring often, for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add lime juice. Break up fish and add to mixture. Add a few tbsp water if needed to prevent sticking. Continue to cook until fish is incorporated into mixture; approximately 4-6 minutes.
  6. In small skillet (I prefer to use a small cast iron skillet) heat 2 tbsp cooking oil on med-high heat. Add corn tortilla. Cook on both sides. Remove from heat and drain on paper towel. Repeat on remaining tortillas.

How To Untwist a Spinning Reel

A spinning reel is a great tool for fishing.  We use them for casting distances and pitching lightweight baits and lures.  One of their only negatives is that the line can get twisty after a long fight or if the angler reels against the clicking drag. The line is both stressed by this and becomes troublesome for the next fish encounter.  Make sure the angler is not grinding against the drag, as this can eventually lead to line break.

It is a simple process to untwist the line after a fight.  It does require a moving boat and a minute of down time, but it is well worth it.  Usually, you can drag it on the way back to a spot after the fish has pulled you off.

The process is simple, cut off the lure or hook from the leader, and then let the line pay out behind a moving boat.  Let out the amount that was out during the fight.

If you hold the line slack in front of the reel and it doesn’t jump into a twist, you are back to fresh, untwisted line.  This is how I check to see if the line is untwisted enough while reeling it back in.

Drag the line for about a minute or so.  You can do it while running, but tighten the drag and pay attention because there will be a lot of pressure on the line.  (Don’t forget to reset the drag or else “zing pow.”) Hold your rod tip near the water, and pump the rod to facilitate the untwisting.  Reel back in under tension and do the slack line test earlier mentioned at various intervals as you bring it in.  Then retie your hook and you’re ready for another round.

If a spool of line gets extremely twisty, it’s best to set it aside, or pop on a spare spool of fresh line that is ready to go.  We check our lines on the way out in the morning and after each big fish fight.  You don’t have to do it after most small fish unless there have been a bunch of them.

With braided lines becoming more common the problem is lessened, but we still like mono for many types of applications.

LDWF Sets 2016 Recreational Red Snapper Season

Louisiana waters officially extended from three to nine miles offshore for reef fish management

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham announced that the 2016 red snapper fishing season in state waters will begin at 6:00 a.m. on January 8, 2016 and remain open until further notice. The season will run seven days a week in state waters with a daily bag and possession limit of two fish per person at a 16-inch minimum total length.

“LDWF will do everything we can to provide our anglers the opportunity to harvest their share of this healthy and thriving resource,” said Barham.

Assistant Secretary, Randy Pausina said, “Through LA Creel, our recreational landings data collection program, we’re able to monitor how much red snapper our anglers harvest in real time. With this data, we can ensure our recreational fishery is fully accountable—we’re able to set a fishing season that allows our anglers to harvest their entire share of the catch but also close the season in time to prevent over harvest.”

Louisiana waters officially extended from three to nine miles offshore for reef fish management

Recently signed into law, the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act includes a provision to temporarily extend Louisiana state waters to nine nautical miles for fishery management purposes, an effort championed by LDWF Secretary Robert Barham during his tenure at the agency.

Senator Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, added the provision to the Act to push state waters for reef fish management in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama (currently three miles) to nine miles to match the current state water boundaries of Florida and Texas. “We are grateful for the additional provision by Senator Shelby and the recognition by Congress of the nine-mile boundary the State of Louisiana has claimed since 2012,” said Secretary Barham. “Because the 2016 Omnibus Appropriation Act applies to the current federal fiscal year, the nine-mile extension is only temporary. However, Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA) has proposed a more permanent solution through H.R. 3094; he and his bill have our agency’s full support.”

Secretary Barham worked hand in hand with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission and Louisiana state legislators for years to ensure Louisiana’s fishing boundaries are equal with those of Texas and Florida. In 2011, Louisiana state legislators passed Act 336, recognizing that the Gulfward boundary of Louisiana’s state waters historically consisted of three marine leagues (9 nautical miles) and designating that boundary to be enforced by state law for the protection and restoration of coastal lands, waters and natural resources, and regulation of activities affecting them.

Following the direction of our state legislators and at the request of Secretary Barham, the Commission officially extended state waters from three nautical miles offshore to nine nautical miles offshore for fisheries management purposes and for the benefit of Louisiana fishermen. Secretary Barham said, “I was simply correcting an injustice. If our Florida and Texas neighbors fish a nine-mile state boundary, so should Louisiana fishermen. Unfortunately, it has taken over three years for action on this issue and that action is only temporary. I look forward to the day that all fishermen are treated equally across the Gulf of Mexico.”  Although this congressional action is only temporary, it is a step forward for Louisiana fishermen and is a direct result of Secretary Barham’s continued vigilance on this issue. “Louisiana fishermen will benefit from improved access and more flexible management of the reef fish fishery in the waters off Louisiana,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary of Fisheries Randy Pausina. “And without Secretary Barham’s initial leadership claiming a nine-mile state water boundary for our fishermen, this would not have gained the momentum it needed to be carried through Congress,” said Billy Broussard, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commissioner.

Recreational Offshore Landing Permit

LDWF reminds anglers and charter captains that they must have a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to possess certain species, including red snapper. They may obtain or renew the permit, free of charge at Anglers and charter captains may renew their permits up to 30 days prior to expiration. They must have a valid Louisiana fishing license number to obtain a permit; they may use their confirmation number for a temporary (trip) permit.

Minors (under 16) are not required to obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit. Customers on a paid-for-hire charter trip also do not need this permit.

Preventative Maintenance Keeps You Fishing

With so much water surrounding us in south Louisiana, a reliable boat is a critical piece of equipment for getting to the fishing grounds and back. Today’s modern fishing machines, though inherently engineered to be more reliable than ever, are still plagued by a variety of issues that send them for repairs. In order to avoid making your boat yet another hole in the water you throw money in, there are a number ways to minimize maintenance and operating costs.

1. Use It!

With so many activities vying for your time and attention, a little-used boat often gets neglected more than many would like. Unfortunately, the worst scenario for the well being of your boat and its systems is to sit up for extended periods. Unattended cranking batteries go dead without charge from the running motor or a charger. Similarly, trolling motor batteries lose their charge while sitting unattended as well. An on-board charger can go a long way for properly maintaining voltage in your cranking and trolling batteries. Today’s automatic units can be plugged in indefinitely without the need to monitor the charge, nor fear overcharging.

Fuel in the motor’s feed system deteriorates and will eventually end up as a gummy mess, ill-suited for proper flow when you’re ready for the next trip. When possible, running the fuel out of your engine is a great way prevent buildup within the engine’s components, though this is typically only practical on smaller engines where the fuel line can be unplugged. On larger engines, you’re reliant upon today’s array of fuel stabilizer products, which can extend the life of your fuel to be ready on the next trip. Brands like STA-BIL, STAR TRON, etc. offer fairly cheap insurance against fuel-related issues when used regularly.

2. Corrosion Prevention

Many of our favorite fish are chased in the salty waters along the Louisiana coast. Whether you’re after redfish in the marshes or dolphin on the rip, it’s critical to fight the effects of saltwater corrosion on your equipment. Just as my rods and reels get a good rinse with the hose back at the dock or home, my entire boat gets a similar freshwater rinse, giving much of the attention to all the metal components. The engine gets a good wash with soap and water to remove salt built up on the outer surfaces during the course of a trip, but that’s just the beginning.

Flushing the internal cooling system is critical to the longevity of the saltwater fishing outboard. Working in the marine industry has shown me the results of not taking the internal impacts of saltwater seriously with numerous cases of water passages crumbling in decay following years of saltwater remaining between fishing trips. It doesn’t happen overnight, but neglect over time will take its toll and you’ll eventually pay the resultant price.

Many of today’s models come with a dedicated flushing port for a garden hose built into the engine. Use of this port allows for thorough flushing of the engine without having to run it. I’ll often let the motor flush for a few minutes while I’m taking care of unloading other items after a fishing day as this function can be left unattended. For those motors without the port, running the motor with earmuff style flushers will be needed and should be attended in case they were to slip off. Religiously following a flushing regimen after every saltwater trip can save thousands of dollars spent later on corroded parts.

3. Preventative Maintenance Keeps You Fishing

Though flushing is key to a good preventative maintenance routine, marine engines require regular maintenance just like a car or truck. In today’s four stroke outboards, that includes routine oil and filter changes at the manufacturer’s prescribed running-time intervals. Otherwise, four stroke and two stroke outboards require similar maintenance attention such as changing the lower unit oil and spark plugs and greasing the prop shaft and other grease points on the engine.

When pulling the propeller, keep an eye out for fishing line or other materials wrapped on the shaft, which may compromise the nearby seal. Also, inspect the old lower unit oil for signs of water intrusion, which would appear as a milky substance in the oil and may be indicative of a seal failure in the gear housing.

A good once-over by a mechanic on an annual basis can go a long way in preventing costly repairs later on. That said, many routine maintenance items can be performed at home with only a few tools and at your own schedule, thus preventing time lost while the boat is in for service during peak season. Doing the maintenance yourself can similarly save you costly hourly shop rates which often range from $75 to $100 per hour.

4. Trailer

Critical to getting your rig to the water and back, the trailer is as important as anything else in your fishing arsenal. Nothing can derail your plans for the early morning topwater bite quicker than a rusted trailer bunk support giving way or a worn tire blowing out on the highway. Though many issues can pop up unforeseen, a lot can be done to minimize the risk of leaving you on side of the road instead of heading to the fishing grounds.

As poor as our roads are here in Louisiana, your trailer tires have a tough job. These tires must be kept at proper pressure in order to assure even wear and prevent undue stress under load. Since trailers are often equipped with minimal suspension capability, the tires typically take the brunt of the forces generated as your heavy rig bounds down the road. It’s a good idea to make checking the pressures part of your pre-trip routine to assure proper inflation to whatever level is recommended on the tire wall.

Though often sealed, the wheels’ bearings are also critical to maintain. Keeping the bearings greased and sealed will minimize friction as they spin down the road and can help to prevent a failure that shuts down your trip. Bearing Buddies are ideal to make greasing the bearings a minimal chore.

Just as with the metallic surfaces of the boat, my trailer gets a thorough rinse after backing down at a coastal marina. If it’s going to sit up for a few weeks or months to the next trip I’d rather it does so without being covered in salt. Aside from corrosion and the wheel system, keep an eye out for simple but critical components like the winch strap and bunk boards, along with the wiring system for the lights. Fix small issues while at home before they become much more expensive and inconvenient.  Keep all crucial parts like lugs, couplers and springs with a good spray lubricant to prevent rust, corrosion and frozen parts.

5. Fuel Issues – The Fight Against Ethanol

With many fueling stations serving up primarily blended gasoline containing 10 percent ethanol, fuel-related issues with both modern and older model fishing boats is as rampant as ever. Fortunately, there are still a good many stations in Louisiana offering conventional gasoline without ethanol, though the list is in decline. Nevertheless, today’s fuel stabilizers are formulated to combat the effects of ethanol on your fuel system and can prevent headaches and repairs with regular use.

For example, Marine Formula STA-BIL is among a host of products readily available and effective in keeping your boat out of the shop. I’ve been using this product for a few years now in three different boats without any issue. Regardless if filling up with ethanol-blended fuel or not, I still make this treatment part of my fueling stop and have had remarkable results in doing so.

Aside from treating the fuel, a good water-separating fuel filter is a great addition to your fuel system. Since ethanol tends to increase the amount of water that gasoline can absorb via condensation in your fuel tanks, catching the water before it gets to the engine is critical. Modern separators are rated to catch particles as small as 10 microns and serve as a key part of an ethanol defense regimen.

With the significant costs of purchasing a modern fishing rig, one must also consider the costs of keeping it in good operating condition. Regardless of the age of your boat, the time and nominal costs invested in preventative maintenance is well worth the effort when your rig brings you safely home after each day making memories on the water.