by Chris Berzas
It was a morning in mid-May, and there was action right from the start.
Just off and on their way to obtain live pogies for offshore fishing, Houma’s Captain Tommy Pellegrin and his crew ran into a huge redfish school thrashing in the waters ahead.
“They were bull reds, and there were about 200 of them all over the surface waters making quite a commotion,” said Pellegrin. “The school covered about 50- to 75- yards of water in front of us.”
The anglers started casting toward the fish, and reel drags started screaming.
“The ones we caught were big, averaging 20- to 25- pounds,” he said. “We released them all because our plan was to leave state waters, but it was fun catching them.”
Later in the morning upon reaching their destination, Pellegrin and his crew had a great day catching many various species of offshore species, many of which they photographed and released.
“My crew consisted of a couple of other captains and friends, along with biologist/writer Jerald Horst, and we were there to obtain as many species as possible,” said Pellegrin.
Their catches were quite diverse and included: queen triggerfish, sandtile fish, blackfin snapper, yellow eye snapper, red porgy, knob porgy, almaco jack, amberjack, blackfin tuna, red snapper, beeliner snapper, scamp grouper, gag grouper and mangrove snapper.
“We were able to obtain a real good sampling,” he said.
Pellegrin’s trip that day also gave him some indication of what’s to come this summer for Louisiana offshore anglers.
“I think we’re going to have a banner year for red snapper, although we won’t have many days to fish,” said Pellegrin. “They’re going to be big, and the ones we sampled so far were ranging between 15- to 20- pounds taken out of Cocodrie.”
“Anglers will be able to find mangrove- and red- snappers 10- to 15- miles offshore,” he said. “They’ll be around any of the rigs 30- to 40 feet all the way down to 200- feet. Work the thickest structures by the rigs and watch what comes out.”
Pellegrin said that cobia were there in mid-May and should be available most of the summer.
“We catch them on High Life Tarpon jigs which work very well on these cobia,” he said. “We use a two- ounce jig, and sometimes you have to work to keep the red snapper off of them.”
Cobia will often be found near the satellite rigs and shrimp boats in the area.
And of course, anglers will have plenty chances to catch a multitude of speckled trout.
“I’ll be fishing around Cocodrie and Dularge for speckled trout, and it looks to be a very good year for the numbers,” said Pellegrin.
“They’ll be everywhere from the marsh to the islands, and we’ve taken them on High Life purple and pepper Cocodrie Cocahoes,” he said. “Double-rigging these also works really well.”
Pellegrin advised anglers to also find them along the beach and troughs.
“Under the birds you’ll find small school trout, but you will find larger fish oftentimes underneath them.
Farther offshore, anglers will be targeting blackfins, and Pellegrin said that they will be thick in numbers this year.
“We found them already busting up on flying fish and blue runners,” he said. “And I am expecting a very good year on yellowfins as well.”
Anglers will find yellowfins near the canyons, as the blackfins can be located near the shrimp boats all the way to the canyons.
“July is our best month for mangrove snappers,” explained Pellegrin. “During July, anglers will also find good action for almaco jacks, dolphin (fish), yellowfin, marlin and swordfish.
On August 1, amberjack season opens up, and of course this species offers big game action with fish expected to average 40- to 50- pounds this summer.
“Our average we have seen with amberjacks is 40 pounds,” said Pellegrin. “Our largest ones have ranged to 95 pounds.”
For more information and/or guide service, contact Captain Tommy Pellegrin at 985-851-3304 or you can e-mail him at email@example.com.
Before heading out, anglers are urged to be extremely familiar of all state and federal saltwater regulations for your species of choice regarding length limits, creel limits and possession limits.
Have a great summer fishing offshore!