New Orleans / Saltwater fishing?

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TonyS
TonyS's picture
New Orleans / Saltwater fishing?

So I'm looking to do a trip to New Orleans end of May-ish.  I'm definitely going to poke around a little for Blue Cats and Flier in the freshwater. Potentially Rio Grande Cichlid and Blacktail Redhorse as well - gotta do some more research there. 

 

However, I've never fished saltwater.  So, naturally I want to spend most of my time on that.  I've been finding some good information on beaches and salt lakes/marshes to start my looking.  

 

So if anyone has any New Orleans specific tips a great but my biggest questions are big picture saltwater shore fishing stuff:

  • Recommendations for hook sizes and baits for maxium fish diversity?
  • How to handle stingrays should we catch any?
  • Any other fish likely to catch from shore that would need special handling? 
  • Any answers to questions I didn't ask but should have as a total saltwater greenhorn

Thanks to any one who provides any insight

 

Susquehannock
Susquehannock's picture
Saltwater

If you just want to catch stuff, frozen shrimp is great. I usually just Carolina rig them with a number four hook. Although the weight of the sinker depends on how much the water's moving, a one or two ouncer will usually get the job done.

Susquehannock

tom
tom's picture
messaged you

messaged you.

 

Dr Flathead
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Crawlers work well in the

Crawlers work well in the ocean too. I caught a bunch of ocean species on shad and crawlers.

philaroman
philaroman's picture
I suppose crawlers can

I suppose crawlers can provide a nice slimy attractant, on the same hook as cut bait -- they dissolve in ocean-level salinity...  low-salt brackish can be OK, if the action is fast enough

 

bloodworms (not the little F/W larvae -- the big nasty S/W predators: http://www.daybreakfishing.com/bait/bloodworms.html) are the best surf/bay bait, but expensive...  a common practice is to thread a little piece on the hook shank followed by a squid/fish/gulp strip on hook bend, to lock it in w/ no "tag ends" (of worm)...  either as an all-day presentation, or to investigate until you encounter species/size worthy of a WHOLE bloodworm  [NOTE: their extendable mouth stings -- not major, but not pleasant either]

 

frozen squid is cheap, easy to get & often good enough, by itself; certainly good enough to catch local baitfish (you can make your own sabiki rigs, if you can tie a blood knot) & there are usually good bait options "under your feet":  clams, barnacles, crabs, sand fleas, etc.

 

if you get jabbed by a stingray, make sure there are no stinger pieces in the wound, apply vinegar & HEAT -- NO ICE!!!  I've seen people wrap the stinger in rags, to handle the big ones -- I just cut the line...

you may encounter teeth that shear/cut (e.g.., bluefish) -- not just pncture/grab, or crushing jaws (e.g., oyster cracker/toadfish) unlike any you've seen in F/W -- get a LONG unhooking tool & some wire leaders

urchins are no fun to step on, barefoot...  just get wading shoes -- many more things in S/W that can FUup

P.E.T.A. sucks!!!  Plants are living things, too -- they're just easier to catch!

RoughFish
RoughFish's picture
My highest recommendation for

My highest recommendation for surf fishing would be fish bites. It’s a synthetic bait that comes in a strip like taffy and has a piece of fabric sandwiched in the middle. This stuff is like the night crawler of the ocean and does not come off the hook. Buy some pompano rigs which are pretty much high low rigs and put a one inch piece on each hook. This has yielded the greatest diversity of ocean fish for me personally. If on a pier, definitely use Sabiki rigs for a bit. Also a lot of piers will sell you shrimp but I find squid to be a much better bait and isn’t stolen as easily by pinfish etc. 

I’ve fished in city park in New Orleans in the past and could not find the cichlids for the life of me, just loads of bluegills. As far as micros you can get inland silverside and sailfin molly inside the park. Nightcrawlers are not an easy find in the city and I was forced to use mummy worms I had on hand (probably why I didn’t get a cichlid) 

As a side note, The Ruby Slipper is excellent for breakfast and make sure to try some chargrilled oysters, they’re excellent.

Susquehannock
Susquehannock's picture
Fishbites

I haven't had any luck with any of the saltwater fake baits. Do you use a specific scent, or have I just not used them enough or in the right places?

Susquehannock

Dr Flathead
Dr Flathead's picture
Ive fished on this

Ive fished on this intercostal waterway in Florida a couple times now. Rented a home there and had a dock right in the backyard. It was like being on a river pretty much. Very salty water like the ocean there. Don't think it was brackish at all. I had brought crawlers with for fishing on the drive down, and for freshwater in the area. They worked awesome for me for all sorts of  ocean species. Never noticed them dissolving at all. But I freshen up pretty often if the bite is slow. Salad shrimp proved to be as deadly as bait shop shrimp. Way cheaper too. Stayed on the hook better especially when pesky pinfish and pigfish were abundant. And shad was shad. I swear nothing turns down shad. Caught lots of ocean fish on shad.

RoughFish
RoughFish's picture
Susquehannock - I don’t use

Susquehannock - I don’t use synthetic baits in freshwater such as gulp or dough ( prefer real natural baits) but the fishbites came highly recommended and didn’t disappoint. I used both sand flea and crab flavors. They are primarily used by surf fisherman as the fabric inside prevents them from slinging off on far casts. I got pinfish, lizardfish,  ladyfish, seatrout, redfish, whiting, and pompano on them last time I was at the gulf and my buddy got  croaker and stingray. We were primarily targeting pompano, which I found is one of the tastiest fish I’ve ever eaten. 

Susquehannock
Susquehannock's picture
Fishbites

I used fishbites in the surf along the gulf coast a couple years ago. I fished it for half an hour or so without any luck, and then I switched to shrimp and immediately started catching kingfish and hardhead catfish. 

I don't know, maybe it was just the day I was there. Or maybe it was the flavor. I'm pretty sure I was using the bloodworm.

Susquehannock

TonyS
TonyS's picture
thanks all, I'll probably try

thanks all, I'll probably try and have most the mentioned baits on hand at times.  I'll have a castnet at hand too, that and some sabikis and small hooks should do pretty well for live fish / cutbait.   Looks like The Ruby Slipper has multiple locations, probably have to check that out at some point too

Dr Flathead
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The pinfish will probably be

The pinfish will probably be the most pleantiful, easily catchable baitfish. They make great bait, cut or live.

BlueEye
BlueEye's picture
A smaller 5 or 6 ft. cast net

A smaller 5 or 6 ft. cast net is definetely essential, as are sabikis. There's always baitfish like scaled sardines & thread herring holding in in any light casted on the water from overhead around structure at night. I'd probably only be using a sabiki at night to catch random species rather than bait, they seem to work best in daylight hours, cast net is the go to for fresh greenbacks n shit at night, ballyhoo are like gold if you happen to come across any, amazing live or cut bait. Any underwater lights [snook lights] are obviously a magnet for just about everything.

Get size 6 or 8 sabikis for baitfish & tip them with frozen squid tentacles, or a bit of crawler if your feelin like that one Doc Mudcat guy, & larger sabikis for just a deadstick. That time of year you should be able to wade fish with a net for your bait and all kinds of shit, the gulf is a gdmf'in free for all. The more crazy you get, the more you'll receive. Gulf whiting should be around but have never seemed to produce much as bait, but you may catch some hook and line surf fishing the shallows. Needlefish should also be attainable hook & line, terrible bait, nothing will eat them for the most part.

Targeting rays, skates, etc. is just bottom rig surf fishing, brackish spots are better for some species. I'm a bit careless but carefull when it comes to rays, if you hook a monster southern or something they can fight soo hard they'll be worn the fuck out by the time you land them, and as long as your careful, you can get away with a photo without getting barbed, but sometimes they're still full of piss & vinegar & can fuck a person up pretty bad. As I'm sure you know, you can slide a blade under the barb which suppposedly has little to no effect on the animal and they regrow them, but that is debatable, especially depending on species. The size of your hand Atlantic rays are more likely to ruin your evening for a few hours than any, I've only been hit once by one in the hand while clearing a net commercial seining, it wont kill you by any means, but say in a hand it'll swell up and be completely imobilized  for 4-6 hours. Just common sense, handle rays by the spiracles, and stay away from the bidness end.

Don't use any freshwater gear you care about, it will be destroyed no matter how attentive you are to washing off the saltwater. You'll need 30lb Fluoro preferably for agressive toothy critters like bluefish, ladyfish, mackeral, etc. Best caught with a freelined live greenback and a bit of splitshot. Check bridges where fishing is aloud, they're key, as are some good polarized sunglasses, obviously. I'll stop rambling or I'll go on forever.

Get your shark stuff ahead of time if you plan on trying that, far more cost effective, but honestly you'll be able to put together all the pieces much easier if you just hit a good local tackle shop and pay a bit more for the essentials, if needed. I'm just talkin the basics, for like big blacktips or somethin, little atlantic sharpose, bonnetheads & whatnot.