Excited about the upcoming Fall and Winter

First of all I’d like to thank all of you for allowing Outcast Fishing Charters for being your choice for all your fishing, hunting,and lodging needs. We appreciate it and will strive to give you the best experience for the best price.

With that said, its hard to believe summer is coming to an end but we are very excited about the upcoming fall and winter. We have been catching a lot of undersized trout and looks like our waters will be full of a new crop of keepers.

The duck seasons have been set, and for the second year we have 3500 private acres leased to offer you some of the easiest and most rewarding duck hunting around. Our fall hunting and fishing is shaping up to be great, so don’t wait too long to book that trip with friends, family, or bring those customers down to experience some of the best hunting and fishing south Louisiana has to offer.

And don’t forget about the great Cajun cuisine prepared by Roe. So give us a call. Thanks Lloyd 504-912-8291

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Redfish

Family Sciaenidae, DRUMS: Sciaenops ocellatus

Other Names: Red, Spottail, Redfish, Channel Bass, Poisson Rouge, Red Drum

Range and Habitat: Red drum are found Gulfwide, from low-salinity or even freshwater estuaries out to offshore waters at least 50 feet deep. Red drum are not fussy about bottom type, being found on everything from soft mud to hard bottoms of shell hash and oyster reefs. Often, large schools of large red drum will congregate at nearshore artificial reefs and oil and gas platforms in the northern Gulf.

Identification and Biology: Red drum can be silvery-gray with a copper cast or bright copper colored with an iridescent gray cast. Color depends largely on the water the fish comes from. The belly is typically white. Most fish will have a single ocellated spot located just ahead of the tail fin. Occasionally, more than one spot can be found, and rarely, any spots are present.

Red drum, like many other members of the drum family, spawn in high salinity waters in areas of high tidal current flow, such as areas near barrier island passes. Spawning usually takes place over an 8 or 9 week period from mid-August to mid-October. During this period, male red drum stake out, in large numbers, the prime spawning areas in and near the passes, being ready to spawn virtually every night. There they form large schools at night, called drumming aggregations, because of the drumming sound that they make with their air bladders to attract females. Females on the other hand, tend to appear at these areas only when immediately ready to spawn, which seems to be once every 2 to 7 days. This means that the large majority of redfish taken during this time by recreational fishermen are males, rather than females. While the 2-month spawning period is less than half that for spotted seatrout, the spawning potential of an individual redfish is truly stupendous. At an average of 1.5 million eggs per spawn, and a spawning every 2 to 4 days, the average female can be expected to produce 20-40 million eggs per season.

While it has been a generally accepted rule of thumb that redfish leave inshore waters when they mature at around age 5, there is a lot of variation in this. Immature 2 to 5 year old fish have been found in the offshore schools. Also, a small percentage of females mature at age 3 and about 9 pounds in weight. A few males mature even sooner, at age 2 and 5½ pounds. All females are mature by age 6 and all males by age 5. Once mature, redfish typically will spawn for the rest of their lives.

Red drum are aggressive and opportunistic feeders and the result is evident in their growth rate. At age 1 they average over 13 inches and by age 2, they average over 21 inches long. Blue crabs make up a large part of their diet, but fish and shrimp are also eaten. Although red drum have been known to come to the surface to take topwater artificial baits, they are typically bottom feeders. Commonly eaten fish include searobins, lizardfish, menhaden, mullet, pigfish, spot, Atlantic croakers, and flounder. Most of these are bottom-living species.

Size: Very common from 1-10 pounds in estuaries, although larger fish are not uncommon. Red drum caught in offshore waters are usually over 10 and often over 30 pounds.

Food Value: Good, with smaller fish being considered better table fare than larger fish.

Redfish taken on one of our past trips.

Family Sciaenidae, DRUMS
Sciaenops ocellatus

Description: chin without barbels; copper bronze body, lighter shade in clear waters; one to many spots at base of tail (rarely no spots); mouth horizontal and opening downward; scales large.

Where found: juveniles are an INSHORE fish, migrating out of the estuaries at about 30 inches (4 years) and joining the spawning population OFFSHORE.

Size: one of 27 inches weighs about 8 pounds.

Louisiana Record: Red Fish

David Weber
61 lbs. 0 ozs.
June, 1992

Remarks: red drum are an INSHORE species until they attain roughly 30 inches (4 years), then they migrate to join the NEARSHORE population; spawning occurs from August to November in NEARSHORE waters; sudden cold snaps may kill red drum in shallow, INSHORE waters; feeds on crustaceans, fish and mollusks; longevity to 20 years or more.

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Speckled Trout

Family Sciaenidae, DRUMS: Cynoscion nebulosus

Other Names: Speck, Speckled Trout, Yellow Mouth, Spotted Seatrout

Range and Habitat: Found Gulfwide from deep interior estuaries out to 30 feet of water offshore. They are a schooling species, especially when small. They are not particularly attracted to hard bottoms or structure, but tend to be found in areas of current discontinuities.

Identification and Biology: Spotted seatrout have a streamlined body that is dark silvery gray on the back, shading to white below. The upper parts of the fish have an iridescent sheen and have a few to many black spots. The dorsal and tail fin are always spotted. Occasionally, a spotted seatrout is captured with spots only on the fins and not the body. Their mouth is often, but not always, splashed with yellow pigment on the edges and interiors, and 1 or 2 large sharp canine teeth are located at the front of the upper jaw.

That speckled trout move within an estuary on a yearly basis is well known. Typically, they spend their summers in the high-salinity areas in the lower part of an estuary and their winters in the lower salinity waters of the upper estuary. But how far speckled trout move from estuary to estuary or bay to bay is not well known by most fishermen.

Speckled trout tend to live in or near the same bay system all their lives. In 1979, Louisiana researchers tagged over 2,600 specks. Of the 30 returns that they got, 20 came from the tag and release site. Similar Louisiana research published in 1980 and 1982 showed that 90% of tag returns came from within one mile of where the trout were tagged, although another researcher in 1982 noted that two speckled trout tagged in Calcasieu Lake were recovered 96 miles to the east in Atchafalaya Bay.

Texas research results were similar. Results of 20,912 trout tagged in bays between 1975 and 1993 showed 84% of the returns came from the same bay as release. The longest distance traveled by any tagged speckled trout before recovery was 131 miles. Of 588 trout tagged in the Texas Gulf surf, 12 were recovered in the Gulf and 2 in Texas bays.

Other states show similar research results. In Mississippi, 7,423 specks were tagged, with 221 recovered, and 90% of these were recaptured within 5 miles of their release location. In Alabama, 53% of tagged speckled trout showed no movement and the longest distance traveled was under 20 miles. Multiple studies in Florida showed that speckled trout seldom move over 30 miles and that most fish never left the estuary, although one fish tagged in the Apalachicola, Florida area was recovered 315 miles away near Grand Isle, Louisiana.

Spotted seatrout do move seasonally within a bay system, however. During the pre-spawning period of February to early April, speckled trout are scattered throughout the system. By spawning season, May to September, almost all the fish large enough to spawn are concentrated in the higher salinity waters of the lower bays. In October, with the onset of cool fronts, spotted seatrout retreat inland into lower salinity estuaries, where they typically remain well into January or February.

During spawning season, males form drumming aggregations which can number in the hundreds or even thousands of fish. Within these aggregations, each male vibrates his air bladder, producing a croaking sound. When combined with the many other males’ sounds, the result sounds like drumming or roaring. The sound attracts females ready to spawn. Both drumming aggregations and spawning take place in areas 6-165 deep with good tidal flow, such as passes and channels. Spawning begins at sunset and is usually over by midnight.

Speckled trout spawning activity depends on environmental factors such as currents, salinity and temperature. Most spawning activity seems to take place in salinities of 17-35 parts per thousand (ppt). Full strength seawater is 35 ppt. The two most important factors that determine when speckled trout spawn are water temperature and day length. Egg development begins to take place as days become longer in spring. Water temperatures of 68°F seem to trigger spawning, which continues as water temperature increases. Peak spawning takes place between 77°F and 86EF. The cycle of the moon also seems to affect spawning, with spawning peaks occurring on or near the full moons of the spring and summer months. Females may spawn every 7 to 14 days during the April to September spawning period.

Young spotted seatrout grow rapidly, reaching 8 inches by their first birthday and over 12 inches by age 2. Spotted seatrout can live to over 12 years of age. Male trout grow slower and don’t live as long as females. Males don’t reach 14 inches long until 3 or 4 years old. Few males live over 5, so virtually all spotted seatrout 5 pounds and larger are females.

Spotted seatrout are voracious predators, especially in the summer when high spawning activity creates tremendous metabolic demands. Fish under 12-14 inches eat a variety of foods, but more shrimp and other crustaceans than anything else. As they grow, they shift their food preference to fish, first to smaller fish such as silversides and anchovies, then later to larger prey fishes such as mullets, croakers and menhaden.

Size: Typically 1-3 pounds, fish to 5 pounds are not rare, and occasional fish exceed 10 pounds.

Food Value: Very good, excellent when not frozen.

 
Big speck taken on one of our past trips.

Family Sciaenidae, DRUMS
Cynoscion nebulosus

Description: dark gray or green above, with sky blue tinges shading to silvery and white below; numerous distinct round black spots on back, extending to the dorsal fins and tail; black margin on posterior of tail; no barbels; no scales on the soft dorsal fin; one or two prominent canine teeth usually present at tip of upper jaw.

Where found: INSHORE and/or NEARSHORE over grass, sand and sandy bottoms; move into slow-moving or still, deep waters in cold weather.

Size: common to 4 pounds on west coast, larger on east coast.

Louisiana Record: Speckled Trout

Leon Mattes
12 lbs. 6 ozs.
May, 1950

Remarks: matures during first or second year and spawns INSHORE from March through November; often in association with seagrass beds; lives mainly in estuaries and moves only short distances; adults feed mainly on shrimp and small fish; prefers water temperatures between 58 and 81 degrees F and may be killed if trapped in shallow water during cold weather; longevity 8 to 10 years.

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