How to Fish the Chandeleur Islands

Wondering how to fish the Chandeleur Islands? What lures to bring? What kind of cover and structure is available?

We get question after question about how, when, and where it’s best to fish the Chandeleur Islands. We get it. You want to catch as many fish as possible, and that’s what we want, too. Here’s a list of fishing tips that will help you find and catch more fish when you take a trip with us at Chandeleur Charters.

How to fish the Chandeleur Islands

Long drifts over open grass flats are an effective method for locating concentrations of speckled trout at the Chandeleur Islands.

How to Fish the Chandeleur Islands – Tips, Tricks, Tackle, and More

  • Soft-plastics (paddletails, straight-tails, curly tails, etc.) rigged on jigheads are a very versatile and effective presentation at the Chandeleur Islands. The key is finding the proper rigging to account for wind, depth, and the presence of grass. You’ll often be drifting open grass flats. Don’t go too heavy with your jighead so that you spend all your time hung in the grass, but don’t go so light that you can’t cast. A good rule of thumb is to use the lightest jighead that the conditions allow. If you’re not familiar with how to fish soft-plastics, here’s a great video to get you started.

  • Listen to your captain and your deckhands – We’re out here day after day, week after week, and we want you to catch as many fish and have the most enjoyable trip possible. We’re going to do our best to put you in the most productive areas at the most productive times. We won’t steer your wrong.
  • Keying on areas of sand (or “potholes”) on the grassflats is a very effective technique. Try to set up your drifts to go over an area where you can make casts to several sand potholes.
  • Moving tide is the key to finding and catching fish at the Chandeleurs. Check out the picture below and you’ll see a current line created from moving tide. Notice the birds hovering overhead looking for bait. If you find a scene like this, you’re guaranteed to find fish.

Tidal current line

  • Each skiff is equipped with a radio. Use it and work together! Most groups run 4 to 6 skiffs per trip. There’s no reason to be tight-lipped about where you’re finding fish. The groups who work together to spread out over an area and communicate with each other consistently catch more fish and have better trips.
  • Bottom contour is your friend. Humps, semi-submerged islands, tidal cuts, drains, dropoffs—all these types of bottom changes can be fish magnets.
  • Keep your head on a swivel and follow your nose. Look for diving birds (especially seagulls) and “nervous” water or bait. And if you smell something like fresh-cut grass or watermelon, that’s a slick. Speckled trout, and other species, create slicks on the water when they’re feeding heavily. If you smell a slick, try to find where it’s coming from. Once you’ve located it, maneuver upwind from it and drift the area (slowly, if possible). When you get a bite, slow down or drop the anchor, and fish the area thoroughly.

These tips should get you off on the right foot. If you have a specific question about how to fish the Chandeleur Islands that wasn’t answered here, please post it in the comments below and we’ll provide an answer. For you Chandeleur Charters veterans out there, if you’ve got a favorite tip for how to fish the Chandeleur Islands, or a technique you’d like to share, post those in the comments as well.

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