Outdoor Corner: Road Trip!

Lyle Johnson

This may not seem like the best time or weather to talk about fishing without a boat. (weather in the teens) But by the time you read this, the bad stuff will be out of the way and hoping everybody and everything is OK. The water is really high, but I think we’ll miss out on a terrible flood.

A group of excited anglers fishing on one of the bridges along La 1 before Grand Isle.

This winter season has been incredibly good for speckled trout and redfish while fishing off the bank. While this tactic may not be everybody’s cup of tea, it is a good way to catch fish while boatless.

It’s a favorite of mine even though I do own a boat and three kayaks. For one thing, it’s a lot more affordable, a lot less hassle and you’re guaranteed to meet plenty of very interesting folks along the way.

Road fishing does present its own set of challenges. If live bait is needed, that can be difficult to come by in some places, and keeping them alive takes some care as well. Getting a spot to fish can be a problem, but not this time of the year.

One of the great additions for fishing without a boat is fishing piers that are open to the public. In 2017 the Lafourche Parish Council completed the construction of a fishing pier at the Leeville Boat Launch. The pier is handicap accessible and also features a pavilion.

The Port Sulphur Civic Drive Fishing Pier in Plaquemines Parish that opened to the public Jan. 29.

The pier and pavilion represent the second and final phase of the boat launch, which has proven to be a boon for Leeville’s economy since it opened in November 2014. Prior to the public launch, Leeville had a few launches owned by local hotels.

But because of the limited space available, hotels would only let their guests use the launches, leaving recreational anglers from the area out to dry. The launch has created room for more fishermen, including locals with no plans to spend the night, to visit Leeville.

The pier was damaged from the last storm so repairs needed have not allowed for its re-opening just yet. But it is a great pier, fully lighted and just waiting for the fishermen to return. It’s a great place to catch crabs. It is open 24 hrs every day.

Of course the three bridges between Fourchon and Grand Isle are very popular spots as well. They offer plenty of safe parking although they are not lighted so most of the action happens there during the day.

The fishing bridge going over to Grand Isle is lighted so it’s available to fish 24 hrs a day. The State Park at the end of the island has plenty of fishing available as fishing is allowed at the lagoon, pond and in the surf, but a valid Louisiana fishing license is required.

The gulf pier, a 900-foot long public fishing pier with a nearby fish-cleaning station is world class. Crabbing is allowed, but traps should be tagged per LDWF regulations. Day use Admission: $3 per person, free for 62 or over and 3 or younger. 

So the newest project is the Port Sulphur Civic Drive Fishing Pier in Plaquemines Parish. Construction of the new is complete and a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new pier was held Friday, January 29, at 11 a.m. at 410 Civic Drive, Port Sulphur. It is now open to the public free of charge.

Plaquemines Parish administered the project, which included the construction of a wooden fishing pier that includes covered areas and lighting as well as an improved parking area. The new pier features 54 feet of gangway going out to the main section and approximately 185 feet of pier over the water. 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) sweetened the pot by adding $150,000 in funds through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration Program for this project; Plaquemines Parish provided an additional $50,000.

“We chose this project because this area has become a very popular place to fish, and we are always looking for ways to expand fishing opportunities for our residents,” said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet. “This pier provides marsh fishing opportunities for anglers who do not have access to a boat.”

There is also a free public launch adjacent to the new pier. In addition to the public launch, Plaquemines Parish Coastal Resource Department will be adding an additional feature – a living oyster reef. The oyster reef will be added directly under the pier. Completion of the project is set for the end of 2021. 

“The pier gives fishermen great access to salt-water fishing” said John Helmers, Plaquemines Parish Coastal Restoration Director. “We are making great strides in opening up access to the parish's waterfronts. We are so grateful for federal funding, the support of the Parish President, and the support of Councilman Carlton LaFrance in District 7 — where the pier is located.”

Thank you to our state partners, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for their continuous support. Through a pandemic and many obstacles, we were able to work together and see this project to fruition.”

There are more piers in the state available to the public as well. The Sunset Point Fishing Pier in Mandeville is open 24/7, free of charge. The Bonnabel Boat Launch Pier located in Metairie is open 24/7, free of charge. The Frank Davis Pier at the Seabrook Bridge in New Orleans open 24/7, free of charge.

Gonzales’ Greg Hackney pictured with a couple of his 22-06 limit on day 3 of the tournament.

Two of our local area pros fishing the Bassmaster Elites did us proud at St John’s River in Florida. Gonzales’ own Greg Hackney made a great comeback after a Day One catch of 12-07 to finish in second place with 69-14 and a $35,000 payday.

Denham Springs’ Derek Hudnall held second place on Days 1 & 2 but ran out of fish in his area and ended up in ninth place with 63-02. Added to his tie for big bass overall at 9-08 and day 1 big bass he hauled in $17,500 for his efforts.

Prairieville’s Quentin Cappo made the Top 50 with a 42nd place finish of 35-04 and a $10,000 payday. Great job fellas! So until next time, remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you!