Time for some freshwater fishing!

I joined my buddy, Glen “Catch” Cormier for a morning trip to Black Lake, near Mauripas. We were greeted with a beautiful morning. We saw three deer as we were leaving our neighborhood and I saw a flock of about two dozen wild turkeys on the way too. I wish I could have gotten a picture of that! Anyway the fishing was slow (high pressure, bluebird morning). I did manage a nice stringer of 15 fish (12 sacalait and 3 goggle-eye bream). I was able to get a quart sized bag of fillets for dinner. Looking forward to another trip like this soon.

  I saw this big boy today too. He was resting after having eaten. There’s a big bulge in his abdomen.

Catching fish with Catch Cormier!

This Fish and Game Report is brought to you by Spoonfly.  Tie one on when the redfish are tailing and you won’t be disappointed!

Last Saturday, Glen “Catch” Cormier and I headed down to the LA 1 marsh to do some kayak fly-fishing for our favorite salt-water species, redfish and speckled trout.  Both of us were determined to catch fish on the fly rods, so we left our spinning and bait-casting rigs home and only brought the “buggy whips.” Conditions were going to be light to moderate winds from the south, southeast, and we expected water conditions to be smooth and clear, perfect for fly-fishing.  I was reminded early on that Cormier’s rule number one is: Clear water favors the fly fisherman!

It wasn’t clear to us at first just where we would fish. We had several options, which included Bason’s in Galiano, the Golden Meadow public launch (Catfish Lake area), or the sand pits south of Fourcheon.  Catch said that Divine Intervention would make the decision for us, and after I made a U-turn (I passed up the launch) we thought that the Good Lord was beckoning us to fish Bason’s.  The water was pristine, with very little boat traffic when we launched.

For those of you who are familiar with the area, we turned left by the first houseboat and fished the marsh in that area to the back, by the levee.  The water was pretty low and we fished a falling tide all morning. Right away, Catch started seeing some tailing reds. It wasn’t long before he was hooked up with a nice redfish on a coma spoon. I was fishing with a chartreuse Charlie. Catch suggested I switch to a spoon fly because the water was so low, we would need something that wasn’t so heavy and wouldn’t dig into the muddy bottom and spook the fish. Well, with Catch’s reputation and years of experience, he didn’t have to tell me twice.  Within ten minutes of making the switch to a gold spoon fly that I tied last summer, I was hooked up to my first redfish. Meanwhile, Catch put two more of those perfect eating sized reds (you know, the ones that are between 18 – 24 inches long) in the kayak. I had some catching up to do. Later that morning, I was paddling some shallow bay flats when I saw about four tails “teasing” me in one area. I quietly paddled as stealthily as I could to get close to the feeding redfish. I got one of them to eat my fly but I lost it soon after I hooked up. The commotion spooked all the other fish in the area so I continued to work that area looking for tails and signs of feeding fish.  I did get to a spot that had a lot of nervous baitfish and I located a couple of tailing reds. I couldn’t get the first one to eat but the second one was a textbook hookup. I soon landed my second redfish, another perfect eating sized 20 inch red. I then figured that Catch had caught a couple more and I paddled over to him to watch him land his fourth redfish of the day. I caught two more; lost two more, spooked several more, and had one break my line shortly after I set the hook.

I decided to follow Catch and learn from the master. To watch him work is a thing of beauty. He makes casting look so effortless and he can spot a tailing redfish a hundred feet away from him. It reminds me of my brother-in-law, Eric, who can spot a bullfrog at night with a spotlight simply by seeing his green back through thick green duckweed!

My most exciting catch of the day came next, as I saw a huge redfish working a very shallow line of marsh.  The water must have been three inches deep and the fish was “backing” out of the water as it was cruising the grass line, looking to gobble up baby crabs and shrimp. I slowly eased my kayak nearer and nearer to the hungry redfish, only to have him back out of the shallow water and disappear into some somewhat deeper water. He soon reappeared on the other side of this little cut and was hugging the bank as I got closer and closer. All the while, my heart started beating faster and faster. I started casting to the red but I couldn’t get my fly close enough to interest the big brute. I continued to ease my way closer to it, trying not to spook it. After having several unsuccessful attempts to sneak up on feeding reds earlier that morning, I was determined not to spook this one. Finally, I knew I was in range and I put my gold spoon-fly within 10 inches of its nose. The redfish did a textbook swirl and viciously attacked my fly. I set the hook hard and the fight was on. By now, my heart was racing and I knew that Glen was trying to get some pictures of me fighting a redfish so I yelled to him that I had a fish on. It was too funny, because Glen lost sight of me as the big redfish took me on a Cajun sleigh ride further into the marsh. I fought that redfish for at least five minutes before I was able to net it. It was a glorious end to a great battle and I felt like I had defeated a very worthy opponent. I estimated it to be around 26 inches, and Musicdoc’s rule of thumb is:  I don’t keep any redfish over 24 inches unless I’m trying to win a tournament. So, I took some pictures and released the fish to fight again another day.

Glen ended up catching a few more (another big one that we released) and then we decided to try to catch some specs in a deeper canal. I switched to a chartreuse Charlie and fished it under a VOSI (vertical oriented strike indicator). I was able to land two specs, one of them a nice 16-incher within a few minutes, and I put my anchor pole out. Naturally, the minute I put my anchor pole out, the bite would turn off. Glen caught a small one and we continued to both play “catch-and-release the small ones” until we had caught 8 keeper specs between us. By then, it was 2 o-clock and we decided we needed to head on in so we could watch the Saints’ playoff game. On the paddle back in, we both talked about how blessed we were to live in a place where access to these beautiful natural resources was so easy. God is good to us and we are blessed in many ways!

So to recap: We launched our kayaks out of Basons’ marina and we ended up with two limits of redfish (actually 8 because we each release a large one to fight another day) and 8 specs.  The winds were light (from the south, southeast), the water was shallow and clear, and we fished a falling tide all morning. We sight casted to all our redfish and caught them on spoon-flies.  The specs were caught under a chartreuse Charlie or a white and chartreuse clouser under a VOSI.

Welcome 2012!

Happy New Year to all our kayakers and fly fishers out there. I was reminiscing about last year’s goals and accomplishments and what I want to achieve (kind of like my fly fishing bucket list) for this upcoming year. Please post your thoughts and ideas, along with pictures!

1. Catch a limit of redfish on my fly rod. Haven’t done that. Hope to catch more than 2 (my personal best) on the fly this year.

2. Catch a Cajun saltwater slam on the fly. I’ve caught a spec and a red on the same trip. Just can’t catch the all elusive flounder on the fly.

3. Catch a bull red on the fly. Hope to do that this year. My PB is 26 inches.

4. Catch a freshwater slam (my slam was bass, bream, and catfish; achieved this year) Hope to catch a bass, bream, and sacalait on the fly in the same trip this year.

5. Catch a limit of specs on the fly (achieved in 2010 and 2011)

6. Catch my first Rios on the fly

My first Rio

7. Catch an offshore species in my kayak (achieved when I caught a snapper in my yak this past summer)

Master Angler Submission

8. Turn more young people on to our sport. I almost have LSU shortstop, Austin Nola, ready to get into bassin’ with a fly rod.

Christmas Holiday Circuit, Part Tres

I made a trip down to Terrebonne Parish with my good friend and fishing buddy, Buddhaman, Friday morning.  The weatherman had called for strong winds (10 – 15 mph) but I hadn’t fished with him in a while and was looking forward to fishing in his Gheenoe for some reds. John had called me the day before and boasted of how he had caught a limit of redfish on topwater the day before…in 20 minutes!  I was looking forward to duplicating the feat on my fly rod with poppers.

We met at John’s house at 7 AM and made the short car ride to the “Red Gate,” where we launched and began our half-hour ride to his honey hole. We stopped at a spot to fish for specs first and I tied on a chartreuse Charlie (under a VOSI). After not getting a hit for 10 minutes we proceeded to his redfish spot. I left my Charlie on and was greeted by a 23 inch redfish after my third cast. Both of us thought that it would be “on” for a while. Well, I fished for another half hour before getting another hit. This one was a nice fat one (about 21 inches). Buddha proceeded to fish with a spinnerbait and began getting hit after hit. He caught his limit of five during the next couple of hours. I tried sight fishing to a couple of tailing reds but couldn’t get them to eat. We spooked lots of redfish but I just couldn’t get them to eat. The water was a bit more stained than the water I had been fishing down in Leeville. The wind picked up and there was no tide movement to speak of.

I finally put down the fly rod and broke out my commie tackle and caught my third and final redfish of the day on a spinnerbait. Overall, I had a blast fishing with a good friend, took a few fillets home with me to end the year 2011. I took some video, but it didn’t make the Musicdoc cut for editing. I did manage one picture with my largest redfish of the day caught on the fly rod.