I managed several “firsts” this past weekend. First on my list was the opportunity to spend the day fishing with a long-time friend and fly fishing guru, Glen “Catch” Cormier. Glen is the guy that got me into kayak fishing and fly-fishing. We were going to fish a tournament in New Orleans (well Kenner really) for a new species to me, the Rio Grande Cichlid. Since being dumped into canals in the greater New Orleans area by pet storeowners, this only American native of the Cichlid family has thrived in urban canals and pond where predation from bass is low. When you see the pictures of the drainage canal where we caught some of these you will understand how intrigued with the idea of fishing in an urban environment was to me… especially with the fly rod and targeting a really beautiful species of fish.
The morning was a gorgeous day to be outside enjoying God’s beautiful creation. We probably began fishing around 9 AM in Lafreniere Park after visiting with several members of the fly fishing club down in New Orleans. Right off the bat, I was getting “schooled” by Catch, as he started catching bream right and left. I finally got in on the action. The fish were hitting fluff butts under a VOSI (small cork strike indicator). As the sun got higher in the sky and the morning warmed up, I changed to an all white fluff butt. I started picking up some small bass and several sacalait (crappie). Neither Catch nor I were able to weigh any Rios during the tournament. Glen suggested a great place to pick up a poboy and rest before hitting several drainage canals that he knew would hold fish.
After lunch, we hit three or four drainage canals and picked up a few of the elusive Rios. Glen missed a really nice one that broke him off and he missed a really nice carp. I caught several more bass, bream, and I caught my first Rio! I nearly hooked a carp and I got a large garfish to strike my VOSI. It’s really cool to catch a new specie of fish. I’m looking forward to another trip with Catch soon…most likely to catch some redfish and specs…something with a “little more hair on its chest.”