Catch a summer pumpkin, get the monkey off my back = Redemption!

This summer’s salt water fishing has been feast or famine for me. My salt water trips have found me scratching my head as I have had serious wind issues, high water issues, and clumsy fisherman issues 🙂 Some of my trips have seemed like a comedy of errors as I spook fish with my presence in the boat, my rod, or errant casts! I had a chance to end the comedy this weekend and put together a good fishing trip in the marshes near Bayou Dularge. 

Actually, this entry in my blog begins with my trip from three weeks ago so I’ll start there. My cousin and her husband recently purchased a camp down in Theriot, Louisiana. Three weeks ago, I made a trip down there and brought both kayaks so their 19-year-old son could get a chance to do some kayak fishing. The area we fished is about a 5 or 6 minute paddle behind their camp. When we first tried this area three weeks ago, I managed to loose a really nice redfish on my commie tackle…twice! I was fishing a ribbit frog over the grass mats when I hooked a very large redfish. It dug into some vegetation and snapped my line some  20 feet from the fish. Every who knows me knows that I hate loosing fish! When I saw my broken line running through the water, I paddled up to it, grabbed it, and started reeling the fish in by hand ( “Old Man and the Sea). Well, the dog-gone fish broke my line again. At this point, I’m thinking the line is defective but I bought this line brand-new last week! Meanwhile, my 19-year-old cousin caught his first redfish in a kayak! After snapping a couple of pictures of my cousin, I continued to fish the with my ribbit frog. The wind was blowing 10-15 and we both had to put our anchor poles out in order to fish. Well, my comedy of errors continues as I hooked the anchor rope on a back cast and got the biggest backlash of my life! 

So now I’m relegated to using my fly rod for the rest of the morning in that wind. I tried letting the wind push me over the grass beds as I tried to locate lurking redfish in the holes between the grass mats. I managed to spook a few and I even got one to eat, but I set the hook way too hard and it snapped my tippet instantly. After I retied, I was able to catch 3 undersized redfish and one 17 inch redfish before the weather got ugly and we paddled back to the camp. Meanwhile, my cousin became hooked on kayak fishing as he caught 3 nice slot sized redfish that morning on the ribbit frog!

So, flash forward to this past weekend. I drove down there Friday afternoon and we enjoyed some shrimp spaghetti, a couple of cold brews, and a good game of cards before hitting the sack. Before going to bed, we made the decision not to head to the beaches to try for trout, so my young cousin and I paddled out to our redfish spot early Saturday morning. The water was high, the grass had gotten thicker, but the wind was only blowing 5-10 and I was determined to get the monkey off my back. After all, I brought with me to the camp, ingredients to make a delicious redfish ceviche! We were just going to have to catch fish! Five minutes into our fishing I hooked a nice redfish on the ribbit frog. It dug into some grass and all I ended up with was about five pounds of salad 😦 Meanwhile, my cousin continued his winning ways as he caught a good 18 inch redfish. Two casts later, I hooked an even bigger redfish and…it broke my line. So now I’m saying to myself, “the good Lord just doesn’t want me to use my bait caster.” So, I put the bait caster down and used only my fly rod. After about another half hour or so, I was cruising the grass beds when I saw my first pumpkin. I made a perfect cast and I got it to eat my spoon fly. I set the hook and watched it run. It dug into some grass and …. gone.  Wow! I can’t buy a break! 

One of the funny things about fishing with 19-year-olds is they are still guided by their stomachs. Hunger pains got the best of my young fishing partner and he headed back to the camp with his one fish. I was determined not to get shut out so I headed deeper into the marsh away from the main canal. The deeper I went, the more grass I found, but the clearer the water became. As my good friend, Catch Cormier states in his fly fishing laws, “Rule no. 1 – clear water favors the fly fisherman.” So, I elected to stay with the clear water. I spooked a couple more redfish but I got to see so much more. I saw tons of bait fish, crabs, 12 inch bass, young fingerling bass, garfish, puppy drum, and even an albino mullet. I saw a couple more pumpkin (redfish) but I couldn’t get them to eat. Either the clouds would block the sun and I’d lose sight of the fish or they would duck under some grass and I’d lose them. Finally, I saw this one redfish (it was facing me) in a pocket between some grass. I put a cast about a foot to its right, let my fly wobble down a few inches and made a couple of fish-teasing strips. I watched the redfish flare its gills and inhale the fly. I set the hook and bam! The fight was on. It tried to lose me as it darted out into some thick grass, did a 360 a couple of times, went under my kayak, and got tangled in more grass. I think the weight of the grass on my line and on its nose finally wore the darned thing out. Finally! Redemption! The fish wasn’t a monster at 22 and a half inches but it was my first redfish on the fly rod in a very long time. 

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The catch of the weekend actually came on Sunday morning. Heavy storms kept us land-locked early on. When the rain let up, I offered my kayak to my cousin’s girlfriend. The two of them were able to fish for about 45 minutes before we were hit with some more bad weather. However, she caught her first redfish in a kayak (on the ribbit frog) and it measured 28 and a half inches. It weighed 8.95 pounds and had a fresh, full-sized, soft-shelled crab in its stomach! What a pig! Now, she’s hooked on kayak fishing too. By the way, the ceviche from Saturday’s fish was simply amazing!

School starts for me tomorrow, so my fishing (and blog entries) will be limited.

 

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