Warm Water Fishing is Heating Up :) (5/25/14)

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Many warm water fly fishermen get real excited when the bream start to bed up. This year just hasn’t been a typical year and the bream bite has been really inconsistent.  After tying a bunch of slow-sinking spiders in Alexandria this past week, I was ready to put them to the test. I caught about 8 bream early Saturday morning and then made a short afternoon trip Sunday from 6:30 – 8. I caught 12 bream and one bass this evening on a chartreuse and black spider. I lost another bass that I tried to horse in on the 3 wt. The nicest bream was the long-awaited chinquapin!

Oh, after boiling two sacks of crawfish this afternoon, I sure didn’t feel like cleaning fish. So, these bad boys escaped the hot grease…for now.

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School’s Out for Summer…

Now that school is out for summer, I hope to be able to sneak in a few more fishing trips between “honey-dos” and music camps. I fished Lakes Cotile and Valentine earlier this week with my friend “Catch” Cormier in hopes to land a real trophy bass on the fly rod. All I managed were a couple of sinks and some tiny bream.

This morning, I got up early and headed out to our neighborhood lakes. I caught 4 bass on a variety of flies. The largest came one a crappy candy while I was fishing for bream. The bream bite hasn’t begun yet and I just can’t figure it out. I’m planning on hitting some new spots to see if I can get a bass entry in the Massey’s Tournament.

I was the guest tier at the Kisatchie Fly Fishers Meeting this week. It was great meeting some new faces. I hope those guys are able to catch a lot of bream on the slow-sinking spiders I showed them. I was able to catch about a dozen small ones this morning on the spider, but I’m still waiting for the bull bream to start eating with reckless abandon. 🙂

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Grand Isle Weekend

I took a trip down to the coast with good friend and fellow teacher Neil Borel. Neil brings a camper down to the island each year and keeps it down there from about mid-May until mid-July. I got him into kayak fishing a couple of years ago and we were both real excited to get an early jump on the summer trout fishing.

We got a relatively late start Saturday morning because the wind was blowing 10-13 and the water was dirty. Also, we didn’t have straps for Neil’s kayak so he was going to drop me off and then use my vehicle to bring his boat back out. I paddled a short distance to one of my favorite points in the marsh and only caught one undersized speckled trout on a chartreuse Charlie under a VOSI. There were minnows,  huge mullet, and pokeys everywhere but no signs of feeding trout. I decided to make the paddle toward some bays that I’ve fished before that are full of oysters. I began to sight fish for redfish but the ones I saw were spooked as the dirty water and fairly stiff wind made it nearly impossible to sneak up on the fish.

Just when it looked like my morning was going to end in a skunk, I noticed a couple of sheepshead feeding in some shallow water to my right directly over an oyster bed. As I passed them up I thought to myself, “ah, what the heck. They are always fun on a fly rod if I can get them to eat.” At that moment, a long bronze-backed fish made its presence known among the oysters…and another. I was paddling with the wind and I was going so fast it took me some time to react. I did my best to stealthily paddle my way back to the spot and I set my stake out pole down to keep me from drifting. I put my gold spoon-fly a foot in front of the first redfish and I watched it attack it very angrily. I’ve learned from experience not to set the hook like I’m bass fishing with plastic worms. It didn’t matter. The minute the fish realized it was hooked, it started thrashing its head like and angry bull and it broke my tippet right where it connects to the leader. That’s the first time a fish has broke me off at the double surgeon’s knot. 😦

I quickly tied on another spoon-fly (well as quickly as I could because my hands were still shaking from the excitement of the last fish) and went to work on the rest of this little stretch of bank. I spotted another cruising redfish and a couple of casts later, a perfect eat. This monster gave me a sleigh ride that included a circle around a small island, several circles around my kayak, and finally a run-in with the rope on a crab trap. After all that I managed to land the 27.5 inch red.Image

Since we didn’t have any food for lunch and I had all the makings for fresh ceviche, I decided to keep the fish. I also figured thatafter the long fight and the extended time out of the water (to get pics for the Massey’s Tournament this fish wasn’t going to make it. We ended up filleting the fish and one slab went on the barbecue pit while the other was used to make an outstanding ceviche!

I fished the area for a couple more hours and played cat-and-mouse with a couple of redzillas! These redfish had to be in excess of 25 pounds! I saw the tails first and then I saw the enormous girth on them. I did get one to eat a spoon-fly. It was an weird experience. I was sight casting to a smaller red on my left side when I noticed a comotion about 10 feet to my right. There sitting still in a couple feet of water was redzilla! My legs were literally shaking and I thought I was going to spook the thing. I managed several canepole-type casts but it didn’t seem interested at all. Then on my third or fourth cast, it made a deliberate swish of its tail toward my fly and I knew he had eaten it.  It took off like a torpedo. Fly line was flying through my guide holes and I was dancing in my kayak as I tried not to let the line get tangled around my feet!  AND I tried not to fall out of the kayak! Then it just stopped…kind of like a stingray. As I got closer to it, it took off again and stopped.  I would take up slack but it wouldn’t budge. Then it would make another run for about 20 or 30 yards and stop again. Finally after about 10 minutes into the fight, the hook came out of the fish’s mouth. Oh well. What an encounter! At about 2 PM, I had had enough and I called it quits for the day.

We ended up having supper and attended the Black and Gold Tournament festivities sponsored by Stan Brock. Stan is a former offensive lineman for the Saints and a former coach for the United States Military Academy (Army). Stan hosts this fishing tournament each year in Grand Isle for the last four years and all proceeds go to his Green Beret and Navy Seal foundations. Festivities included a live band, food (which we didn’t need any of) $2 beers, and…let’s just say… I wasn’t able to drive north to meet my buddies at the “catch-and-eat” social that the Red Stick Fly Fishers were putting on.

Neil decided to sleep in Saturday morning so I got up and headed to the same spots I had fished Saturday. The water was a little clearer and the wind was a little calmer but the fish still weren’t cooperating. I did manage a couple of trout on topwater (one on a popper and the other on a Mirolure). I then went to the spots where I saw the reds yesterday. I chased a couple more “redzillas” but they spooked real easy and I wasn’t able to get any one of them to eat. I did manage to catch one 18 inch redfish before heading in early to clean up and prepare for the long drive home.

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The Post Spawn is Here!

One of my favorite times of the year to fish bass is during the post spawn. The big sows have dropped their eggs, the fishing pressure is almost nonexistent, and…well SCHOOL IS ALMOST OUT for the summer! So, I’ve got time to get on the water. With the heavy rains we’ve had lately, some of the local public areas I fish are basically non-fishable with a fly rod. Not to mention, the wind has been pretty fierce too. So, I take walks in my neighborhood for exercise. That’s right. There’s nothing like a very brisk walk in the neighborhood (about 2 miles round trip). I usually carry my fly rod to protect myself against vicious canines.Image
If there are no pooches to ward off, I usually find a spot or two to cast for some ‘gills.  I’ve had some success as of late and even have caught a bass or two, which are loads of fun on a 3 wt.

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Today, I got out on the lake with my kayak and was able to pick up three nice bass in about an hour. The first one hit a small, size 10 blue and white popper that I tied and use to target bream. The bream weren’t on today but I did manage a nice 14 inch bass on it.Image

A little while later, I noticed a commotion in the middle of the lake. It was the tell-tale sign of bass ambushing shad near the top of the water column. I tied on a shad fly (google up Cheech’s low-fat minnow) that I tied a while back and had a fish swipe at it on my first cast. Second cast…bam! 15 inch bass on! Sorry, picture didn’t come out. I figured that spot was done so I began working an adjacent back near it when I heard some more commotion coming from where I had just landed a nice bass. I figured it was worth a try and two casts later, I was fighting a 2.7 pound bass that was just a bit over 19 inches on the ruler!  The camera did work for this one.Image
With all the foam on the lake, that fly sure does get dirty quick. I’m going to have to tie a few more of those flies if the bass continue to pound the shad in the neighborhood lakes. Meanwhile, I’m looking to hit a few new spots where I can actually enter a bass on the fly division of the Massey’s tournament.

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The bream are officially on the beds

After work today I did a buddy of mine a favor and brought my yak over to his pond where he was trying to install an aerator. We put the aerator on the front hatch of my kayak and I paddled out to the middle of his pond, where I eased it down into the water. He is hoping that this aerator will help to end the “dead zone” we think is in his pond. Those of you who follow this blog may remember that I have caught some pretty skinny, tiny bass in this pond and have not caught anything over 13 or 14 inches in there. I’ve even caught some bass during the summer that look like they don’t even have a stomach.  Well, after installing the aerator and getting it turned on I decided not to pass on an opportunity to fish one of my slow sinking spiders. The slow sinking spider (with a twist) is one of my fly-tying buddies, Stephen Robert’s, creations. I tied a few over the winter in blue and in orange and I’ve been looking for an opportunity to harass some bluegill with them.

Well, my tally for the hour and a half I fished was 13 bass (up to 13 inches) and 15 fat bluegill…12 REALLY nice ones! I’m sorry I didn’t get any pictures. I left my memory card in my computer during my last upload and was out there with a camera without any memory.

After dinner with my wife and our friends, a cold stout, and good music and conversation, we spoke about having me come over one day next week to catch some bream for a fish fry! Some of these big girls were fillet sized!

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