First of all, any day on the water is a good day…whether one catches fish or not. I almost titled this post, “worst day on the water in many years.” But there were many things that made Saturday a good day…catching quality fish just wasn’t one of them.
The morning began at my brother, Keith’s, house at 4 am where we loaded my kayak into his van. He fishes out of a pirogue and I have to give him credit. Back when I owned a bay boat, he would always tell me about all the fish he would catch out of his pirogue. His pirogue is rigged with a trolling motor and he looks like quite a sight when he gets that thing cranked up and moving in open water. The water line goes right up to the gunnel on his pirogue and you’d swear he would capsize out of that thing quite often. I think he’s only sunk it once and that was when a stink pot left a huge wake that sunk him in no time. Anyway, Keith and I are a year and two days apart and we grew up fishing and hunting a lot together. We are both competitive outdoorsmen and neither of us likes to get out fished by the other. It’s been quite a while (maybe over 2 years) since we’ve fished together and I was really looking forward to spending a day on the water with him. We left Baton Rouge with lofty expectations because the wind was going to be relatively calm all morning, blowing lightly from the west, and the tide was going to be falling hard all morning. Keith would be fishing soft plastics all day while I would be tossing flies at them.
We watched the sun try to peak through the fog as we crossed the high rise bridge in Leeville and my brother and I got really excited to see the calm water over the marsh in the are. In fact, I had to tell him a few times to quit looking for redfish hitting in the marsh and keep his eyes on the road! We launched our paddle craft around the Bay Laurier area in a heavy fog. Keith, just as he would do when we were kids, ventured off on his own because he heard some redfish crashing bait real close to the road. I was anxious to hit my usual spots that had been so productive the last three trips down there. Meanwhile I heard some redfish chasing bait on a bank and I began tossing a popper at them. I saw what looked like four or so redfish right up against the grass. I had one redfish attack my popper right as I was lifting it up out the water to toss it back out in front of the pod. When the fish missed, all hell broke lose. The rest of the pod took off and scattered. That was an omen for more things to come.
Ten minutes later, as I was poling through some flats, I saw a large pod of redfish moving toward me. There were at least a dozen or so in the group and I put a gold spoon fly two feet in front of them. Perfect cast right? Wrong. The minute they saw the fly they split up like a bunch of roaches when you turn the lights on. They left a muddy mess of the 11 or so inches of water they were in. I continued to pursue redfish for the bulk of the morning with the same results. I would spot a fish or two…or three or four. Make a perfect cast (remember there was no wind) and they would either go around the fly or they would scatter like crazy. Then there were the ones that I would sneak up on and not see until they were about 10 feet from my kayak. The minute I would lift my rod or move an inch, they would flee. I tell you if I didn’t see 50 redfish that morning, I didn’t see a one!!! It was very frustrating, to scythe least. I tried several different flies (clousers, charlies, poppers, and in different colors) but they all ended in the same futile result.
I called my brother and he said that he had two bites, hooked one nice redfish but lost it at the boat. By about 10:30, the wind started to pick up and my sight fishing took a turn for the worst. I did hit a few areas that were protected from the wind but nothing was doing. I also saw about 30 or so stingrays that morning too. In fact, I witnessed something I hadn’t seen before. On two occasions I saw a redfish that seemed to be following a stingray. Like he was waiting for the ray to stir something up off the bottom and then steal it from the slower stingray. After spooking one of them I found the same redfish about 20 yards away following what looked to be the same stingray.
So, about noon, I decided to try to target some speckled trout in deeper water. I did manage to catch two undersized trout on a charlie under a VOSI, but by now, my brother was ready to call it a day. When we got back to the car, we both remarked that we had never had such a bleak day of catching fish…not in a very, very, long time. Neither of us could figure it out. The water was clear (probably too clear), the tides were good, and the wind was very light. I figure they fed all night on the full moon.
Well, since there were no fish caught that were camera worthy, I’ll just insert a picture from a more successful trip with my brother and my daughter. I can’t get on the water for another two weeks but I hope the next time the fish will be in a eating mood.