My absolute favorite time to get to the Louisiana marshes for some kayak fishing has got to be the fall. It’s a period of transition. The cool fronts that we get down here send a message to the speckled trout to make their annual migration inland to the marshes where they spend the winter months “chilling” out until they are ready to make their run to the coast in late spring to begin to spawn. This time can be feast of famine, depending on that weather. A series of windy, rain weekends has put a damper on my fishing until yesterday.
Although I got a call from a buddy of mine who was going to join me saying that he had to bail (something about taking his mother out for lunch for her birthday), I was determined to take advantage of the only day when the wind wasn’t going to be blowing 10 – 15 mph for the next week (my Thanksgiving vacation). I left Baton Rouge at 4 AM and was on the water by 6:15 in Leeville, at a favorite spot of mine that I hadn’t fished in two years. By 6:20, I was already getting blowups on a popper ! The speckled trout, aka, spotted sea trout, were feeding on small minnows we call “butter beans.” I don’t know the real name for them (they aren’t cocahoe minnows). They are small and are shaped like a butter bean.
Anyway, by 7 o’clock, I had four nice specs in my cooler and I had released 10 other undersized fish.
I changed to a Lafleur Charlie under a VOSI and paddled to another of my “hot spots” where knew there would be bigger fish. I wasn’t disappointed. I caught some nicer fish and started culling out the smaller, 12 and 13-inch fish for the 14 inch and above trout.
The fish stopped biting at around 8 so I moved on to some other spots to see if I could get them biting again. For about an hour or so, things slowed down a bit. I caught a bunch of undersized fish and only put one more in the boat. By now, I had about 15 trout in my ice chest so I knew the day was a success. Additionally, I had a 16-inch trout that I was going to submit to our CPR tournament (which finishes up at the end of the month).
I then switched to a darker colored Charlie and it was on. Nearly every cast produced a fish. I told myself I would stop keeping fish at the “Cormier Limit,” a self-imposed limit of 18. After this, I would only keep fish larger than 14 inches. Well, as my luck would have it, I kept catching 14, 15, and 16 inch fish. I had promised one of my co-workers some fish, so I didn’t mind keeping the extra fish to clean. I tried switching flies to target redfish but I couldn’t get to the redfish without a trout hammering my spoon fly. I saw a couple of blowups on the bank near some grass that I thought were redfish so I cast toward the bank, only to have a big trout inhale it!
I continued to push-pole my way through the marsh looking for signs of redfish but the overcast sky, the high water, and the breeze were not going to let me target redfish this day. I did catch, tag, and release a 13-inch redfish that was chasing bait along with the trout. I finished the morning with a Louisiana limit (25), all on the fly rod. The Lafleur Charlie, a pattern developed by a fellow Red Stick Fly Fisherman, Mike Lafleur, was my most productive fly.