Spent the morning with a good friend

Well, the weatherman heard my complaints and provided us with a simply fabulous morning. It felt like spring with a sun-filled sky that started off at about 45 degrees. Things quickly warmed up in the mid 50’s by the time I arrived a a good friend’s house with 18 shiners, an ultra light rod and reel, and my 3 wt.

For several years now, I’ve been telling my friend that he is sitting on a gold mine of a fishery, for in his back yard lies the best sacalait fishing per acre that I have ever fished! I usually fish there once a year during my spring break and I’ve caught some of the most beautiful slabs within a hundred yards of his back door!

Merriam-Webster gives this explanation of the word sacalait,  “Louisiana French sac-à-lait, by folk etymology (influence of French sac bag, French à to, for, and French lait milk) from Choctaw saki trout”) So the literal translation is bag of milk. This refers to the white fillets of these fish, which make it some of the best-eating fish in fresh water. The rest of the country just calls them crappie.

This morning, I set out to teach my buddy how to catch these fish on ultra-light tackle and on the fly rod. You know the old adage, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and…his wife can get rid of him for weekends at a time. 🙂  After about 45 minutes of explanation about flies, strike indicators, knots, hook sizes, depth, and many other things to consider (like is it too early to bring beer with us) we set out in his two-man $50 john boat. My plan was to find them with the live shiners and then catch them with flies. It should be easy enough. Right?

Well he goes and breaks the ice by catching one on a beetle spin. It was lots of fun on his little ultra-light and we estimated the fish to be about a 14-inch slab!  Meanwhile, I figured we had found them and I began chunking my fly rod and he puts another one in the boat on the beetle spin. I actually had a live shiner in the water while I fished with my fly rod and right about then, my cork disappeared. We had three nice slabs flapping on the bottom of the boat and no bucket, stringer, or anything to put them in. No problem, since we are still about 50 yards from his back door. After getting a stringer, we got back on them and I caught another one before he hooked some structure where we were catching them and the bite shut down. We paddled down about 20 yards from our initial honey hole and I started catching more on shiners. So, off with the beetle spin and on with a hook, lead split-shot, and a cork and my buddy was soon catching fish. Things slowed down a bit until we eased on over where that structure was and we put three more big ones on the stringer.

So the morning’s catch looked like this:FullSizeRender

13 nice slabs. By the way, I weighed the stringer and we had over 12 pounds of fish there! We enjoyed a beautiful morning on the water. The camaraderie was great and my friend was ecstatic that he now knows how to target those gamefish in his back yard. He and I plan on hitting some water south of Houma soon to target some more of these “bags of milk.” Stay tuned!

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Spring Break, 2015

It’s been a very busy spring for me at work. I enjoy what I do, so I’m definitely not complaining, but it has limited my fishing this year. No worries, though, because I’m blessed to have friends who have fishable waters in their back yard who allow me to escape for an hour or two when I get the chance. These waters have been very productive this year and have given me lots of action on my fly rod!

I made a quick trip to my cousin’s this past Thursday and was able to land 13 bass (lost about 4 fiddling with my camera), and a nice stringer of 10 crappie (sacalait) and bream (chinquapin). This is my last “hold out” spot for sacalait and I usually am able to catch a few during the Easter break each year. The sacalait really weren’t in full swing yet but I did manage to boat 6 that will be visiting a skillet of hot grease very soon. All the bream and sacalait were caught on a black and chartreuse fluff butt under a VOSI. What was really surprising to me was the number of bass I caught on the fluff butt. Of the 13 bass I landed, I probably caught 10 of them on the fluff butt. The three others were caught on a fire tiger popper. These were also the largest bass (most over 14 inches) I’ve caught to date, with the largest measuring at 17 and-a-half inches. You’ve got to love the bass spawning season! I hope to get out again before my trip to Orlando next week.

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Large Fish of the day
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These will make a good fish fry soon!

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Bass Bonanza

Now that the sacalait season is just about over (I have one more last ditch hope to pick up a small mess of the beautiful white slabs of goodness), my thoughts have turned to catching bass on my fly rod. I hooked a very nice bass a couple of weeks ago while targeting sacalait and I caught another nice one that swallowed my strike indicator and I actually foul-hooked it when I pulled the strike indicator out of its mouth. I also saw small bass feeding on tiny dragonflies and so I realized that the fish were looking up. I think my favorite way to catch fish, other than purely sight fishing for them is watching them hit a topwater popper.
I decided to make a couple stops after school to get an hour or two of fishing in-between having to fix supper and take care of school paperwork. On Monday, I managed to catch 4 bass in the neighborhood lake. On Wednesday, however, my trip to a friend’s backyard pond yielded 27 bass between 10 – 13 inches. Even though they were small, there were tons of fun. In fact, I scored a trifecta as I was able to catch a big fat catfish, the bass, and several bream. That will have to hold me for a while but I do plan on making one last trip to catch a few sacalait (crappie) to make one last fish fry before Easter.

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A Little Rain Never Hurt Anyone!

I had a little time before heading home to fix supper this evening so I ventured over to the neighboring neighborhood lake to see if I could catch Friday’s lenten supper. Under a light drizzle, I worked the bank for about a half hour. I had told myself that I would only keep a half dozen sacalait for a meal and the good Lord obliged me. 🙂  I found the fish all in one spot near some downed limbs and they all ate a size 8 chartreuse and black fluff butt under a VOSI. On the way back to the car, I was stopped by the neighborhood “rent-a-cop,” who informed me that the lake wasn’t actually MY neighborhood lake. I have two very good friends who told me that if ever I got stopped, to tell the officer that I was their guest. Well, the guy didn’t buy that. Even when I told him I was a guest of the guy who actually built the neighborhood, he kindly asked me to leave. Oh well, it was good while it lasted. Next time, I’ll park in my buddy’s driveway and launch my kayak in the lake.

3:11:15 sacalait