Hopedale, LA 1-5-2021

Wind: 0-10 mph from NNW, high in the morning, dropped to nil in the afternoon

Tide: 1 ft. range dropping to -0.5 ft based on Shell Beach station. Actually much lower. Low was forecast ~ 3 pm.

Water Level: a foot below grass line to start start, fell 2.5 ft. below average.

Water Temperature: ~57 F to start, up to 61 F

Water Clarity: pretty clean in canals, but dirty in the ponds.

Water salinity: did not check, likely very fresh

Weather/sky: sunny, no clouds

Temperature: ~62 F for high

Moon: 1/2 waning

Solunar period: minor period around noon   

Launch in and out: slipped the Hobie Compass in about 7:30 a.m., out at 4:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 9 miles

Other fishers: solo    

Gear: 3 #8 weight fly rods

Flys: pink Charlie, Waldner’s spoon fly (LSU colors), and white laser minnow 

Strategy/ patterns: fish deep for trout, sight fish for redfish  

I tried one duck pond and saw fish on the Lowrance at the mouth where it joined a canal. The fish must have been pushed out of the pond due to low water but I could not trigger a bite. Might have just been mullet.

I went about a half mile to another pond and located fish in the bayou that ran to the pond but again no bites. These deep spots in the bends of the bayou tend to hold trout. I have not been able to get them to bite in the morning but they seem to get going in the afternoon when it gets warmer.

I stood up and sight fished cuts off the pond but could not spot anything but gar and large mullet. Naturally, the leeward end of the pond had cleaner water and it became more turbid as I moved downwind. After a hundred yards or so I couldn’t see anything on the bottom and the water was only about 1.5-2 feet deep. It was looking like this trip might be a skunk.

About noon I tried going up a bayou into another pond in the upwind direction in search of cleaner water. I was standing and poling and the water was dirty but somehow I twice spooked redfish that were hanging out along the bank about 50-75 yards out. That’s pretty spooky. So I decided to sit and pedal up the bayou and just see what I could find. I trolled the spoon fly about 20 feet behind and as I saw a little disturbance on the water in front of me the fly rod doubled as a fish struck behind me. I brought in a mid-slot sized redfish and released it.

Just for luck I made a couple of blind casts and hooked and landed another one. Another blind cast produced another fish. The redfish were stacked up in a trough about 3’ deep that the duck hunters cut through the bayou. At normal water level it would be more like 5-6 feet deep. I stopped and made a bad video of the 4th redfish (it took 4 casts), caught a couple more and then decided to let them rest a bit. All this took about 45 minutes. I went down the bayou a couple hundred yards, didn’t catch anything although I spooked some large UFOs that might have been reds, and then started fishing back toward the hotspot. I got one more redfish where I caught the others but they were no longer biting or had dispersed. I worked my way back out of the bayou and picked up two more redfish. They seemed to be spreading out and moving toward the original pond as it warmed up.

I fished my way out of the pond and into the deeper bayou that held the trout. I had a new fast sinking line (Orvis Depth Charge) with the laser minnow attached. I was able to get three smaller sized specks to take the fly and then I broke off the fly on what was likely an old crab trap on the bottom. I took that as a sign that it was time to head home.    

#hobiefishing #hobiecompass #redfish #kayakfishing #bayoucoastkayakfishingclub #neworleansflyfishersclub

Hybrid “wiper” from the Pearl River, 12-31-2020

A few years ago I accidentally discovered a spawning place for white bass and hybrid “wipers” after a morning of unsuccessful duck hunting. The fish return annually to this place around Christmas time. It is best to fish when the light is lower and on overcast days. I made a trip to the spot a week earlier but did not catch anything. I tried again today and was hoping for the predicted overcast conditions, but got a bright and generally sunny morning instead. Today the water temperature was about 58-60 F and the moon was full. I started out throwing a white minnow-like streamer without success. I switched to the ultralight spinning outfit with a white beetle on a 1/8 oz jig head with the idea that it might get deeper than the fly. I tried trolling the beetle while casting a buggy looking sinking fly to probe the banks for a sunfish, crappie or bass. Nada. Eventually I caught an 8 lb hybrid “wiper” on the beetle. Timing is everything for these fish. When I was here a couple of years ago I caught 15 of them on my 4 weight fly rod. When they decide to feed the fishing can be fantastic as these are some of the toughest fighting fish I’ve ever caught.

Lake Pontchartrain 12/27 and Hopedale, LA 12/28/2020

I made a quick afternoon trip to the Pontch on Sunday. The east wind at 10 made for some 2-3 foot swells, water was clean and green with 3-4 foot visibility, and the water temperature ranged from 52-56 degrees. I tried some dead shrimp around the bridge pilings in hope of catching a sheepshead but there was no activity and not much showing on the Lowrance. I tried bouncing a jig around the bridge without any luck and then turned west and cruised along the shoreline. I “saw” fish occasionally on the 4-5 ft ledge that runs along the shoreline, and caught a 14″ redfish. Headed in after a couple of hours.

Monday the Music Doc and I fished Hopedale. The forecast was promising, but except for the sunny day the wind was stronger and the water was much lower and dirtier than we expected. The water was cool (53-56 F) and the fish seemed lethargic. We tried standing to sight fish some reds but the water was too dirty. I caught a decent redfish while blind casting a spoon fly. We located some trout on the Lowrance in the deep scours off turns in a bayou, but it was tough to get to bite. I caught 3 small specks plus a little croaker on a Vudu shrimp tight lined in about 12-15 ft of water. We fished most of the day but could not locate the redfish. The duck ponds seem to have lost much of the aquatic grasses and get dirty quickly on any sort of wind. I think I’m going to try areas that are deeper and have more hard bottoms, oyster shells, etc. for a while.

Hopedale LA, 12-21-2020

Wind: 0-10 mph from NNW

Tide: predicted 1 ft. above normal based on Shell Beach station, with 1’ range. Actually the tide fell out about 2 ft. due to wind. Low was forecast ~ 3 pm.

Water Level: at the grass line to start start, fell way below average

Water Temperature: ~54 F to start, up to 59 F

Water Clarity: pretty clean in canals, but dirtier in the ponds. I think the recent hurricanes removed much of the aquatic vegetation, so wind and water movement quickly muddies the water in the ponds.

Water salinity: tasted fresh

Weather/sky: sunny with a few high thin clouds

Temperature: ~62 F for high

Moon: 1/2 waxing

Solunar period: minor period around noon   

Launch in and out: slipped the Hobie Compass in about 7 a.m., out at 4:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 8 miles

Other fishers: solo    

Gear: 2 #8 weight fly rods, spinning rod

Lures: pink Charlie and spoon fly, natural colored Vudu shrimp on the spinning rod

Strategy/ patterns: troll canals for trout, sight fish for redfish  

The water level seemed a bit low as I passed through Chalmette, so I headed to Hopedale. Even though it is duck season I took a shot (get it?) that there would not be hunters in all the ponds.

There was little boat traffic today and the canals were full of clean water instead of getting churned until they looked like chocolate milk. I trolled the Vudu shrimp as I went a couple of miles down a canal. No takers. I passed up fishing in the first ponds I came to and went further to the next ones. Good choice. A few minutes later I heard shots from the bypassed ponds. I cast the Vudu shrimp at the mouth of where a bayou joins the targeted pond and got a strike. I thought it would be a speckled trout but the fish turned into a 12” bass when it came up. I put it in the fish bag since I was collecting a few for dinner today.

I got to my destination, stood up, and started poling the kayak down the bank. There was a light wind in my face but it was pretty easy getting along. The sun was getting up high enough to spot fish, but I wasn’t spotting any.  Maybe the redfish were sleeping in, but I figured the sun would warm up the shallow water and they would become active at some point. It turned out that the redfish were sluggish all day. I only saw two fish that were actively swimming. The reds were “bedded down” on bottom and would dash off leaving big clouds of mud as I roused them when I passed over. The water wasn’t terribly dirty, but it was turbid enough that I couldn’t pick out a redfish sitting on the bottom. After spooking bunches of fish I finally decided to try to cast in the direction of the mud trails. I got an 18” straggler to take the pink Charlie and put it into the bag. I poled along and tried the same technique of casting to napping redfish that I disturbed but wasn’t successful.

On my way out of the pond I noticed that the water on the eastern bank seemed cleaner, perhaps from the tide starting to return or maybe it was just less disturbed. I used the spinning rod with the Vudu shrimp and fished parallel to the shore as I was leaving the pond. I caught a nice redfish and another bass of 14”. I took a video of the release of the redfish on my phone. It didn’t come out as the cinematic masterpiece I planned sine the fish wouldn’t swim out of the net.

I spoke to some guys who were catching small trout at the mouth of the pond – a few keepers but nothing remarkable. I started back down the canal to my truck and trolled the Vudu shrimp behind. I was holding the rod as I trolled and felt several bumps and then hooked up on a 13” speck. I put the trout in the bag, resumed trolling, and then immediately got an undersized speck.

About this time a crabber in a large skiff was coming down the canal so I moved over and waived him by. Instead of passing he stopped and appeared to be doing something with his crabs. I trolled down a bit and caught another trout. The crabber took off at high speed but then stopped about 100 yards below me and was having motor trouble. The guy drifted over to the bank and was running from side to side of this large skiff (maybe 7’ by 22’) with a long piece of pipe and trying to pole his skiff down the canal without much progress. Two boaters blew past him without noticing his predicament. I caught a couple more small trout. Not many people were on the water. It wasn’t going to be easy for him to find help and sundown was coming soon since today was the winter solstice. Now if those trout had been, say 20”+, I probably would have kept after them, but since they weren’t very big I decided to lend a hand. He was surprised by my offer, but tossed me a rope and I began to tow him in about ¾ of a mile at a swift 2 mph speed as indicated on the Lowrance. His wife met him on the side of Bayou la Loutre with some gasoline, they thanked me, and off he went up the bayou.  

It wasn’t a very productive day fish wise, but the waterfowl were putting on a show today. I had large flocks of white pelicans flying over, along with ibis, herons, egrets, raptors, lots of gadwall and merganser. They all seemed to be headed to the southeast.

Blog: https://camiller3rd.wordpress.com/

#hobiefishing #hobiecompass #redfish #kayakfishing #bayoucoastkayakfishingclub #neworleansflyfishersclub

Hopedale LA, 12-10-2020

Wind: 0-7 mph from W

Tide: predicted 1 ft. above normal based on Shell Beach station, little range

Water Level: 2 ft. below average

Water Temperature: ~60 F

Water Clarity: poor – 1 ft. visibility

Water salinity: fresh

Weather/sky: sunny with a few clouds

Temperature: ~70 F for high

Moon: 1/3 waning

Solunar period: minor period 10 am   

Launch in and out: slipped the Hobie Compass in about 7 a.m., out at 3 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 6 miles

Other fishers: solo    

Gear: 2 #8 weight fly rods

Lures: chartreuse slider and spoon fly

Strategy/ patterns: sight fish for redfish  

I’d planned to fish at Delacroix but when I saw the very low water in the ponds off Highway 46 as I passed through Chalmette I knew there had to be a change in the game plan. I switched to Hopedale so I would have a better chance of having fishable water.

I headed toward an old favorite area that I thought might hold fish, but the shallow area I needed to cross to get there was a mud flat. I could see that some boats had struggled to get through the area by the piled up mud tracks. This area was a no go, so I tried to reach another spot but again was thwarted by more mud where there was usually water. Guys fishing in boats had to stop in the mouths of bayous off the main canals because that’s as far as they could go. It was LOW.

I headed to a big pond and saw some reds tailing in a shallow bayou. I tried to stalk them but they seemed to keep moving away from me. I followed them down the bayou and eventually caught a stout 24” fish. As I was unhooking the redfish another one rammed my kayak. Trying to get even?

I left the bayou and began to circle edge of the pond. A few gadwall and merganser were hanging out in the middle. Several fish were around but were too close by the time they became visible. They were spooky today too – as soon as they recognized something was going on they would shoot away leaving a big cloud of muddy water.

A few tailing fish were spotted and if I could keep from spooking them I caught them. Rich Waldner’s spoon fly was working its magic on the reds once again. Another redfish rammed my kayak. I attributed the ramming to the dirty water. I had trouble seeing them and they had trouble seeing me. I ended the day with a couple more upper-sized slot fish. If the water had been clearer I suspect I could have done much better. I’ll get ‘em next time.

Happy Jack, LA 11-21-2020

Wind: 15 mph from NE

Tide: falling, 1.3 ft. range, low at 11:45 a.m. based on Empire Station

Water Level: 1 ft. above average, flooded grass, dropped to below the grass by noon

Water Temperature: ~65 F

Water Clarity: poor – 1 ft. visibility

Water salinity: salty to the taste, maybe 6 parts per thousand

Weather/sky: sunny with a few clouds

Temperature: ~74 F for high

Moon: near half moon, waxing

Solunar period: minor period 12 to 2 pm   

Launch in and out: slipped the Hobie Compass in about 7:45 a.m., out at 3:00 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 6 miles

Other fishers: Joe L.    

Gear: 2 #8 weight fly rods

Lures: chartreuse slider and spoon fly

Strategy/ patterns: Look for trout, then go for redfish  

Based on the weather, wind, tide, and the fact that most of my favorite places were full of duck hunters, I decided to come back to fish Port Sulphur/Happy Jack. I’d fished here a few weeks earlier and there were so many trout around that it was difficult to catch anything else. Since then a hurricane had hit the area hard and flushed out the area with a big storm surge. All the aquatic grasses in the water were gone, leaving a naked mud bottom. The shrimp and crabs that hid in these features were gone too. I did see some pogies and mullet, but I could tell the area had been wiped clean.

Initially the water was fair, but that changed rapidly as the tide pulled out and the wind whipped the water. I went down a canal that was previously loaded with trout without a bite this time. I spooked a lone redfish out of the flooded grass, but couldn’t get a take when I cast in that direction. About 10 a.m. I picked up a couple of small redfish in a drain that was pouring out cleaner water.

One of two small redfish for the day.

I got Joe and we headed over to another area and went up a long narrow bayou. The water ranged from 1-2.5 ft hear and was flowing out and fairly clean. I spooked a large sheepshead and later spooked perhaps the only slot redfish in the bayou. I went up as far as I could and only found some cockahoe minnows and mullet at the end of the bayou.

I headed over to the leeward side of a pond to fish some cuts and got back into some little islands. I spooked another redfish and cast in its direction without any luck. Another redfish tried to come through the small gap I was blocking and it smacked into my kayak. I caught a small trout and that was it for the day. Joe was fishing with conventional tackle and had about the same luck as I did.

It was a neat day to be out. I saw a family of four otters, tons of pelicans and other water birds. I heard some shooting and saw a few ducks, including several buffleheads. It seems early for diving ducks, but I’ve heard there is little water in the central flyway due to draught. We have plenty of water in LA, but the coastal areas have been stripped of food by the recent hurricanes. It bodes well for the duck hunters who are a bit north of the coast. I ran into a bottlenose dolphin on my way in. It looked to be in good health but had a notch at the tip of its dorsal fin. I hope someone didn’t take a pot shot at it – that’s a crime that comes with jail time and a large fine under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Dolphins are unloved by some anglers because they can ruin a good fish bite and will steal hooked fish off the line, but they shouldn’t be shot.

Blog: https://camiller3rd.wordpress.com/

#hobiefishing #hobiecompass #redfish #kayakfishing #bayoucoastkayakfishingclub #neworleansflyfishersclub

Delacroix 11-14-2020

Wind: 10-12 mph from SE, blowing pretty good after about 9 a.m.

Tide: falling about a foot and a half, low at 10 a.m. based on Shell Beach Station

Water Level: up in the grass early, dropped to normal in p.m.

Water Temperature: ~70 F

Water Clarity: poor – 1-1.5 ft visibility

Water salinity: tasted fresh

Weather/sky: Sunny

Temperature: ~80 F for high

Moon: waning, almost new

Solunar period: major period 12-2 p.m.   

Launch in and out: slipped the Hobie Compass in about 6:30 a.m., out at 2:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 5 miles

Other fishers: solo    

Gear: fly rod

Lures: Rich Waldner’s spoon fly

Strategy/ patterns: Find feeding redfish for sight casting

Today was the opening day of duck season, so I had to restrict where I fished. I stayed closer to the road and the camps to avoid the hunters. The higher wind and dirty water was also a challenge today.

I was stunned at how beaten up Delacroix had become after the hurricane struck a few weeks ago. Some of the docks and camps were badly damaged while others were OK. The hurricane stripped the vegetation and much more marsh was visible from highway 300. Lots of the small islands were greatly diminished or gone. Delacroix was hit hard.

I headed to some little islands that have held fish in the past. I wandered around a bit until a redfish came out of the grass and left a mud trail for me to cast into. It went about 20”. The next small redfish was an accident and it struck while the line was behind me. I hung close to the leeward side of the small islands and began to intercept fish that were hugging the grass line. I ended up with three more fish, including a nice one that went just a tad over 27”.

Blog: https://camiller3rd.wordpress.com/

#hobiefishing #hobiecompass #redfish #kayakfishing #bayoucoastkayakfishingclub #neworleansflyfishersclub

Post Hurricane Zeta report: Hopedale, LA 10-31-2020

Hopedale, LA  10-31-2020

Wind: 10-12 mph from NE, blowing pretty good after about 9 a.m.

Tide: falling about a foot, low at 11:30 based on Shell Beach Station

Water Level: 1 ft. above average, up in the grass early, dropped to normal in p.m.

Water Temperature: ~65 F

Water Clarity: nice – 2.5 ft visibility to start, deteriorated due to wind and last of the falling tide

Water salinity: tasted fresh

Weather/sky: overcast early, turned sunny quickly

Temperature: ~72 F for high

Moon: full

Solunar period: major period 1-3 p.m.   

Launch in and out: slipped the Hobie Compass in about 7:30 a.m., out at 4:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 7 miles

Other fishers: solo    

Gear: 2 fly rods

Lures: olive/white Clouser minnow on one and Rich Waldner’s terminator crab on the other

Strategy/ patterns: Throw the Clouser minnow to scan for speckled trout, terminator crab for sight casting to redfish.

I had planned to keep a few fish from this trip, but I got too far down the highway before I realized that the usual stores where I normally buy ice were not operational. So, this turned into a catch and release trip. It was sad to see the mobile homes, trailers, campers and boats that had been flipped over and smashed by hurricane Zeta. Lots of power poles were down or leaning and the stop light at the intersection of highways 300 (to Reggio/Delacroix) and 46 (to Shell Beach/Hopedale) was down in the middle of the road and marked by a traffic cone. I turned down highway 46 toward Hopedale and there were more snapped poles with power lines down in the bayou that parallels the highway. There was more sporadic damage toward Hopedale. Some places were wrecked and others stood intact. It will be a while before power comes back, but I guess people are used to working with generators down there. I did not go as far as the Hopedale Marina, but some boats were launching from there. They were probably just paying for their launch at the honor box.  

It was a little chilly due to the wind and cool front that had just come through and I was glad I remembered to bring my jacket. I eased down the bayou to the duck ponds and was pleased to find some nice water. The hurricane seemed to have been hard on this area and it was more eroded than when I was there a few weeks ago. I tried the Clouser minnow at some cuts that have sometimes held trout but none were home today. I crossed the middle of the pond and then poled along a leeward bank as I looked for redfish. This put the sun and wind at my back. Unfortunately, the redfish I encountered were all coming in the other direction and they were too close to make a casting move by the time I saw them. Finally one came out of the grass and crossed about 40 ft. in front of me. It disappeared from view but I caught it after blind casting to where I thought it went. It was a nice 27” slot redfish – the kind you’d like to catch on a tournament day – that of course shows up when it’s not needed. But it put up a really nice fight on an 8 weight fly rod. Seven redfish sighted – one caught. The fish in this pond were pretty spooky, so I decided that I could do better elsewhere.

It was about 11 a.m. and I made a trip of a couple of miles over to another pond. I was disappointed to see that I had traded down in water quality. I headed for a leeward shoreline and the water was a little cleaner. I tried to go up a little bayou off the main pond but the wind made the poling tough. As I turned back I spooked some redfish, so I went and staked the kayak at the mouth of the bayou. I could see down into the water to one side and occasionally saw a passing redfish trying to head up the bayou. More fish were coming right to the kayak and then spooking away, stirring up big clouds of mud as they left. The more the fish stirred up the mud, the less chance I had to see them. Nevertheless, I caught four nice 20-26” slot fish and a small “rat” redfish here. I got to sight cast to a couple of fish coming along the bank where I could see them, and blind casting caught the others.

I probably could have stayed here and caught more fish, but I decided to pole around a little more. I hugged the bank and kept the wind to my back but the angle of the afternoon sun wasn’t very good. I spooked several unseen fish that were hugging the bottom, and several fish spotted me about the time I saw them. One of the fish circled back, I got the terminator crab in front of it, it ate, and we had a nice tussle. The water quality deteriorated further and I wasn’t able to spot fish anymore, so I started back to the truck. The water in the main canals had become filthy with marsh grass after the tide fell out and I had to stop a couple of times to clear it off the rudder.

Other notes: I saw some roseate spoon bills and lots of other water birds, but only one small flock of ducks in the distance. I flushed a couple of alligators that were sunning on the banks, and met a overly friendly nutria that circled my kayak a couple of times before going into the marsh grass. It was a nice day to be out on the water, but I was reminded again of the hurricane damage on the way home.

Blog: https://camiller3rd.wordpress.com/

#hobiefishing #hobiecompass #redfish #kayakfishing #bayoucoastkayakfishingclub #neworleansflyfishersclub

FallNTide Report, Port Sulphur/ Happy Jack, LA 10-24-2020

Wind: 5-12 mph from NE, blowing pretty good after about 9 am

Tide: falling, low at p.m. based on Empire Station

Water Level: 2.5 ft. above average, flooded grass

Water Temperature: ~74 F

Water Clarity: nice – 2.5-3 ft visibility

Water salinity: a little salty to the taste

Weather/sky: overcast early, a little rain, cleared to broken clouds and sun

Temperature: ~80 F for high

Moon: 2/3 waxing

Solunar period: major period 8 to 10 am   

Launch in and out: slipped the Hobie Compass in about 5:45 am, out at 4:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 10 miles

Other fishers: solo    

Gear: 2 spinning rods and 2 baitcasters

Lures: chartreuse Gulp swimming minnow, green Matrix shad, and natural colored Vudu shrimp –fished tight line and under cork, Aqua Dream spoon – green, in line spinner with a chicken on a chain Saltwater Assassin.

Strategy/ patterns: 1. Catch a flounder, 2. Catch a good trout, 3. Catch a good redfish.  

I fish mostly in St. Bernard Parish just because because it’s easy to reach from my house. I’d rather spend my time fishing rather than driving. Today was the annual FallNTide tournament put on by Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club and the boundaries were Plaquemines and Lafourche Parishes, so I was not going to be able to fish my more familiar areas. I have one place in Plaquemines Parish that I go to when the conditions (tournaments) or times (duck season) dictate it, and it’s called Happy Jack. Happy Jack is just up highway 23 from Port Sulphur. It’s not much to see – just a marina with some fish camps and a few fishing and bowfishing guides working out of the area. Before Happy Jack, I would fish at Myrtle Grove since it was closer. But Myrtle Grove marsh owners got sticky about trespassers on their waters so I moved my fishing down the road to Happy Jack.

The tournament started at 6 am, and I was on the water and ready to fish the lights of the camps until the sun came up when I would move to the marsh. I heard some promising fish slashing bait under the light of a nearby camp as I got ready to launch. But by the time I got there and made my first cast at 6 am the activity had stopped. I fished the camps without any luck and moved to the marsh as the sun came up. I’ve caught four or five flounder, by accident, over the time I have been fishing at Happy Jack. They were all caught in different spots, so there was no place that was particularly promising. The one thing the spots had in common was the flounder were located at pinch points, good spots where they could wait and ambush bait as it passed. So my plan was to fish this type of feature – very slowly – this morning. It’s not usually an exciting way to fish, but this morning it was crazy because I had difficulty getting away from the small speckled trout. When I’d try to crawl a jig along the bottom I’d feel a peck, peck, peck and it was probably a little trout, pinfish, or needlefish. Maybe there were flounder about, but it would be tough to find them.

So I tried to catch a “better” sized speckled trout of 20” or more. With all the specks around, there should be a good one in there somewhere. Normally I prefer to sight cast to redfish and specks are not my forte. I think about all the 8” to 14” specks in the parish were along this bank, and I probably caught several limits between 7:30 and 11:30. I was wishing I had my cooler. EVERY CAST had a bite or two or five. Unfortunately, the best speck I could pull in was only 16”. At one point I saw some bait jumping along the bank and thought it might be a redfish so I put a nice cast in front of it. I felt a bump and set the hook. It was an unusual fish and felt heavy but did not really fight much. As I got it close it looked brown and flat and thought I had a huge flounder for an instant. I lifted it a little more and it turned into a big foul-hooked stingray. It took a while to (carefully) free it from the jig. I checked the time and the tournament deadline (3 pm) was coming faster. I had no flounder, a mediocre trout, and no redfish. I decided it was redfish time.

I made a move to some broken marsh that often held redfish and started throwing the inline spinner bait. The pretty water that was there in the morning had been stirred up as the tide dropped and the wind pushed it out. It would be a little tougher to catch a redfish on an artificial lure. I got in the maze and stood up to better see the fish. I saw a small sheepshead coming in and out of the flooded grass, and then a decent sized redfish appeared. I cast, it ate, and I got it in as quickly as I could, got it up on the measuring board and snapped a picture. Then I went to the Tourney X app and put in the fish type and length, and then checked the time. 2:30! Still time for a better redfish, and although all I got was more bites from trout.

Other thoughts: I like the new “Check It” boards that the club ordered for the members. The edges are bent upward to keep the fish on the board. I’ve had a hard time measuring larger fish on my old flat board – they tend to slide off.  I saw some of my favorite wildlife while fishing today. I spent a few minutes fishing with a bottle nosed dolphin and then later with a pair of otters. I certainly caught far more trout than I ever have before. So……no flounder, but a pretty good day in the Louisiana marsh.

Blog: https://camiller3rd.wordpress.com/

#hobiefishing #hobiecompass #redfish #kayakfishing #bayoucoastkayakfishingclub #neworleansflyfishersclub

Two Hopedale, LA trips, 10-11 and 10-18-2020

A couple of Hopedale trips – 10-11 and 10-18-2020

Wind: both trips were windy, 10-15 mph from W on 10-11, E on 10-18

Tide: rising the first trip on 10-11, falling hard on 10-18

Water Level: High (up in the grass) both trips

Water Temperature: ~75 F

Water Clarity: poor to fair on the first trip, beautiful in the ponds on 10-18

Water salinity: a little salty to the taste, ~ 3-5 ppt

Weather/sky: clear, scattered clouds

Temperature: 73 degrees F at launch, up to ~84 F for high

Moon: half waning and new sliver on the later trip

Launch in and out: put my Hobie Compass in about 7 am, out at 4 p.m. on both days

Water covered: ~ 8 miles each trip

Solo trip   

Gear: #8 and #10 weight fly rods

Lures: Capt. Rich Waldner’s spoon fly, Olive/white Clouser Minnow

Strategy/ patterns: sight cast to redfish

On the 11th I fished a large pond and eventually went down a bayou that lead to another pond. I was searching to find some leeward shoreline to get a break from the W wind. The water was pretty clean in the leeward corner of the pond and I started seeing blue crabs. The redfish were in that area and were after the crabs. I caught 10 redfish that day, including 3 that were right about the 27” mark. All were nice slot fish. In addition to throwing the spoon fly, my homemade Clouser Minnow (named after Bob Clouser, it’s the fly fisher’s version of a bucktail jig) worked well too. I was using the Clouser to search for trout, but it only found redfish.

On the 18th I fished the same area but went to some different duck ponds. Water clarity was good to great everywhere today. Later the shrimp trawlers in the main canals muddied it up, but the water in the ponds was flowing out so they didn’t impact conditions there. The water was flying out so fast on the dropping tide that I could not fish the bayous but the open ponds were great. I went up the windward side of the first pond (left the lee side for the trip back out) without seeing much action, hit a second pond and the water was crystal clear. It wasn’t long until I saw my first redfish cruising by – landed a nice 27” fish. I spent most of the morning going around the edge of the pond chasing a school of redfish. There were some larger reds in with the smaller ones, but of course the greedy smaller ones beat out their bigger brothers and sisters to the spoon fly. I caught about 10 redfish here – lost exact count. At one point I got above a deeper cut of about 6 ft that was draining rapidly into the pond. I’d watch redfish and sheepshead come up the cut to feed. I caught three redfish just by letting my spoon fly drift down current and sort of jigging it. A pair of sheepshead came up the cut and I let my fly drift down to them. There was slack in the line from the current and I started to pick up my line to cast and felt a tug. One of the sheepshead had taken the spoon fly without my seeing it and I missed the hook set. It did a little damage to the epoxy spoon fly by gnawing on it for a few seconds before I could realize it had eaten the fly. I picked up 3 more redfish as I went down the leeward bank of the first pond. There were a bunch of smaller 17-18″ fish working the bank and moving upwind. One was a neat looking multi-spotted redfish that has a darker cast to its coloration, so I held it up for a photo.

I moved down to another bayou but the wind was gusting too hard to do well there. I stood up and saw a few reds but was on top of them too quickly to make a cast and they darted away. The high wind killed the ability to sight fish so I hit another series of ponds and threw a Clouser in hopes that I might locate some trout. I caught three, specks but they were only about 6” long. I also got a couple of bass – the ubiquitous St. Bernard Parish specials of 12”.

I was spent ammunition after poling the kayak around in the wind all day and hit the pillows about 9. Slept like a baby after a therapeutic day in the kayak.

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