Place: Delacroix, Louisiana
Wind: 5-10 mph starting from NE, sometimes it stopped altogether, switching frequently, SW at end of the day
Moon: waxing new moon
Solunar period: major period 3 p.m. (about the time we caught fish)
Weather/sky: bluebird sky
Temperature: 80 F for the high
Water Temperature: ~70 F
Tide: Rising over a foot, high at 3 p.m.
Water Level: about a foot above normal
Water Clarity: variable, some weedy spots were “swimming pool” clear
Time on the water: 6:20 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Water covered: about 6 miles, but continually pedaling to hold position in the wind. I’m getting some well-defined calf muscles.
Other fishers: Brian M. (Dr. Wahoo)
Got up at 4:30 a.m. and hit the road a little after 5 a.m. and listened to the fishing reports on WWL radio as I drove. The fishing forecast was great. I met Brian at the launch and we both were surprised at the lack of insects in spite of the mild breeze. We loaded up our Hobie Outbacks and ran into another BCKFC guy (Andrew) and a couple fishing from a tandem kayak. This combat launch site is getting more pressure these days, so I am taking to Google Earth to find some more isolated ones. Based on the wind I felt like it would be a good spot for fishing on this day.
I decided to go with the fly rods and left the conventional tackle at home. I was throwing Mr. Waldner’s spoon fly in chartreuse and gold, a favorite pattern of mine. I also had a second rod rigged with a white gurgler fly that I had tied. We fished hard but were not really on fish – or else they were just being sluggish. Lots of mullet were jumping, and some looked like something was chasing after them. I just kept moving and looking for redfish, but was not seeing any sign of them. The wind was light and the sun was bright, so it should have been easy but it wasn’t. I picked up a little speckled trout on a white gurgler at an old favorite cut off a canal that contained a nice scour hole. But it was not the fish I was looking for so I pressed on looking for the redfish. Brian stopped for a minute or two and threw a plastic jig under a cork and caught several of the little guys and then he moved on in search of the reds.
About 10:30 and three miles from the launch, I came into some little islands and saw what I was looking for. There were some nice wakes of what was probably a loosely organized gang of working redfish spread out in some shallow, weedy water. It was difficult to cast to them with the patches of aquatic vegetation between the fish and me. The wind was mild, but it was just enough with the conditions to make it challenging. How come the fish are always upwind? So I decided to flip up the fins and rudder and I paddled around and upwind through a weedy area and then let the wind blow me back toward the fish. I was thinking that the plan didn’t work as I was running out of open water with the next grass mat approaching. About that time I felt the line go tight. I fought the 25” red as it repeatedly piled into the grass. By the time I got it free from the hook and reset everything the wind had switched around and there was no sign of more redfish.
I fished around a bunch of broken marsh and islands but was not finding anything. I come from a bass fishing background, so I did lots of futile casting at structure that looked fishy. I was kinda wearing out as the afternoon came on. I saw an old duck blind and headed for that, thinking there might be a bass hanging out there. Nada. But it did lead me in the right direction. I pedaled another 100 yards to a broken shoreline and finally saw a redfish cruise by at close range. But I could not get the spoon fly in front of it. Then another red passed, and again it was too close and spooked. And then, I spied a pod of about 6+ nice sized reds with their heads pointed away from me. I flipped the spoon fly into the group and they fought over it as I stripped it back without a hook up. I didn’t want to spook the fish so I backed off and went around and down the little islands with the wind. There were several redfish cruising by and I got the spoon fly in front of one and had a brief 5 second fight until the hook came out, or perhaps it just had the spoon fly in its mouth but never was hooked. I made a couple more casts and hooked into a really nice redfish. This one took off for Mississippi and was into the backing in about 5 seconds. It stopped and I started to reel and then it took off again, whacking my knuckles with the reel handle. I made the mistake of grabbing hold of the reel handle and this put lots of tension on the line and it snapped. I reeled in and saw the 15 lb. leader had spit about midway of its length. It probably gave at a wind knot. So I tied on a little crab fly that a BCKFC/NOFF friend (A.J. “Bigpoppy” Rosenbohm) had given to me and went back upwind for another shot. About that time Brian came up and I told him there were redfish all along this shoreline. He threw a chartreuse Aqua Dream spoon and hooked up pretty quickly (- he ended up getting 6 reds from this spot). I went behind him and got a nice red to take the crab fly. The fish fought like a 30” red (even though it was only 24”) and every time I would get it close it would pull away. We went round and round with this game for about 5 minutes. Finally it gave out and I got the grip in its mouth, removed the hook and let it swim free without ever bringing it into the kayak. I’ve been trying to do this “wet landing” to help the fish recover without touching it and removing its slime. I made a few more passes and threw the white gurgler fly (a floater that imitates a shrimp) but I could not get a redfish to come up and hit it on the surface.
It was a really nice day on the water with ducks, crabs, baitfish, stingrays, nutria and other critters taking care of their spring business. We saw a couple of alligators in the 7 foot size range. At one point I was in abut 3 feet of water and something really big – either a gator or a very large gar – charged out from under my kayak, rocking me a little as it left a huge cloud of mud in the water (I’m thinking gator). I did not get as much cooperation from the fish as I expected on such a nice day, only landing 3 small specks and 2 redfish on the fly rod. Brian had better luck with the Aqua Dream spoon and conventional tackle. He had 7 redfish (all released) and several specks, including a nice fat 20” fish. It is interesting that big specks are still hanging around inshore in May. I guess that means they are still more interested in eating than breeding right now.