Place: Reggio, LA
Wind: 0 – 5 mph mostly from S, but switched directions frequently and went up to 30+ mph
Tide: 0.5 ft., rising to high at 6 pm
Water Temperature: ?, warm to touch, like bathwater
Water Level: average to a little high
Water Clarity: 3’ -6’ visibility depending on spot
Moon: half, waxing
Solunar period: major period 7-9 a.m., minor at 2 p.m.
Weather/sky: mixed clouds and sun, 40% of rain
Temperature: 90 F for the high with high humidity
Time on the water: 7:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Water covered: ~ 4 miles
Other fishers: none
I got up about 5 a.m. and got some coffee and breakfast in me and hit the road to St. Bernard Parish about 6. I had struggled to pick a place to fish because of the unsettled atmospheric conditions. I wanted to fish some favorite spots but they require more paddling to get out there, but more importantly, more paddling to get back in quickly. So I picked Reggio, because I needed only go out a mile or two from the launch to have a chance of running into redfish. It turned out that all my thinking and strategy would be pretty useless since I got wet twice.
When I got to the launch there was already a big dark cloud rising in the distance. I dallied getting in the water because the cloud seemed to be growing and moving closer. After about 15 minutes I pushed off and headed for the marsh, thinking the storm would pass based on the wind that should be pushing it away based on its direction. I ran into some kayak anglers in a canal and they seemed to be womping up on some smaller fish (bass and specks?) and looked to be using bait under a cork. So I gave them their space and worked my way around them by going through a cut in the shallow marsh.
About the time I got around the anglers and back into more open water I looked behind me and saw the cloud was coming toward me and growing quickly. The wind was picking up quickly and the temperature dropped to the point that it felt like the air conditioner had kicked in. I made it around to a canal and stuck my marsh pole in on the leeward bank. It soon was raining sideways and the wind picked up to around 30 mph or maybe more. It was not a time to be out in open water. It stopped after about 30 minutes and I started fishing again.
I crossed a pond and found a nice grass line along a bank. I was spooking some fish that were in the maze of grass. It was hard working my weedless spoons and inline spinner baits through the aquatic jungle. I could not actually see any redfish due to the cloud cover, but I cast toward disturbances on the surface that looked like redfish working. I got the spinner to stay weedless long enough to hook up with a nice 22” redfish. I sent my wife a picture of the fish to let her know I was ok. She texted back “Dinner?” and I texted back “No” as I had already let the fish go. She texted back a sad face, so I knew what I had to do.
It wasn’t long until another cloud came up and I had to hunker down by the bank again. This time it rained longer and I passed the time staring down a 5 ft. alligator that looked back from about 50 yards. I telepathically communicated with it and said “My kind kill and eat your kind and we put them on menus in our restaurants”. The wise gator kept its distance.
After the rainstorm I headed back in the direction of the truck. Another dark cloud bank was coming closer and I was not going to get drenched for a third time. The wind appeared to be blowing the storm right to me, so I picked up my pace. By the time I got a half-mile from the truck I could tell that the storm was being pushed by the higher wind currents that were different in direction from the winds at ground level. So, I started fishing again and picked up a nice 18” redfish and kept it for dinner (gotta keep the wife happy).
I fished over by some white pvc pipes that indicated a boating hazard (not an oyster reef in this case) and could see it was very grassy nearby. I got a hard hit on the inline spinner and when I reeled it in the plastic bait was gone. I reloaded and cast again and a bass hit and came up shaking its head and spit the lure. I repeated the process and the bass cooperated. This time a 14” fish came in. I took a photo and then made a few more casts and got a 13” bass. I left them biting at this spot.
More clouds were brewing to the east and south. The easterly ones would probably pass but the southern ones were of concern because the upper steering winds seemed to be pushing storms to the north regardless of the surface winds. I headed for the truck for real this time. I ran into fellow BCKFC angler Casey D. at the launch and we exchanged some intel. I asked him to watch out for that storm, and he later messaged me that evening and said it did not cross him.
I cleaned my little redfish, conserving the belly meat and throat in addition to the usual half-shell fillets, and threw it on the hot grill at about 550 degrees F for about 7 minutes. My favorite redfish recipe is simple. I just smear some olive oil on the fish and work in some Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning to give it salt, pepper, and other flavors in one shot. Delicious!