Place: Hopedale, LA
Wind: 5 – 15 mph, started from E, and then SE
Tide: >1 ft., should have been falling but the wind kept it up all day
Water Temperature: neutral to touch
Water Level: very high
Water Clarity: generally poor, 1.5’, but found some spots with good clarity
Moon: two thirds, waning
Solunar period: major period 7 a.m.
Weather/sky: sunny early, scattered clouds, overcast later
Temperature: about 90 F, cloud cover helped
Time on the water: 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Water covered: ~ 7 miles
Other fishers: none
I headed to St. Bernard Parish about 9:30. My last few trips have been frustrating – poor water conditions and heat made things difficult. I got some bad news that John Barber, one of the founding members of TUFF (Tulane University Fishing Fanatics), had passed away in FL. I felt like I needed a trip to the marsh. Today I picked fly tackle because I expected that I would be able to sight cast. The wind made it difficult to stand and control the kayak while moving, so the sight fishing took place while I was staked out.
I have a habit of getting attracted to fishing interesting spots as I pass by and this gets me off of my game plan. Today I had more discipline and just headed to the first spot I planned to fish without delaying too much. I was disappointed to see that the water in the first pond I got to was dirty. I pedaled around to a large drain on the leeward side and found somewhat better water. I went slowly and worked it over with the spoon fly. As I got to the back of the drain I stuck the pole in the mud and set up shop. It wasn’t long until I got a 16” red by blind casting. When the sun peeked out I could see a few redfish swimming around but not for long— the sun would hide and put the lights out or the fish would slip out of sight in the stained water. A nice redfish came by right after I had made a cast and I tried to work the spoon fly in front of it, but the fish was moving a little to fast and I swam the fly under its belly. It didn’t spook but simply swam off. I picked up a little better redfish of about 18” a few minutes later. I could have stayed and tried to get more fish there but I decided to try a new spot.
I moved over to a little bayou and found much better water clarity there. Again I tried to stand and sight fish but it was too risky with the wind. I need to take a pee break about that time and, as I was in the midst of things, a wind gust took my wide brimmed hat and sailed it about 20 feet away. The hat was nowhere to be found by the time I got to the anticipated spot where it sank. The Marsh Gods demanded and got their tribute. Next time I’ll get a floating hat.
I pedaled up the little bayou and picked up a rat redfish in a bend. A little further and I got another one. A couple of casts later I hooked into a nice redfish. I wrestled around with it for a while and was trying to put some pressure on it to bring it in when the line went limp. I thought the line broke but when I lifted it up the spoon fly was still there. I sort of flopped the spoon fly back into the water for an instant in frustration and then started to retrieve it. Suddenly the line went taught. The redfish – or maybe its buddy – had eaten the spoon fly again and the fight resumed. I got the fish in and it measured about 24”. I went a little further and got another little redfish. It was time to start back to the truck, so I reversed course into the wind. It was difficult casting upwind as a little rain cloud was coming up. I got a hard strike and the fish (probably a redfish) took off straight behind me. I rotated the rod backward and the fish gave a tug and snapped the line. I likely had a wind knot in the tippet. So I reeled up the line and pedaled in to beat the rain. Ended the day with 3 keeper sized fish and three rat reds. All fish were released for another meeting on another day.
Shout out to the guys who are at the “Ride the Bull” redfish tournament at Grand Isle (world’s largest kayak tournament). Catch a lot and be safe!