Hopedale, LA 10-16-2016

Wind: 10 mph with gusts – East

Tide: supposed to be good range, but little change due to the wind that held it in. It rose most of the afternoon

Water Level: high, water was way up in the grass

Water Temperature: neutral to touch, 75 to 80 degrees F

Water Clarity: poor, less than a foot, 2 feet in some ponds

Water salinity: a little salt tasted – maybe 5 parts per thousand

Weather/sky: sunny, scattered clouds

Temperature: ~ 65 – 85 F for high

Moon: full

Solunar period: major period @ 2 pm

Time on the water: 12:00 to 6 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 7 miles

Other fishers: solo trip

I combat launched off the roadside near Breton Sound Marina and headed to the ponds in the marsh. I had two #8 weight rods, one rigged with a clouser minnow for speckled trout and the other rigged with a spoon fly for redfish. I tried the clouser when I thought there might be trout around and flung the spoon in the ponds for reds most of the time. My plan was to go long and work my way back in to the launch so that I would not get caught way out with the sun setting.

Got to my first pond and missed a small bass that came off at the kayak. It bit on the spoon fly. I got into the pond and went to the lee shoreline and tried to stand and sight fish. I poled down the bank and spotted a slot redfish very close by but when I tried to switch from the pole to the rod the wind caught me and the fish spooked. I went a bit more down the bank and the process was repeated. The water was not clear enough to spot the fish before I was too close to do anything, and the wind would immediately start pushing the kayak. So I gave up on trying to sight fish and made blind casts to areas where the fish should be for the rest of the day. I let the wind push me across the pond toward a little bayou that connected to another pond. Casting down the bayou I picked up a 13.5” speckled trout on the spoon fly. I figured the specks would be sitting in the bayou feeding so I threw the spoon fly for a few casts with no luck. Maybe the clouser would work? Nope. There were either no more fish there or they were not feeding. So I moved on and finished fishing the pond. I am pretty sure I spooked a couple more redfish, although I did not get a good look at them. I put a mental bookmark on this spot and will try it again.

I pedaled over to another series of bayous and ponds and fished my way to the entrance of the bayou. A 14” redfish grabbed my spoon fly near the mouth of the bayou. I caught it by fishing the spoon fly along the flooded grass line. I moved into the bayou and experienced the strange effect of wind pushing me out while the current from the rising tide pushed in the opposite direction. I was held in place, so I took advantage of it and cast to some pockets but found no takers. I went up the bayou into the first pond but it did not seem like much was going on there. So I went to the other side of the pond and resumed travel up the bayou. I heard redfish splashing back in flooded grassy areas that I could not reach. I came to a spot where the bayou makes a 90-degree turn and has a flat area (a sort of run out pond made by the current) that looked like a very obvious spot for fish – and it was. A couple of casts and I hooked up with a nice 26.5” fish. It made some good runs and put up a nice fight in the current. I brought it in and released it safely. I made a few more casts and discovered that the current would sweep my fly along so I used a trout angling technique and mended the line as the spoon fly moved. This method worked and another almost legal redfish bit the spoon fly.

It was about 5 pm, I was still several miles from the truck, and the days are getting shorter so I needed to get moving. I fished my way out of the little bayou and hit a main channel. I’ve had some luck here in the past by just flipping my spoon fly at close range into little pockets along the bank as I passed. This worked again, and I caught another “almost keeper” sized redfish.

I made a pass through a trout area and threw my clouser but found no one at home. So far I have not connected with the specks, but when the bite is on, it’s on out there. It should not be too long until they come back to their old territories.

I got my gear loaded up and beat the sundown. I checked in with texts to my wife and a buddy who knew where to look in case I didn’t touch base and then headed back toward New Orleans against a red sky to the west.