Black Friday Fishing at Hopedale, LA 11-25-2016


15193490_1507205542628440_2924426272510997952_nWind: 5-10 mph from the north

Tide: Little range. Low was forecast at 11:19 based on Shell Beach station. I usually add + 2 hours for this station when at Hopedale, might have come up 6” by afternoon. Tide was probably slowed by north wind.

Water Level: started low, was below grass line all day.

Water Temperature: 65 F

Water Clarity: dirty, a foot of visibility to start, but clarity declined as the wind churned it.

Water salinity: about 3 parts per thousand based on taste test

Weather/sky: sunny, sometimes with high, thin clouds

Temperature: ~ 60 –75 F for high

Moon: Waning, about 1/3 from new

Solunar period: fair major period @ 10 a.m.

Time on the water: 6:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 7 miles

Other fishers: Kevin A. and Joe L.

Brought two #8 fly rods, one with a crab fly and the other with a white clouser.

We tried a few of the cuts that drain a main canal, but did not find any trout schooled up there.

Shotgun blasts told us that duck hunters were in some ponds I like to fish, so we looked elsewhere.

Kevin went up a little bayou that was wide enough for one angler, but it was fruitless and dirty today. Usually the reds get pushed out of the weeds on a low tide and are in this bayou. Usually.

I sent Joe up the next little bayou. This one leads up to some nice duck ponds, and fortunately no one was hunting there. Joe was fishing with conventional tackle and ended the day with 6 reds (two throwbacks), 10 specks (a few keepers), and 2 bass. Most of his fish came on a Voodoo shrimp under a cork, and a couple of reds came on the gold spoon.

Kevin and I fly fished in the same general area around a large pond. I found some redfish on a bank. One big fish was harassing baitfish and every few minutes it would send them leaping out of the water in a shower. I stripped my crab fly in front of some flying baitfish and worked it back in. As I lifted the fly there was a big cloud of mud as the fish spooked. Spooky fish…that would be a theme that was repeated many times today.

I worked about 50 yards down the bank and saw more fish activity. I cast parallel to the bank and got a 20” red to take my blue crab fly. I was proud of that fish because it bit the crab fly I had tied.

Kevin and I fished around the duck pond but did not catch any. We went over to a large pond and tried the drains. I went up a long one and spooked more fish. It seemed the redfish were really sluggish…..just sitting on the mud bottom and would only move when I got to about a rod’s length from them. I could not see them when standing because the water was too dirty to spot them until it was too late. I had a few hits from small specks and finally hooded a 10” fish on a spoon fly.

It was a tough day with lots of frustrating “almosts”. It was hard to get a visible fly in front of the redfish today. I think I would have fared much better on conventional tackle. It was an interesting and pleasant day to fish, though. I saw a couple of 4’ alligators, several hawks and an eagle, flocks of white pelicans, and some good flocks of gray (gadwall) ducks.