Hopedale 11-4-2018: Fun fishing with other people’s flies

Kayak report from Hopedale, LA 11-4-18

Wind: 15 mph from E/SE

Tide: not much range, but wind pushed in the water

Water Level: 6” up in the grass

Water Temperature: ~ 70 F

Water Clarity: poor, visibility about 1-1.5 feet

Water salinity: 1-2 ppt

Weather/sky: sunny early, clouds building about 11

Temperature: ~ 70-80 F

Moon: waning sliver

Solunar period: major ~ 10 to noon

Time on the water: slid the Hobie Outback kayak in at 6:45 a.m., driving in at 4 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 6 miles

Other fishers: solo trip

Game Plan: find specks and redfish

Gear: two #8 fly rods

Lures: big perch float popper with a Popovic shrimp dropper 18” below, yellow half and half on the other rod.

I passed through Chalmette and noticed really low water in Bayou Bienvenue, and the big flag was flapping in the wind – two bad signs. I planned to fish at Delacriox, but with the low water I would opt for Hopedale instead. I stopped in at the drive-thru at Gerald’s in Chalmette and got some instant energy from the coffee and a few doughnuts. Now I was ready to face anything that nature offered. When I got to the launch the water was surprisingly high rather than low. The wind had shifted from NW to SE over the last day or so, but I guess it takes longer for the water to reach Bayou Bienvenue than it does to get to Hopedale.

I trolled the lures behind me as I pedaled out to my target spot but had no luck. A few boats slowed down as they approached, and I waived them to come on by rather than to idle down. There was plenty of passing room and it would be better if stayed on plane instead of slowing and throwing a big wake my way.

I got to my spot and tried the popper with the shrimp dropper. I had only made a few casts into a little drain along a bayou when a redfish hit the shrimp fly that Joe Bandera had given to me. It took me a few minutes to get the fish to the Boga grip since the wind and current were working in favor of the fish. Then it took me some more time to get the hook out of the tough tissue in the corner of the fish’s jaw. Next time I’ll remember to crimp the barb before I start fishing.

I went another 50 yards or so and cast into another small drain. This time the redfish smacked the popper on the surface. I was proud to get this fish in since it had eaten the perch float popper I had made. It was my first redfish on a popper that I had tied. I thought the day was shaping up to be a great one, and then I didn’t catch another fish for several hours. I would throw the popper/dropper combo for 15-30 minutes and then switch to the half and half and then switched back again.

I caught a small redfish on the half and half about noon, and later found a couple more fish on a leeward shore. Bill DeCastro had tied the yellow half and half fly as a part of a swap that the New Orleans Fly Fishers put on a couple of weeks ago and gave it to me to field test. I tried it since it provided a larger bright target in the muddy water than the nickel sized spoon fly that I usually like to throw to the redfish. I moved in close on the leeward shoreline and made casts of about 30’ that went right into the edge of the flooded weed beds. First came a 14” redfish and then a 12” marsh bass bit a few casts later. Other than having a brief tussle with a 4’ gar that was it for the day: 5 redfish, and a bass. Not a great catch but, unlike LSU vs. Bama on Saturday,  I kept the skunk away on a day with poor conditions for fly fishing.