Kayak / fly rod report from Pearl River, LA 12-22-18
Wind: 0-5 mph from SE
Water Level: average
Water Temperature: ~ 54-58 F
Water Clarity: great
Water salinity: fresh
Temperature: ~ 55-65 F
Solunar period: major ~ 12-2
Time on the water: slid the Hobie Outback kayak in to the water about noon, driving home about 5 p.m.
Water covered: ~ 3 miles
Other fishers: solo trip
Game Plan: find white bass
Gear: 4 weight fly rod
Lures: started with #6 purple wooly bugger, switched to #2 chartreuse/white clouser
Last Sunday I went out to the Pearl River to scout for ducks. I didn’t see any ducks, but fortunately I brought my fly rod along. I came to an area in about 10-12 feet of water in a bayou that had strong current flowing around it. That was the spot. I had a strong strike and it did not feel like a bass, bream, or crappie. I got it up and it was a white bass (a.k.a. a “stripe” as we call ’em back in Alabama). It was a chunky one so I put it in the soft cooler. Then I got another one that was bigger and into the cooler it went. I repeated the process over a dozen times and all but two of them were 2+ lb fish. All these were released. A few weighed ~ 3-4 lbs on the Boga grip. My lovely wife and I ate the two I brought home for dinner. After dinner I looked up the state records for white bass on the fly rod and found it was 2.94 lbs. We ate two state record white bass for dinner!
So today I went out to see if I could correct my error. Not much action to start. I caught a fingerling largemouth bass on the purple bugger. I “saw” a few fish on the Lowrance and occasionally there would be a good one in the mix. I caught half a dozen or so smaller sized white bass of about 10”. The bigger ones were not very active today. I was thinking that it was going to be a bust and that I had missed my chance for a record fish. I started making wider passes away from the current and lady luck smiled on me. I got a hard strike and this time the line was going out fast. I got line out of my hand and got the fish “on the reel” so it would be easier to manage. It towed me around a bit and had the 4 weight rod bent in half. I eventually wore it down and caught its lower jaw. It was a chunky white bass, similar to the ones I had caught and eaten last week. I was pretty sure it was over 3 lbs, so I put it in the cooler and went toward the landing. I went another 20-30 yards and the fish finder lit up with nice targets so I cast, let the clouser sink down to the fish, and hooked another good one. It wasn’t quite as long a battle and not quite as big as the first one, but it was still a nice white bass. I decided to keep it as well.
I phoned the Rigolets Marina and found they had a certified scale, so I landed, got the gear stowed, secured the kayak, and took off to the marina. The first weighed 3.98 and the second weighed 2.85 lbs. This would make these the #1 and #3 white bass taken in LA on a fly. Now I have to get paperwork signed, have a state biologist verify the species, and submit the application. It was extra nice because I caught them on a clouser that I tied a few moths ago. And this time I did not eat the fish!