Delacroix, July 25, 2017

Wind: 5 mph picking up to about 10mph, from the W

Tide: very little water moving, starting to rise a bit later in the morning. Range over a foot, high scheduled at 4 pm at the Shell Beach station

Water Level: low, lots of bank showing.

Water Temperature: ~88 F

Water Clarity: poor, a foot or less, but some spots were relatively clean

Water salinity: N/A

Weather/sky: sunny with a haze

Temperature: ~ 78, going up to 93 F for high

Moon: new

Solunar period: minor at 9 am, major period @ 4 pm.

Time on the water: 6 a.m. to 11:30 am

Water covered: ~ 5 miles on the map, but did a lot of extra pedaling and paddling due to wind and to hold a position while casting.

Other fishers: solo trip

Game Plan: I picked Tuesday to fish because it was the first day in a long time without much chance for a thunderstorm. Woke up about 4 am, got in the truck and headed down to Delacroix, stopped for gas in Chalmette and then grabbed some coffee and donuts at Gerald’s so that I would have lots of energy for fishing. As I was flying down the highway I saw a flashing sign that said something about roadwork ahead but I was going so fast I was past it before the message finished. Good thing the message didn’t say “Bridge Out”. As I passed the last stop sign and got on the Delacroix Highway (Highway 300) I started seeing orange cones on both sides of the road and patches of new asphalt. The roadwork continued all the way to Delacroix. When I got the place I wanted to combat launch off the roadside I was stunned. Construction equipment blocked the site and the area was prepped for some paving. There was no way to launch there, so I headed to Lionel Serigne’s Marina and put it in the water. My game plan was shot and I would have to freelance it on this fishing trip. So I just pedaled the Hobie Outback down past Sweetwater Marina, turned right into Bayou Gentilly, made a quick left into the big pond, and went on until I found some fish.

Gear: 2 x spinning and 2 x bait casting outfits.

Lures: I started with a gold spoon and cast it parallel to weed beds. I had a few taps and missed a redfish that bit it and then buried itself into the weeds and came off. Later I put on a purple/chartreuse Gulp rigged on a weedless 1/16 oz weighted 2/0 worm hook and got a couple of small redfish. Then I tried the Seein’ Spots in line spinner bait with a Saltwater Assassin (plastic) in “chicken on a chain” color and it worked pretty well.

Strategy/ patterns: Not much possibility of sight fishing today. Redfish were hanging off the banks in the dirty water, waiting for the tide so they could get back up in the grass. I spotted a few feeding, but all of my fish were caught by blind casting to fishy looking spots. I passed over several redfish that were bedded down on the bottom. They spooked and drummed a bit as they took off in a big cloud of mud.

It was a good day for seeing animals. Lots of ducks and marsh hens were working the mud banks. Later I saw two otters come down the bank and quickly disappear in the water. Then some piglets came out, and a few minutes later some big hogs came out of the grass. I snapped a photo of two of the big hogs and a small 3’ alligator with its head sticking out of the water to the lower right side of the picture. As I was fishing in a shallow area I saw two really big wakes being pushed by a pair of fish swimming together, but they were moving pretty quickly and were out of casting range and going away from me. A few minutes later I see this large mullet leap really high and for an instant I think “That’s strange” and a millisecond later a big jack crevalle breached right behind it, flashing silver and yellow. I was stunned that such a big fish could have been sneaking around in such shallow water. The big wakes I had seen earlier were probably jacks rather than monster reds. I started back because it was getting hot and I had some stuff to do at work in the afternoon. As I worked my way in I cast the weedless Gulp under a cork along the weedbeds as I approached Bayou Gentilly. I was in sight of Sweetwater Marina when I got the last redfish of the day. It had 8 spots.

I ended the day with 5 redfish, 2 of them were undersized, a 20”, 22” and fat 26”er and a bass. All were released. The fish seemed to like the Gulp and the in line spinner the best today.

On the way home I stopped at the Fish Shack in Chalmette and tried the “Top Feeder”. It was great. They cook some good catfish there – highly recommended – but catfish is all that’s on the menu.

 

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Delacroix marsh 6-4-2017

Wind: 5 mph early, 10-15 mph starting about 8 a.m., coming from the SE

Tide: High was at about 2:00 pm based on Shell Beach station. Range 0.2 ft.

Water Level: at the normal level, rising through the day.

Water Temperature: ~75 F

Water Clarity: fair, 2-3 feet visibility, but the wind muddied open water

Water salinity: not a trace (heavy rain lately)

Weather/sky: mostly hazy, cloudy, with brief sun

Temperature: ~ 82 F for high

Moon: 2/3 waxing

Solunar period: minor @ 10 am

Time on the water: 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 5 miles, but did a lot of extra pedaling and paddling due to wind and to hold a position while casting.

Other fishers: ran into Bubby Douglas and his entourage at the launch again– hope they did well.

Gear: 2 x #8 weight fly rods –ignored the wind and stuck with flyrods.

Lures: Spoon flies did all the work today. I also unsuccessfully tried a gurgler for a while.

Strategy/ patterns: Once again the fish were scattered and sitting tight on the bank. Picked up a few fish in cuts between islands with wind blown water pushing through.

Ended the day with 2 undersized reds, 2 slot sized redfish of about 18”, a small bull red of 28”, 2 10” bass, and a gar fish.

Spotted several alligators, lots of bird life, including a pair of purple gallinule with two tiny baby chicks.

Strange event of the day: I saw a tailing redfish in front of me and it went under water for a few seconds so I let my back cast fall into the water and waited. When the redfish came up in front I tried but couldn’t make my forward cast to it. I thought my back cast was snagged but another redfish had come behind me and it bit the spoonfly. I landed it, but wished I had a shot at the larger redfish in front of me.

Hopedale 3-18-2017

Wind: 3-5 mph early, quickly rose to about 10-15 mph switching from the SSW, W, N, SW

Tide: Low was forecast at 2 :13 am and high was at 6:40 pm based on Shell Beach station. Range was about a foot on the chart, but it came up more like 1.5-2’. Rising all day.

Water Level: started super low, up to the grass line about 4 pm.

Water Temperature: ~70 F

Water Clarity: very dirty, clarity declined in windy areas, found some cleaner water around weed beds.

Water salinity: ?

Weather/sky: mostly sunny early, by noon a few clouds

Temperature: ~ 80 F for high

Moon: Waning, almost half moon

Solunar period: good periods @ 7 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Time on the water: 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 6 miles

Other fishers: solo

I stopped in a Gerald’s Donuts in Chalmette to load up with some fast carbs and caffeine and buzzed my way down to Hopedale. The light sugary donuts gave me the energy to literally toss my kayak off the truck. The water level was super low and I had to ease the kayak out on the bare mud for about 20’ to launch. It was supposed to be a day with light winds that would pick up a bit as afternoon came, so I brought only fly rods. I had visions of sight casting flies to redfish in clear water, but that fantasy ended after I made it to the first pond. The weatherman tricked me again. The very low tide coupled with a quickly rising wind made it a difficult day to fly fish, but I stuck it out and caught a few. It was difficult to pole along the bank with increasing wind, and hard to spot fish in the muddy water. I spooked a bunch of redfish that were resting on bottom in the pond. Even though the water was dirty, I could still see big muddy swirls and wakes as fish took off. I tried my old trick of working upwind and then drifting downwind quietly while blind casting or casting to wakes made by fish. I was slinging a gold and chartreuse spoon fly that I had tied. The wind blew me over to a bank and just as I was ready to paddle off the bank I spied a nice redfish coming right toward me down the shoreline with its back out of the water. I picked up my rod and the line tangled, so I scrambled to get ready to cast as the fish came closer. It was a little more than a flyrod’s length from the kayak when I flipped the fly in front of its nose. It immediately ate it and took off and I stuck the fly home with a strip strike. It took about 5 minutes to land the fish and when I measured it went a little under 28”. It was pretty chunky and I guessed it went about 9 lbs. It had a mark on its lower lip from a previous battle with another angler, and I’m glad I got a chance to catch this recycled redfish. I released it for another angler to have a chance at it. I fished the pond hard but could not come up with another fish even though I knew they were there.

I went to another pond and the water was still trashy and coming up fast. I drifted over some weed beds and spooked a few reds before being able to get a shot at them. I went over to a little bayou off the pond that connected to another pond about a half mile away. I spotted a few reds “bank crawling” and got a shot at a nice one but this time I muffed my chance by being a little off target with the fly. I tried a second time and spooked the fish. I got a smaller redfish of about 17” that was hanging around in the same spot. I went down to the pond and saw a number of fish working in the pond – some of the best redfish surface activity that I’ve seen in a while. The problem was that the pond was pretty shallow and the wind made it hard to be stealthy. I would try to move up to a fish to get a cast and it would disappear. I ended up empty handed when I left the pond, but I will be back there for sure when there is a little more water for maneuvering. I went back down the little bayou, switched to a natural colored clouser pattern, and made a few casts where it opened into the second pond. I spooked another nice redfish, and threw another cast and caught a small speckled trout. I would catch and release about 10 there. Unfortunately they were all small, with only about half of them being above the 12” keeper mark. The “big one” was a tad under 14”. I also got a surprise redear sunfish (shellcracker, chinquapin) on the clouser.

I went looking for more redfish but found some marsh bass, landing 4 on the clouser. I missed a few and also missed a few redfish that somehow missed the hook. It was getting late so I headed in and got to the truck about 6 p.m. I don’t like the daylight savings time shift except for the ability to fish later in the day.

 

 

Hopedale marsh, 2-12-2017

Wind: 0 early, rose to about 10 mph from the SSW

Tide: Low was forecast at 12 :23 pm based on Shell Beach station. Range was about a foot. Rising a bit in the afternoon

Water Level: started low, went even lower, started rising about 3-4 pm.

Water Temperature: 70 F

Water Clarity: dirty, about foot of visibility, clarity declined in windy areas.

Water salinity: ?

Weather/sky: started overcast, sunny by noon with few clouds

Temperature: ~ 80 F for high

Moon: Waning, almost full moon

Solunar period: good period @ 2-4 p.m.

Time on the water: 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 6 miles

Other fishers: Jeff W.

Gnats (midges) and mosquitoes attacked hard at the launch because there was no wind to start. I used some spray and covered up just about everything, but some slipped in under my hat. Water was low so I did a good bit of paddling today with the rudder and fins in the up position. I trolled a chartreuse Nemire spoon as I went down a canal and quickly hooked up on a decent sized trout. I fished the area a bit but did not find any more. I went down a favorite little bayou off a canal and hooked a nice trout in the hole where they meet. The trout shook loose at the kayak. I went about 50 yards and hooked into a nice 29” redfish. I decided to try the fly rod even though the water was very turbid. I got one strike on a spoon fly but I could not get the hook set in time. I went on down the little bayou and spooked a 6’ gator off the bank. It took off and I did not see it again, and it must have spooked the fish as well.

The wind picked up so I gave up on the fly rod for a while. I went over to a large pond and found some large weedy spots in it. I got a small bass as I entered, then picked up another decent speckled trout along a weed line in about 2’ of water. I had several other hits on the spoon. Probably could have caught more specks if I had used a more appropriate lure for them. I paddled across a large weed bed and found some cleaner water on the leeward side of the pond. There was space between the shore and the weed beds and that held cleaner water and fish. I spooked a few redfish and had a nice one bail out on the spoon at the last second, leaving a big wake about 10’ from the kayak. A few casts later I hooked up on what I thought was a redfish, but it turned into a nice bass. This was a chunk of a fish and was probably getting ready to spawn. Naturally it took the spoon under a gill and I worked hard to free it while doing it as little harm as possible. I caught another decent speck and decided that would do me for this trip.

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Waterlogged at Reggio, June 11, 2016

Fishing Report

Date: 06/11/2016

Place: Reggio, LA

Wind: 0 – 5 mph mostly from S, but switched directions frequently and went up to 30+ mph

Tide: 0.5 ft., rising to high at 6 pm

Water Temperature: ?, warm to touch, like bathwater

Water Level: average to a little high

Water Clarity: 3’ -6’ visibility depending on spot

Moon: half, waxing

Solunar period: major period 7-9 a.m., minor at 2 p.m.

Weather/sky: mixed clouds and sun, 40% of rain

Temperature: 90 F for the high with high humidity

Time on the water: 7:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 4 miles

Other fishers: none

I got up about 5 a.m. and got some coffee and breakfast in me and hit the road to St. Bernard Parish about 6. I had struggled to pick a place to fish because of the unsettled atmospheric conditions. I wanted to fish some favorite spots but they require more paddling to get out there, but more importantly, more paddling to get back in quickly. So I picked Reggio, because I needed only go out a mile or two from the launch to have a chance of running into redfish. It turned out that all my thinking and strategy would be pretty useless since I got wet twice.

When I got to the launch there was already a big dark cloud rising in the distance. I dallied getting in the water because the cloud seemed to be growing and moving closer. After about 15 minutes I pushed off and headed for the marsh, thinking the storm would pass based on the wind that should be pushing it away based on its direction. I ran into some kayak anglers in a canal and they seemed to be womping up on some smaller fish (bass and specks?) and looked to be using bait under a cork. So I gave them their space and worked my way around them by going through a cut in the shallow marsh.

About the time I got around the anglers and back into more open water I looked behind me and saw the cloud was coming toward me and growing quickly. The wind was picking up quickly and the temperature dropped to the point that it felt like the air conditioner had kicked in. I made it around to a canal and stuck my marsh pole in on the leeward bank. It soon was raining sideways and the wind picked up to around 30 mph or maybe more. It was not a time to be out in open water. It stopped after about 30 minutes and I started fishing again.

I crossed a pond and found a nice grass line along a bank. I was spooking some fish that were in the maze of grass. It was hard working my weedless spoons and inline spinner baits through the aquatic jungle. I could not actually see any redfish due to the cloud cover, but I cast toward disturbances on the surface that looked like redfish working. I got the spinner to stay weedless long enough to hook up with a nice 22” redfish. I sent my wife a picture of the fish to let her know I was ok. She texted back “Dinner?” and I texted back “No” as I had already let the fish go. She texted back a sad face, so I knew what I had to do.

It wasn’t long until another cloud came up and I had to hunker down by the bank again. This time it rained longer and I passed the time staring down a 5 ft. alligator that looked back from about 50 yards. I telepathically communicated with it and said “My kind kill and eat your kind and we put them on menus in our restaurants”. The wise gator kept its distance.

After the rainstorm I headed back in the direction of the truck. Another dark cloud bank was coming closer and I was not going to get drenched for a third time. The wind appeared to be blowing the storm right to me, so I picked up my pace. By the time I got a half-mile from the truck I could tell that the storm was being pushed by the higher wind currents that were different in direction from the winds at ground level. So, I started fishing again and picked up a nice 18” redfish and kept it for dinner (gotta keep the wife happy).

I fished over by some white pvc pipes that indicated a boating hazard (not an oyster reef in this case) and could see it was very grassy nearby. I got a hard hit on the inline spinner and when I reeled it in the plastic bait was gone. I reloaded and cast again and a bass hit and came up shaking its head and spit the lure. I repeated the process and the bass cooperated. This time a 14” fish came in. I took a photo and then made a few more casts and got a 13” bass. I left them biting at this spot.

More clouds were brewing to the east and south. The easterly ones would probably pass but the southern ones were of concern because the upper steering winds seemed to be pushing storms to the north regardless of the surface winds. I headed for the truck for real this time. I ran into fellow BCKFC angler Casey D. at the launch and we exchanged some intel. I asked him to watch out for that storm, and he later messaged me that evening and said it did not cross him.

I cleaned my little redfish, conserving the belly meat and throat in addition to the usual half-shell fillets, and threw it on the hot grill at about 550 degrees F for about 7 minutes. My favorite redfish recipe is simple. I just smear some olive oil on the fish and work in some Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning to give it salt, pepper, and other flavors in one shot. Delicious!

 

Chili pepper fly @ City Park, 6-5-16

Fishing Report

Date: 06/5/2016

Place: City Park, New Orleans, LA

Wind: 5 – 10 mph from SE

Tide: Not applicable

Water Temperature: ~78 F

Water Level: OK

Water Clarity: fair 1’-2’ visibility depending on spot

Moon: new

Solunar period: major period 2 p.m.

Weather/sky: mixed clouds and sun, good chance of rain

Temperature: 90 F for the high

Time on the water: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Water covered: bank fishing ~ 1 mile

Other fishers: none

The weather was unsettled today and I did not want to get caught in a storm in a kayak, so I opted to fish in freshwater at City Park in New Orleans. If the weather got rough then I could just dash to the truck. It rained just a bit, but so far the potential storms that were forecast for today did not appear.

I tried a new red “chili pepper” fly I had tied and had a feeling that this would be a good day to sling it to some freshwater species. I made a couple of short casts and on the third cast a big Rio Grande cichlid (perch) ate the bug. It fought well on the light #5 rod and I got it in for some quick photos and released it. I tossed the fly back out and soon had another good strike. But this time it turned out to be a bull bream, and a nice one at that for City Park (the lakes get a lot of fishing pressure form urban anglers). I took a quick photo and sent the fish back. After I had landed a few more nice bream I decided to give them a break. They were sort of bedding and I didn’t want to disturb them too much. I starting moving around the “Big Lake” and started looking for Rios. I snagged my little chili pepper fly on a tree limb and had to break it off. I replaced it with a fly that A.J. Rosenbohm gave me. I saw several pairs of bedding Rios but could not get them to eat the fly. The bass seemed to like A.J.’s fly and I ended up with four small ones between 6 and 12 inches. Then I spied a pair of Rios on the bed and flipped the fly to them. One immediately inhaled it. It wasn’t a mature “bull” (no hump on its head), but it put up a scrappy fight.

I ended the day with 6 really nice bream and 2 small ones, 4 bass, and 2 Rios.

Rocking in the wind at Reggio, 5-15-2016

Fishing Report

Date: 05/15/2016

Place: Reggio, Louisiana

Wind: 10-20 mph from NE, gusty

Tide: Rising about half a foot, high at 3:30 p.m.

Moon: Waxing, 2/3 of full

Solunar period: minor period 9- 10 a.m.

Weather/sky: very sunny

Temperature: 83 F for the high

Water Temperature: ~75 F

Water Level: normal and rising a bit

Water Clarity: good, 3’-6’ visibility depending on spot

Time on the water: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Water covered: about 5 miles, continually pedaling

Other fishers: solo

Got on the water and had not pedaled far until I ran into a small gator, then a couple more 4’ers, and finally a 6-7’er. I was going minimalist today. I brought a #8 fly rod and a medium weight Shimano spinning outfit. I had the trusty Waldner spoon fly on the fly rod and an Seein’ spots in-line spinner bait on the other rig. I did not realize how minimal I was until I discovered I left the lure bucket with the spoons and other lures for the spinning rig back at the house. I did have my fly boxes, though.

It was too windy to be very effective throwing the fly rod, but I started with that since I only had the one lure for the spinning rod. I fished down a canal and then took a cut and let the wind push me for a bit across a very shallow and weedy flat area where I could not use the fins. I moved into deeper (4’) water that was a little stained and dirty but I could still see the bottom. I was flipping the spoon fly downwind around some crab traps when the line went tight and I set the hook on a 25” redfish. It fought well and was going in and out of the weeds as the wind pushed me along. Finally got it to the kayak and released it.

I fished more in the same area but had no more strikes so I moved on. The water was pretty clean but the wind made it tough for sighting fish at any reasonable distance, and it made for tough casting too. The weed beds are really coming along, and good accurate casts are important for keeping the hook free of vegetation. I would pull a lot of salad off the hooks by the end of the day.

I found a flat shallow area with very clear water (due to vegetation) and saw some wakes but could not tell the types of fish that were making them. The wind was pushing a sort of current across the flat that was 1-1.5’ deep. I flutter kicked the fins of the Mirage drive on my Hobie Outback to slowly work up and around the fish and then drifted back toward them. I broke out the spinning rod and made some long downwind casts and it was not long until I saw a wake that was closing on my spinner bait. It hit and missed and then hit again and it turned out to be a 24” redfish. Again the fish fought really well and did the old bury in the weeds and take off again routine a few times. I got it in and decide to keep it for the grill. I “field dressed” it there in the kayak, stuffed a blue ice pack into its body cavity, and put it in the small cooler in my front hatch.

I worked around some crab traps in deeper (5’-6’) water without success so I moved over to some small broken islands with wind pushing the water between them. I saw a large redfish working a bank but spooked it with a cast that landed too close (@#*$ wind!). I drifted and paddled into some really shallow water and picked up a couple of small marsh bass. I was looking for a route out of the marsh that would lead me back into the more open water and got stuck a few times. The water sort of ran out and was less than 4” deep around me. So I plowed, paddled, and backtracked and got to about 6” of water that was deep enough to traverse and worked through the muck and salad and back into open water. You must not be averse to shallow water and thick weeds if you fish Reggio and Delacroix in summer.

I started working upwind and heading back toward the truck. I was pedaling and paddling parallel to a mat of weeds in about 4’-5’ of water when I spotted a gang of slot redfish. I threw the fly at them but they slipped away. It is hard to approach fish heading upwind without them knowing you are there. A minute later I spotted a really nice bull redfish, but it too moved away as I tried to cast the spoon fly to it. I was getting frustrated so I switched to the spinner bait and got a nice strike on the next cast. The fish pulled the plastic lure half way off the in-line spinner, so I gently re-rigged it and the same thing happened again. It seemed there were multiple fish holding off a small point that stuck out into the weed bed. Perhaps the wind was pushing a little current with the help of the weeds and the little point. At any rate, something was causing fish to congregate at this spot. I hooked into what I thought was a nice speck, but it came off. Then I had a few more missed bites – maybe they were bass? Finally I stuck a hook into a 17” redfish. Not too remarkable a catch, except it was one of those all copper ones with no white on its belly. The plastic Saltwater Assassin on the spinner was getting pretty ripped up about that time. I worked it back into a semi-fishable position and made a few more casts and then headed for the truck. I wanted to get the fish home grill it so that my wife and I could have it for supper. Redfish on the half shell is our favorite. I passed by the gators on my way back in and they sank down and slithered away as usual. Not too bad for a windy day and one lure on the spinning rod.

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