Reggio Marsh, 5-2-2019

Reggio marsh, 5-2-2019

Wind: 10+ mph early, dropped to near 0 at noon, then back to 10+ from SE

Tide: little range using Shell Beach Station

Water Level: high

Water Temperature: ~70 F

Water Clarity: poor, but crystal clean back in the marsh

Water salinity: none

Weather/sky: clear, sunny, a few clouds

Temperature: ~ 82 F for high

Moon: waning sliver

Solunar period: good period at 4 pm

Time on the water: slipped the Hobie Outback in at 7 a.m., out at 3:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 4.5 miles

Other fishers: Jeff W.

Gear: 2 #8 weight fly rods

Lures: Olive rabbit zonker worm fly, bubble-head popper, brown “shrab”, purple/gold Waldner spoon fly.

Strategy/ patterns: Find redfish.

Launched off highway 300 and headed west into the shallow stuff. Water was up so getting over there was no trouble. Water was beautifully clean, but the wind was blowing enough to make standing and casting difficult. I tried to get into some tighter marsh to get some shelter from the wind. I could stand and cast if I put the stake out pole down, but it was a little tricky. I positioned myself cast to a redfish coming through a little pass between some small islands, but it wasn’t into the popper.

The spotted and alligator gar were everywhere – must have seen a thousand. The alligator gar were making lots of noise as they mated. A few of them looked like they were interested in the kayak. Most of the alligator gar were 4-5 feet, but I saw one huge one that was close to the length of the kayak.

The wind was dying down, so I started poling along through the ponds. As the wind dropped the biting gnats came out and I had to go to the Vicki’s Amber Romance to repel them. There were some brief attacks from biting flies too.

I saw several reds, sheepshead, some small bass, and some big blue catfish as I poled along. There were also lots of bream bedding in groups of 20-40. Got a 22” redfish to eat the spoon fly as I reached the end of a pond. Today the redfish were hanging out on the windward sides of the ponds and at the junctions that opened into ponds.

I worked my way through the little bayous and ponds. Caught three more upper slot fish, lost 2 more, and fought a nice 28” redfish that buried itself in the vegetation several times before coming to the net. I use a 20 lb. mono tippet to help get fish out of the grass without breaking off. The advantage of being in a kayak is that I can get over to the fish and free it from the vegetation if it buries itself. I released all my fish today, and they swam off in good condition.

I headed back in and checked with Jeff. He caught 10 redfish using conventional tackle and a few bass. One of the bass weighed about 3 lbs. I came across some good sized alligators (7-12 ft.) on the the way back to the truck, but they just sank down as I approached. Overall,  it was a pretty good day in the marsh.

VZSK3182

 

 

 

 

 

Reggio, LA 4-27-19

Reggio marsh, 4-27-2019

Wind: 10 mph SE, S

Tide: 7:30 am low, high 7:00 pm using Shell Beach Station

Water Level: average to start, getting up in the grass by evening

Water Temperature: ~70 F

Water Clarity: poor at launch, but cleaned up nicely in the marsh

Water salinity: n/a

Weather/sky: clear and sunny

Temperature: ~ 78 F for high

Moon: half, waning

Solunar period: good period 8-10 am, fair period at 2 pm

Time on the water: slipped the Hobie Outback in at 10:30 a.m., out at 6:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 4 miles

Other fishers: solo trip

Gear: Abu Garcia Revo/Falcon rod combo, 8 weight fly rod

Lures: in-line spinner bait with a Saltwater Assassin (chicken on a chain). Tried Waldner’s spoon fly and a new crab fly I tied.

Strategy/ patterns: Find redfish.

I fished this area last week for a short period, so I thought I’d try it again when I had more time. I went to where I caught the redfish on the last trip, and they were still there. I caught 5 in the 16”-17” range and then got a 22” fish. I could readily catch them on the spinner, but could not get a hit on a fly. I went back to the spinner and caught a few more. I decided to try to drift and fish, and I picked up a couple of 18” reds. I paddled back into some shallow marsh and tried the new crab fly I had made. I flipped the crab fly in front of a small gar, and it bit but did not get the hook. It began to swim away and was joined by an 18” redfish. Got the fly in front of the red and it ate and ran. Only fish I was able to get on the fly today.

I got into a shallow (1ft.) pond that had several redfish. It was weedy and was difficult to fly fish with the wind, but I did my best to quietly work the pond with the fly rod. Couldn’t get them to feed. I went upwind to attempt a drift, and I got very close to the fish but they were spooky by then. So I left the pond and trolled a bit in deeper water….picked up 3 more reds from 18-22”. Ended up with a dozen or more redfish. I probably could have caught several more if I had stayed with the bait caster, but I spent most of trip working on the fly rod. Nice day to be on the water in the kayak.

 

 

 

 

Delacroix marsh, LA 3-24-2019

Wind: 10+ mph E-SE

Tide: low 1 a.m., high at 5 p.m. based on Shell Beach station.

Water Level: a little high, up in the grass

Water Temperature: ~72 F

Water Clarity: good (3 feet visibility) to fair.

Water salinity: nada

Weather/sky: mostly clear and sunny

Temperature: ~ 78 F for high

Moon: waning ¾ of full

Solunar period: fair period at 5 p.m.

Time on the water: Hobie Outback in the water at 9:30 a.m., driving home 6:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 8 miles

Other fishers: Jeff W.

Gear: two #8 weight fly rods

Lures: Waldner spoon fly (gold/chartreuse) and a popper with a shrimp dropper about 3 ft. below

Strategy/ patterns: Start looking for specks, then shift to reds. It was a cool morning with a big moon the night before. This usually means the fishing will start slow, and it did. The bite picked up in the afternoon.

I trolled and cast the popper/dropper into places where I thought there would be trout. Since it wasn’t hot, I covered some water and went across some large ponds. No trout, so I headed to the marsh for reds. It was breezy but I tried standing and poling along. I saw tons of spotted gar working on the next generation. Spotted several stingrays, a few black drum, and sheepshead. I was going through a patch of very shallow cloudy water and suddenly discovered a half dozen big redfish right under me. The wind was pushing the kayak as I tried to reach for my rod and I spooked them away one by one. They grunted as they left.

I went a bit further and saw a little island that was eroding. Current had sawed through about 20 feet at the tip, and the wind created some moving water. It seemed a likely spot and it was. First cast and a 16” red bit and was landed. I repeated this three more times, then they started to figure out something was up. I continued to cast and would catch another fish every 5-10 casts. After I caught 10, I went up to the tip of the island where I caught the fish. It was a little deeper there…..maybe 3 ft, where the rest of the area was about 2 feet deep. The fish there ranged from about 15” to 19”.

The sun was starting to slip down to the west so I headed in and hit some banks where I had caught fish before. I got a couple of better sized redfish of 22” and 24” and kept working back toward the truck. I picked up the last fish, another 16” one, in sight of the truck. All my fish were caught on the spoon fly and were released to bite another day. My buddy Jeff fished further west of me and got into some trout. He ended up with a dozen or so, but threw back about half because they were small. He also caught several undersized reds and a 24” fish using root beer Gulp! fished without a cork. It was a little windy for fly fishing, but a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

 

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Delacroix, LA 2-16-2019

Kayak fly fishing report from Delacroix, LA 2-16-19

Wind: 0 at first, afternoon came up to 10 mph from SW

Tide: low about 10:30, range 2 ft.

Water Level: low, a foot of mud bank showing

Water Temperature: ~ 70 F

Water Clarity: pretty good, about 2-3 feet

Water salinity: very fresh – no salt detected

Weather/sky: fog early, but had cleared by the time I was on the water

Temperature: ~ 70-75 F

Moon: ¾ waxing

Solunar period: major ~ 10:30 a.m.

Time on the water: slid the Hobie Outback kayak in at 11 a.m., driving in at 6 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 6 miles

Other fishers: solo trip

Game Plan – stalk redfish

Gear: two #8 fly rods for the marsh

Lures: chartreuse Waldner spoon fly, large popper with a purple bunny leech variant tied two feet below.

I launched and met “blackfish” as he was coming in. He had had a pretty good morning, catching several redfish.

With the low water, I had to paddle instead of pedal the Hobie Outback about half the time. I found some redfish in the back end of an old canal. Had two good hook ups on the spoon fly early, but both shook free.

I went into a small shallow pond and saw several fish rooting around. I tried to ease over to one but it seemed to stay just out of casting range. I didn’t want to spook it with too many casts, so I gave it a break and cast downwind for a minute. A redfish came out of nowhere and struck twice at the popper and then bit the dropper fly. I netted it and found its belly was covered with leeches. It had been spending a good bit of time on its belly.

I cast the popper/dropper rig back where I had spotted the first fish. After a few casts a large fish came up and struck the popper but missed. It was pretty close when it hit and spooked.

I spotted 3-4 other fish on the surface over the day but had no luck getting a bite. I spooked scads of redfish that were bedded down on the bottom in shallow water. I looked at lots of mud clouds today.

I headed back toward the truck and picked up a small bass on the dropper fly. Had to paddle a good bit of the way in to get across a shallow area. A slow day for sure, but I got to see an otter feeding and an eagle chasing an osprey that was carrying a fish. The eagle forced to osprey to give up its catch, and the fish dropped into the water. Surprisingly, the eagle did not go after the fish, but just flew away. Mean bird!

Hopedale, LA 2-10-19

Kayak fishing report from Hopedale, LA 2-10-19

Wind: 15-20 mph from E

Tide: little range predicted, but wind had the water moving well

Water Level: a little above normal

Water Temperature: ~ 58-62 F

Water Clarity: pretty good, about 2-3 feet

Water salinity: very fresh – no salt detected

Weather/sky: mostly cloudy, fog started to roll in later in the evening

Temperature: ~ 60-70 F

Moon: first quarter

Solunar period: minor ~ 10 a.m., major ~ 5 p.m.

Time on the water: slid the Hobie Outback kayak in at 10:45 a.m., driving in at 6 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 6 miles

Other fishers: Sean R. and Jeff W.

Game Plan – troll canals for trout on the way out to the marsh, then switch to targeting redfish.

Gear: Spinning combo with #15 braided line and 6 ft. of #15 mono joined with a FG knot for jig trolling. #8 fly rod for the marsh

Lures: chartreuse Waldner spoon fly, ¼ oz jig with plastic bait to target trout: Matrix shad (lemon), Vudu shrimp (natural)

We launched later in the morning since a cold front had passed through recently. I like to let the fish warm up a bit this time of year, plus it’s nice to sleep in.

We started trolling jigs behind our kayaks as we moved slowly up a canal on the way to the marsh. Sean caught several specks by the time we reached the end of the canal, and a few made the 12” size cut. I caught 3, and one was 12.25”.

I left Sean throwing a hard bait over an oyster bed at the mouth of a pond. The last I saw of him, he was pulling in a small trout. I headed up into a tight bayou, maybe 25 ft. wide, to get out of the wind so I could cast the fly rod. I was blind casting to likely spots due to the wind. I picked up 3 redfish of 25”, 20”, and 16” (released). The little one had 16 spots.

About 3 o’clock I started back toward the truck and began trolling. I had lots of “taps” from small fish and would occasionally hook up. The majority of the specks were undersized, and the keepers were between 12 and 13”. The bite was pretty good at intersections. We stopped where activity was high and got lots of “taps” about every cast. Jeff caught a couple of redfish, several small trout and a bonus flounder. I ended up with 6 trout in my bag that will go into trout cakes tonight.

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Pearl River 12-28-2018 Blast and cast

I worked my way out to the duck ponds off the river in the dark. The water was high from the previous day’s rains and it was easy to paddle over the flooded weeds. I set up with 6 gadwall on the left and 4 green-wing teal on the right with a little pocket between them. I backed the kayak up into a clump of bullrushes and hid there. I think the mistake I made was positioning myself directly in line with the pocket, such that the ducks coming straight in would be looking right at me. It was very still that morning and the duck decoys did not have much movement. Rain sprinkled down sporadically, and it was warm for late December – about 60 degrees F. The biting gnats were pretty annoying. I brought OFF to keep the mosquitoes away but left my Victoria’s Secret Amber Romance (repels gnats) in the truck.

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View from my kayak with decoys in the pond.

Shoulda, coulda, woulda had a limit. First a pair of wood ducks swooped in on me at the instant I had to scratch some gnats that were biting my forehead. I “waived” them goodbye.  Then a squad of green wing teal buzzed through the decoys and I started to shoot but held off thinking they might swing around but they didn’t. The last was the worst. I had three gadwall dropping into the decoys, feet down, and suddenly they flared off. I emptied the Remington but didn’t have it on my cheek. These were the first shots I’ve fired at ducks in a couple of years. The rust was bad, and I don’t think I have shaken it off yet.

The ducks seemed to have found their places in the marsh and after an hour of gazing up at an empty sky I decided to pull up the decoys and try some fishing. I had found a hotspot for white bass and the hybrids (striped bass -white bass cross) off the river that has been good for the past couple of weeks. I put away the gun and the decoys and rigged up the 4 weight fly rod with a chartreuse and white clouser minnow. I marked lots of larger fish along the deep bayou (12-15 feet). Most of the fish were suspended at 6 to 10 feet. I worked the clouser slowly with short strips, tried big hops, and other retrieves but could not get a strike.

I moved over to some moving water where I had caught them on previous trips and a few were hanging out there. I caught six, ranging from a pound and half to about three and a half pounds. The larger fish had several broken lines in it’s striped pattern, which indicated it was a hybrid (sometimes called a wiper or a rockwhite). I took a photo of its mouth. The hybrid is supposed to have two tooth patches on the sides of its tongue while the white bass should have a tooth patch in the center of the tongue. This fish, and some others I caught seem to have combined features. Maybe these are hybrid x white bass crosses? I’m not sure what’s going on here, but they are fun to catch on light tackle.

 

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Say aahhhhh for me! The entire “tooth patch” in the center of the fish’s tongue is rough, and there is pigmentation on the sides.

 

 

Pearl River, 12-22-2018

Kayak / fly rod report from Pearl River, LA 12-22-18

Wind: 0-5 mph from SE

Tide: N/A

Water Level: average

Water Temperature: ~ 54-58 F

Water Clarity: great

Water salinity: fresh

Weather/sky: sunny

Temperature: ~ 55-65 F

Moon: full

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!

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