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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Pointe aux Chene (Oak Point) marsh

 

Wind: 10 mph mostly, with an occasional lull, coming from the S then shifting to SW

Tide: very little

Water Level: a bit above normal, redfish could move up into the submerged grass.

Water Temperature: ~80 F

Water Clarity: good, 2-3 feet visibility in places, but the wind muddied open water

Water salinity: very little, maybe 1 ppt by taste test

Weather/sky: overcast, a few scattered showers around, got a little wet in the morning – breezy and overcast conditions made it comfortable but harder for fishing

Temperature: ~ 85 F for high

Moon: half, waning

Solunar period: major period @ 8 a.m.

Time on the water: 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

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: My tournament partner was Allan Simon (pro fly tyer and bowfishing guide). There were about 20 teams participating in this event.

Special Fly Fishing Tournament hosted by Eddie and Lisa Mullen’s Point aux Chene Kayak Rentals (http://packayakrental.com) and Mission Six/Troll Squad Group (a non-profit that benefits first responders and military, https://www.facebook.com/TrollsquadKayakFishing/). About 20 2-person teams participated. Kayakers Catch Cormier and Kevin Andry won the tournament, and Kevin also had the largest slot red for the day. They beat out several teams with the fancy “flats” boats. Congratulations!

Gear: 2 x #8 weight fly rods

Lures: I fished a gold spoon fly most of the day. I also got a speck early in the morning on Clouser minnow fished as a dropper under a Pole Dancer (topwater fly that mimics a spook).

Strategy/ patterns: Redfish seemed to be working upwind to feed on crabs and shrimp. The smaller reds I caught were sometimes in groups. A couple of times I saw their backs out of the water or a tail go up as they were feeding. I worked myself upwind and planned a drift to put me in good casting distance. The fish took the spoon fly like they were supposed to do it.

I ended the day with 7 redfish: 5 were small slot sized redfish from about 16.5 to18”, and 2 were 15”, and 2 speckled trout. Most were released. One of the specks came on the Clouser dropper under the Pole Dancer. All the other fish were caught on the spoon fly. Allan had a good day too, catching several small reds.

 

 

 

Delacroix Marsh 6-10-2017

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

Tide: High was at about 3:00 pm based on Shell Beach station. Range 1.5 ft.

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

Water Temperature: ~80 F

Water Clarity: fair, 2-3 feet visibility in places, but the wind muddied open water and visibility went to about a foot

Water salinity: not a hint

Weather/sky: sunny

Temperature: ~ 85 F for high

Moon: 1 day after full moon

Solunar period: strong major period @ 3 pm.

Time on the water: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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: Sean R. Also saw David L. when coming in from fishing

Gear: 2 x #8 weight fly rods

Lures: I fished a purple and gold spoon fly most of the day. I also got a speck early in the morning on a Pole Dancer (topwater fly that mimics a spook).

Strategy/ patterns: Once again the fish were scattered along banks, but I found some small groups of fish working in more open water too. Redfish seemed to be working upwind to feed on crabs and shrimp.

Ended the day with 5 slot sized redfish from about 18” to 26” and an undersized fish, 2 surprise speckled trout (didn’t expect to find them in shallow marsh this time of year), and a gar fish.

Sean had a good day using conventional tackle with double-digit redfish, including one that went 32”. Most of his fish came on the old reliable gold spoon.

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Delacroix Marsh, 4-15-2017

Wind: 10 mph early, soon 18-20 mph from the E, SE

Tide: Low was forecast at 1 am and high was at 5 pm based on Shell Beach station. Range about a a foot on the chart, wind pushing in cleaner saltier water.

Water Level: in the grass to start and rising through the day.

Water Temperature: ~70 F

Water Clarity: great (3 feet visibility) everywhere to start, but quickly deteriorated as the wind kicked up, cleaner water around weed beds with 3-4 ft. visibility.

Water salinity: ?

Weather/sky: mostly sunny, and more clouds in the pm

Temperature: ~ 80 F for high

Moon: waning 2/3 of full

Solunar period: fair period @ 5 p.m.

Time on the water: 7 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 6 miles, but did a lot of extra pedaling and paddling due to wind and to hold a position while casting.

Other fishers: solo

Gear: #8 weight fly rod, never used due to wind – should have left it in the truck, and Shimano Sahara 4000 w Teramar rod, 15# Powerpro braided line.

Lures: Started with a Seein’ Spots in line spinnerbait rigged with a Saltwater Assassin plastic (chicken on a chain color) and caught 7 on it, then switched to a Nemire Red Ripper spoon in black (the ol’ black spoon of death, or BSOD) and it got the rest. Both lures are weedless, which helped a little to avoid the filamentous algae in the shallow ponds. The algae fouled the lures if they hit bottom, but it also served to keep the water in the ponds clear. I had crimped down the barbs on both lures so that it was easier to remove the hook.

Strategy/ patterns: I headed to smaller ponds and eastern/leeward shorelines for wind protection and cleaner water. It also made the trip in to the launch easy with help from a hard tailwind. Redfish were hanging out in between small islands positioned where wind was pushing water through the gap. They were also roaming in smaller sized, protected ponds that had clean water. I tried to work the lures as slowly as possible while avoiding the algae on bottom.

Fish caught: 15 redfish, all slots, 10 were 17-20” range caught early, 5 in the 24-27” range caught from about 2-4 pm. Kept 2 of the smaller reds for dinner, healthy releases for the others.

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.

 

 

Delacroix marsh, 2-27-2017

Wind: 10-20 mph from the S

Tide: Low was forecast at noon based on Shell Beach station. A large range was forecast at about a foot and a half, but it didn’t happen. It was rising through the day. The hard S winds trapped the tide and did not let it fall.

Water Level: high, a little bit up in the grass

Water Temperature: 70 F

Water Clarity: dirty, about foot and a half of visibility, clarity declined in windy areas, cleaner on leeward shorelines around drains.

Water salinity: ?

Weather/sky: mostly sunny with few clouds

Temperature: ~ 75 F for high

Moon: dark moon

Solunar period: good period @ 1-4 p.m.

Time on the water: 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 5 miles

Other fishers: solo trip

I decided to try a trip on Lundi Gras. The wind was forecast to be high (it was) and there was a good chance of a shower or thunderstorm (it did not happen). It looked like most of the rain would stay north of New Orleans, so I gambled and it paid off nicely this time. I left the fly rods at home due to the howling wind. Today I threw a chartreuse spoon on the baitcaster and had a Seein’ Spots in line spinner with a Saltwater Assassin fluke (purple sparkle/chartreuse tail) on my spinning rig.

I combat launched my Hobie Outback kayak off the bank and had been fishing about 10 minutes when I landed a small slot redfish on the chartreuse spoon. I unhooked it, tossed it back into the water, made a long cast downwind, and immediately hooked into another one that was a couple of inches longer. I released that one and fished the area carefully but that was it for the action at that spot. I worked a windward bank with no luck and then went into a little pocket that frequently produces fish. I hooked into a nice 26” redfish on the spoon and got it with the fish grip, keeping it in the water. I recognized the fish from a previous encounter at the same spot. I could tell it by the unique scars on its belly that looked like cuts from braided line. They seem to be healing well. I released it and moved on.

I went through another inactive period while fishing a wind-sheltered bank and then I crossed some wind-whipped open water and made it behind an island that looked promising. The wind was pushing water through some grassy spots there and I casted parallel to the shoreline and picked up a nice 20” fish. I moved through more open water to another island and saw a redfish working after bait with its back out of the water. I made an unlucky cast that immediately snagged in some roots, so after spooking the fish and getting my lure back I worked along the island and got a nice 22” fish about 50 feet on up the bank. I guess it didn’t go far when it spooked. This fish was hard to unhook because the large hook went longway through the fish’s jaw. Another 100 feet or so I caught its twin. I fished around this area and got another 24” redfish that put up some good resistance. I had trouble getting the hook out of this one. The hook had gone through its mouth and then somehow rotated and was hooked a second time. This “second hooking” made it hard to get the hook out. After I finally got the fish released I decided to crimp down the barb on the spinner bait so that it would be easier to remove next time. About 15 minutes later I hooked a nice redfish and got it in on the crimped hook – so far so good. Then I lost 3 reds in a row and was wondering if I shouldn’t have messed with the barb. I tried to pay attention to keeping the line taught and landed a few more nice reds on the crimped hook. They were really whacking the inline spinnerbait and I was glad I could get the hook free pretty easily. Reds have tough mouths and it can be hard to unhook them when they take baits deep in their mouth.

I ended the day with 10 slot redfish (a double limit!) landed and about half a dozen misses. Three were nice ones between 26-27 inches, and all were looking healthy and well fed. I brought one of the 20″ fish home for the grill and released all the others. Glad it worked out that I got to fish and didn’t get stormed on today.

 

 

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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