Happy Jack (Port Sulphur), LA, 9-23-2017

 

Wind: almost none to start, increased about 9 a.m., soon was 10-12 mph from east

Tide: falling to start, low scheduled about 8 a.m., high 11:24 p.m. at Empire Jetty station, range about 1 ft. The tide at Happy Jack lags about 2 hours behind the Empire Jetty station tide.

Water Level: a bit below the grass line to start, into grass line by afternoon

Water Temperature: ~78 F

Water Clarity: fair initially, and found some crystalline water up a bayou, but wind and incoming tide churned it up

Water salinity: a little salty, maybe 3 ppt

Weather/sky: sunny with scattered clouds

Temperature: ~ 76, going up to ~ 88 F for high

Moon: new crescent

Solunar period: major period @ 4 p.m.

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

Water covered: ~ 5 miles

Other fishers: solo trip

Game Plan: Find clean water by getting back into protected marsh, catch reds and sheepshead with the fly rod.

Gear: 2 fly rods, one spinning outfit as back up in case the wind got too strong.

Lures: Spoon fly and a small crab pattern on the fly rods. Aqua Dream spoon in chartreuse on the spinning reel.

Strategy/ patterns: I found one of my favorite patterns as I left a big pond and turned up a small bayou. The water was draining out and the further I went the water got cleaner and the redfish begin to appear everywhere. Most were 10”-16”, but there were some 24”-25” reds in there too.

I threw the spoon fly to them and they ate it up. I caught a fish every few minutes, some by blind casting and others by sight when I could see them. The water was only a foot or two deep so I could cast at wakes when I couldn’t actually see the fish. The angle of the sun was still low, but when the light was right it was like watching redfish TV. I had scads of throwbacks and scratched up six that would make the slot. The biggest was about 20”, but they were all fun on the fly rod.

I got one small speckled trout on the spoon fly off a point that usually hold fish, but the water was dirty there and couldn’t find other fish.

I left this spot and went to look for some better sized fish and went across a windy open pond to more broken marsh. I tried the spinning outfit but had no luck. I got up into some tight marsh where I could cast the fly rod. I had to pull up the fins and rudder on the Hobie Outback and paddle here. I’d seen sheepshead here before but none today. I did see some good upper slot redfish but they were at close range and I couldn’t get a cast to them. I did some blind casting and got four smaller sized reds. The water was getting dirtier so I headed back to the first bayou, but found conditions had changed. The water had come up and was dirty. I did some blind casting and threw the spoon some, but without luck. I think the fish were still there, however the conditions had changed and the bite had turned off. I threw the spoon fly some and got one more little redfish and called it a day.

Other notes: Today was stingray day. I saw half a dozen pretty big ones. I’ve heard that seeing stingrays is correlated with good presence of redfish, and this held true today. I lost track of the number of fish that I caught today, but had a limit + of smaller slot fish. All the fish caught today were released in good shape.

 

 

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Hopedale, LA 9-10-2017

 

Wind: 15-20 mph from NNE to NE

Tide: falling, but fighting wind pushing in, high scheduled about 6:20 a.m. at the Shell Beach station

Water Level: very high, about 1 foot above the grass line

Water Temperature: ~76 F

Water Clarity: variable from fair to 5+ feet visibility in spots

Water salinity: a little salty, maybe 2 ppt

Weather/sky: sunny early, clouding up in the afternoon

Temperature: ~ 72, going up to ~ 81 F for high – very comfortable with the wind

Moon: Waning , 2/3 moon

Solunar period: major periods @ 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Time on the water: 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 7 miles

Other fishers: solo trip

Game Plan: Stay out of the wind, fish areas with protected shorelines, find clean water.

Gear: 2 x spinning and 1 x bait casters.

Lures: Aqua Dream spoon in chartreuse, Seein’ Spots in-line spinner with a Saltwater Assassin Die Dapper in Chicken on a Chain color, and a paddle tail plastic with 1/16 oz jig head under a cork.

Strategy/ patterns: Fish were in cleaner water being pushed by wind and current through the flooded grass. It was important to fish as close to the submerged grass along the shoreline as possible. Most strikes came within a few feet from the shoreline. I started with the in line spinner and caught a few, then switched to the jig under cork but got nothing with that. Then I tried the spoon and the fish ate it up. 15 of the 18 redfish caught were on the spoon.

It was difficult fishing due to the wind and was

compounded by the fact that I forgot my stake out pole. So I would let the wind pin me to a windward bank or when on a lee shoreline I tossed my tethered paddle in the grass to hold me when I needed to stop. The canal where I launched the Hobie Outback kayak was a bit muddy with better than usual visibility of about a foot and a half. As I went along I noticed open water across some grass so I thought I’d drag the kayak over. I kept paddling and found there was no need to get out and drag the kayak. Instead I just pushed through the submerged grass that held over a foot of water. I got into a little bayou and the fishing began. There was really clean high water, so I could use my fins (was able to pedal 95% of the time today). I hadn’t gone far when I caught the first 18” redfish on the inline spinner. I let the wind push me down the bank and tried, sometimes unsuccessfully, to keep the lure as tight to the bank as possible. Redfish seemed to be moving in and out of the flooded grass along the bank, and it was not long until I landed another redfish that was a little bigger. I’d get another redfish and a surprise bass from that bayou.

Since that bayou held very clean water I decided to try another one that was situated nearby in a similar orientation. But on the way there I found a jackpot of redfish stacked on a leeward bank that had clean water pushing through it. A redfish nailed the inline spinner and knocked the plastic lure off. Rather than re-rigging I tried the rod with the spoon and caught three more redfish in about 15 minutes. That proved to be the favorite lure of the day. I moved on down the bank and picked up more redfish, then turned up the bayou I was targeting and got four more. One was a nice fish of about 28”. I turned around and went back the way I came and picked up several more redfish, including a fat one of about 26”. As I started back down the canal I decided to troll my spoon and the jig under the cork. Good idea! I picked up two more redfish on the way back to the truck just by trolling. The fish bit all day long – most action was about 12-1 pm.

Other interesting stuff: An otter popped up about 20 feet from me, took a look at me, and then disappeared. I saw one big flock of blue wing teal of about 40. Teal season is opening next Friday, so fishers need to give duck hunters their space for the next few weekends.

This was my personal best day (numbers wise, for redfish) on the water fishing from my kayak. I got 18 redfish (mostly 18-20” fish) and 2 bass into the kayak today. I also let a couple of bass “self release” by letting them shake off. All the fish caught today were released.

Delacroix marsh 8-10-2017

Wind: 0-3 mph from S

Tide: falling, high scheduled about 5 pm at the Shell Beach station

Water Level: a little low, just below the grass line

Water Temperature: ~85 F

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

Water salinity: N/A

Weather/sky: sunny early, then turned to thunderstorms

Temperature: ~ 78, going up to 90 F for high

Moon: waning , half moon

Solunar period: major period @ 5 p.m.

Time on the water: 6 a.m. to 10:00 am

Water covered: ~ 5 miles

Other fishers: solo trip

Game Plan: Woke up about 4:30 am, got in the truck and headed down to Delacroix. I stopped at the drive through at Gerald’s in Chalmette for coffee and donuts to charge the battery. Combat launched off the roadside, hit the bayou, and tried some new water that I had never fished before.

Gear: 1 x spinning and 1 x fly rod.

Lures: I tied a small 1/8 oz gold Johnson weedless spoon on since the weed beds were thick and the water was shallow. I had a weedless spoon fly on the long rod.

Strategy/ patterns: Good sight fishing conditions today until the storms kicked up. I spent a good bit of the morning standing, but never got a sure sight of a redfish (did see a few large wakes). I did see a ton of gar (spotted and alligator) and mullet (some big ones) everywhere. I did hear one large redfish grunt and saw its mud trail as I paddled over it. The water was between a foot to two feet with weeds, so I paddled a good bit rather than pedaled. There was no real pattern for today since I did not really get into any fish. This happened last August too; some stretches of Delacroix marsh that previously produced well for me were totally devoid of redfish. Maybe it gets too hot/hypoxic for them and they head for better water. Mullet and gar can take the hypoxic water since they can gulp air.

Saw lots of gators in various sizes of up to about 10 ft.

A little cloud came over about 6:30 and drizzled on me. When I looked back to where it came from out of the SW there was a double rainbow. It went past and grew into a big thunderstorm, but it had moved off and was not a concern at that point. About 9 a.m. the clouds started building and I decided not to go any further. I began to work my way back in and by 9:30 it was clear I needed to haul it back to the truck. The grumbling thunder and growing black clouds got my old butt moving at a good pace.

I checked out Reggio Marina on the way back up highway 300. The little office was padlocked shut and the parking lot was empty. A big for sale sign was near the little bridge over the Reggio Canal.

Major roadwork and repairs to the rock rip-rap along the Bayou Terre aux Boeufs continue, so be careful if you travel this way. It’s easy to get down there early, but there are places that were down to one lane on the way back. There is loose gravel on the roadsides and workers have piled up rocks in some spots. This could make a combat launch difficult.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.