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.

 

 

 

 

Reggio, LA 4-21-19

Wind: 4-10 mph SE

Tide: low 12:30 am, high 3:30 pm using Shell Beach Station

Water Level: super low

Water Temperature: ~70 F

Water Clarity: poor

Water salinity: n/a

Weather/sky: clear and sunny

Temperature: ~ 78 F for high

Moon: 2 days past full

Solunar period: fair period at 4 pm

Time on the water: slipped the Hobie Outback in at 1:30 p.m., out at 3:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 2.5 miles

Other fishers: solo trip

Gear: Abu Garcia Revo/Falcon rod combo looked lonely and I had been ignoring it for a while, so I brought it this trip.

Lures: in-line spinner bait with a Matrix vortex (black/chartreuse).

Strategy/ patterns: Find redfish. With the cool morning and the full moon, I figured there was no need to rush out to fish at the crack of dawn. As the sun warmed up the bottom and the tide rose with wind, I guessed the crabs would get moving about 10 am.

Tried to combat launch at Delacroix, but the water was too low. I got stuck, turned back and put the kayak back on the truck. The cold front that moved through on Thurs/Fri had some really strong winds, and I guess that blew out the water.

I drove back up highway 300 and checked out Reggio Marina. Water was pouring in through the canal, and it was very dirty. So I headed back to the canal below the marina and combat launched off the roadside.

Looked around and finally found some cleaner water. I let the wind push me along and casted. Ended up with 3 redfish on the spinner. Tough day down in da parish.

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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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Hopedale, LA 3-9-2019

I don’t usually fish in tournaments. I work in a pretty competitive field, so fishing is my way of relaxing and disconnecting from that part of my world. I planned to fish on Mar. 9, and this date coincided with Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club’s Trout Challenge. It would be held at the places I usually fish in St. Bernard Parish, so I entered. I rarely specifically target speckled trout. Usually they are by-catch when I am targeting redfish, so this would really be a “trout challenge” for me.

I combat launching off the roadside and was on the water by 6 a.m., just a bit past the legal start time of 5:45 a.m. It had been pretty cold earlier in the week. Friday it warmed up nicely, and Saturday was forecast to be warmer, with a high of 78 degrees. The catch was the wind had been blowing from the south on Friday and continued Saturday at 15-25 mph. This meant the water would likely be high (it was) and the fishing would be more difficult under these conditions. It was a bit foggy and overcast most of Saturday as well. Although it was supposed to be warm it really wasn’t. The water temperature was about 58 to start and it warmed to about 64 degrees by afternoon. The wind blowing across the cool water made me keep my jacket on most of the day.

The water was pretty green color when there was enough daylight to check it. I could see lures about 2 feet below the surface. The water got dirtier through the day as the wind picked up, with visibility declining to about a foot. There was not much tidal range so most of the water movement for the day was wind driven.

My plan was to follow a deeper canal and troll plastic baits while looking for schools of trout on the fish finder. When I came to bayous or cuts I would fish that area, working from deep to shallow to try and intercept trout as they moved up to warmer waters. I got one undersized trout trolling along the canal. When I reached the first bayou I started casting into it and immediately caught another undersized trout. I spent about an hour here catching little trout and hoping there would be some bigger ones hanging out with them. After releasing about a dozen and losing a bunch, I got a 13” trout into the net. I fished some more but couldn’t make them grow any bigger. I had a couple of false alarms when I hooked up with redfish instead of trout. I slipped an 18” redfish into my fish bag to supplement my lone trout for Saturday night supper.

I pushed on and tried a spot where I caught a rogue 19” trout on my fly rod last spring. Nobody home this time. So I went back to the main channel and trolled a bit. No luck. I saw a deep cut off the channel so I followed it to the shoreline. More redfish were caught and released off this bank. I went back to the channel and kept pushing upwind. It was now about 12:30 and about time to turn around if I wanted to make the weight in. I tried a wind blown shoreline off a bend in the main channel. The wind was pushing me hard as I was blown along a nice looking tideline headed toward the bank. I got a cast off and hooked up on a 15” speck that made it to the net. I was thinking it was “pattern solved, game on”, but that was the only speck to come off that bank.

I retraced my track, this time with help from a tailwind. I slowed to hit some shoreline structure and got another small redfish. I went up a bayou that opened into a small pond and “bingo”. Hooked up on a keeper trout but it shook free at the kayak. Cast back out and repeated the hook with premature release another three times. What’s up with this – maybe a bad hook – it looked ok. So I switched from the chartreuse matrix shad to a Vudu shrimp, but it really didn’t help much. I lost several more fish until I finally got one in the net. I managed to lose some more before getting another 12.5” fish into the bag. It was really frustrating because I easily lost enough fish to surpass the 10 fish limit for the tournament. They weren’t very big trout, but I had intended on being able to put 10 in the bag. I was pretty disappointed at missing so many fish. When I’m not trying to catch trout I usually land them.

It was getting late, a little after 2 p.m., and weigh in ended at 3. If I hustled I could make it and weigh in my 4 dinky trout. The wind was pushing hard on my back. I was doing 3.5 mph without pedaling, and almost 6 mph with pedaling the Hobie Outback – probably close to the max hull speed for the kayak. Then a little bayou off the canal caught my attention. I stopped to check it out. After a few minutes of no bites and dirty looking water I decided to call it a day and headed for the truck. I decided to clean my fish instead of racing in for the weigh in.

I checked my track when I got in. I covered about 9 miles and checked out some new spots and fished with techniques that I don’t normally use. So it was a “challenge” for me except there were not many trout. I tried several lures, with success on chartreuse Matrix shad and a natural colored Vudu shrimp fished on a tight line and when trolled. I tried them under a cork, but didn’t have luck with that. I also threw and trolled an inline spinner with a Matrix Vortex shad (black/chartreuse tail) and a ¼ oz. Aqua Dream spoon (chartreuse) but got no love with those.

 

 

 

 

 

Delacroix 3-2-2019

Wind: 0 – 5 mph shifting around from W to N to E

Tide: Low was forecast at 10:30 am based on Shell Beach station. Range about a foot.

Water Level: normal to start, dropped out with some bank showing later.

Water Temperature: ~70 F

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

Water salinity: nada

Weather/sky: foggy early, mostly cloudy

Temperature: ~ 78 F for high

Moon: waning ¼ moon

Solunar period: good period @ 10:30 p.m.

Time on the water: 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 3 miles

Other fishers: Martin C.

Gear: Shimano Sahara 4000 w Teramar rods, 15# Powerpro braided line w 15# mono Berkley leader.

Lures: Seein’ Spots in line spinnerbaits rigged with a Saltwater Assassin plastic (chicken on a chain and white colors), Aquadream spoon (chartreuse).

Strategy/ patterns: Fish the banks of small islands, look for redfish

Fish caught: I got 4 slot redfish from 20-24” and 2 bass, most came on the inline spinner. Martin got 2 redfish in the 24” range. Kept 2 of the redfish for dinner, healthy releases for the others. Most of the fish came on the inline spinners. I caught one nice upper slot fish on the spoon.

I saw some out of state license plates in the parking lot and was wondering what was up. Then I realized the IFA tournament was in town. We ran into several kayak anglers coming in as we were headed out. I guess they were going to try some new water. I spoke to one angler who said he had caught some nice redfish and trout.IMGP0079.jpg

The water was still, but sighting fish below the surface was difficult due to the cloud cover and fog. I had a ton of strikes, but somehow the fish missed the hook. One even ripped a new plastic bait off the hook. I’ve never had such a difficult day of getting the hook into a fish. I spooked a lot of fish as well. Several of them were nice sized redfish that were holding right against the bank. Martin missed a few as well, but I’m glad he caught some too. He has not fished in some time and has never fished from a kayak or caught redfish before today. I think he had a good time. We cooked our catch on the half-shell on the grill and it came out great.

 

 

 

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!