Delacroix 12-16-2017

Wind: steady at 10 mph from N

Tide: Falling, low at about 11 am, range 1.2 ft., N and W winds have been draining the marsh

Water Level: pretty low, a foot below normal, lots of crab traps out of the water

Water Temperature: ~ 49 F

Water Clarity: amazing – clear as a swimming pool

Water salinity: ~ did not check

Weather/sky: supposed to be partly cloudy, but was overcast all day and the flats did not warm up as I thought they would

Temperature: ~ 45 F, going up to about 55 F

Moon: 1/8 waning

Solunar period: major period @ noon

Time on the water: Slipped the Hobie Outback kayak in at 10:30 a.m., packed up and driving home in the da

rk about 6 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 6 miles

Other fishers: solo trip

Game Plan: keep moving, find fish after the cold front came through Thurs./Fri.

Gear: Two spinners and two bait casters

Lures: Vudu shrimp under a sliding cork, Aqua Dream spoon, in line Seein Spots spinner with a Saltwater Assassin Die Dapper in Chicken on a chain pattern, small Unfair Lures gold/silver topwater.

Strategy/ patterns: Look for fish in or near deeper spots since the weather has been cold lately. I started later in the morning to let the duck hunters do their thing and to give the water some time to warm a bit. The water temperature did not go up because the sun never came out and the air temperature was not very warm either. Nevertheless, some reds were prowling the shorelines later in the afternoon. The two lures that were successful were the in line spinnerbait and the Vudu shrimp. The spinnerbait is rigged weedless and could be fished slow enough that the fish could see and attack it in the weedy, low water (usually a foot or less). The Vudu shrimp produced at the scour holes where the water was deeper (up to 6 feet).

Saturday’s weather looked like a window of opportunity between cold fronts so I took a shot at it. It was supposed to warm up more and be sunnier in the afternoon but that did not happen. Instead, it was a cold and gloomy day with a steady 10 mph wind, so I had to make lemonade from my lemons. There would be no standing to fish today with the wind and overcast sky, although the water clarity was still incredible for SE Louisiana.

I had to paddle out into the stiff wind and the water was only deep enough for the pedals in about half of the 6 miles or so that I covered today. Much of the shallow, cold water seemed devoid of fish and bait. I approached a deeper cut in the bank that had a scour and it held some fish. I got a 24” red on the spinner and then switched to the Vudu shrimp/cork rig. That produced a bass, followed by a nice 17” trout, then a 15” red, another bass, and another 15” red. There did not seem to be many trout here or else they were too cold, so I moved out to the marsh to look for reds. I had to cross a big pond so I trolled the shrimp and the spoon, but did not intersect any specks along the way. When I got to the other side I was greeted by a couple of redfish tails. Of course the wind was pushing me hard and I got a couple of casts off at one of the reds before I was pushed past and out of range. So I quietly paddled back into range and finally got the fish to see the spinner. It was cool to see the torpedo wake rise behind the lure and I remembered to let the fish have plenty of time to take it rather than anticipating the strike and yanking it away. When I felt the weight of the fish I set the hook and it was on. A few minutes later a nice 7.5 -8 lb red was in the net. I netted this fish instead of doing a water release because I wanted to get it in quickly and was trying not to scare off the other fish a few yards down the bank. After releasing the fish I went after its buddy. The fish was still showing its back and I moved closer and cast to it. The water was shallow and my weedless lure kept coming back in with a gob of vegetation on it. The wind blew me away so I had to paddle back toward where the fish had been. The fish had moved closer than I realized as it had followed the lure toward me and I scared it away.

So it went for the rest of the afternoon. I would see a back or tail of a fish, I’d try to move in, get off a few casts, and eventually I hooked up with another nice upper slot fish. It was difficult fishing conditions between the overcast sky, stiff wind, the shallow, cold water, and the weeds.

I ended the day with 2 bass, a trout, and 5 redfish. All the fish were released in good shape to fight again another day.

Delacroix 12-2-2017

 

Wind: 4-10 mph from N to start, after noon it came out of the ENE at 4-0 mph

Tide: Falling, low at 11 a.m., range 1.5 ft., but the N winds have been draining the marsh

Water Level: low, a little below the grass line

Water Temperature: ~60 F

Water Clarity: amazing – like a swimming pool

Water salinity: ~ 1 ppt

Weather/sky: fogged in until after 1 pm. Then it cleared and was sunny.

Temperature: ~ 60 F, going up to about 75 F

Moon: waxing near full

Solunar period: major period @ noon, minor @ 5 p.m.

Time on the water: Slipped the Hobie Outback kayak in at 9:30 a.m., out at 5:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 7 miles

Other fishers: solo trip

Game Plan: keep moving, look for redfish

Gear: Two #8 fly rods

Lures: Waldner’s spoon fly (chartreuse), small beige elk hair crab

Strategy/ patterns: Throw flies to reds in shallow water 1-2 ft. deep. Water was super clear and the redfish were not too spooky, but they were aware of me and would move away when I got too close for comfort. I had to get within about 40 feet or so to make a cast. Get any closer than that and the redfish would move away. Remember that a fly line has to go backward almost as far as it goes forward, which is tricky in tight marsh. I can cast further than this while in the kayak, especially when standing, but it requires more false casting that scares the fish. I try to limit myself to two false casts.

The fog was the main difficulty early. It was so thick I could not see more than a few cast lengths in front of me. I used my Motion-X GPS app on my cell phone to navigate (this app has saved the day on several occasions). Since duck hunters were set up somewhere out there, I navigated to open water spots and stayed near the camps along the road so as to not disturb them. Later, when it finally cleared off, it became hard to sneak close enough to the fish without being seen. The sun was already moving into the west and both me and my shadow had to move to make a cast.

I pedaled and paddled (it was too shallow for the Hobie fins in many spots) through some canals and fished a few trout spots that are deep scours where the canals join to ponds. The first fish I got was a small bass. Then I had a hit from a nice fish that I thought was a trout, so I swung around and tried again. Sure enough another struck the spoon fly and it turned out to be about 18”. I tried a bit more, and then switched to the crab fly. I got a 17” speck on that and then it shut down so I moved along.

I tried to stand and sight fish as I got to the redfish territory. But the fog and low sunlight made it hard to see fish. I did spot one, but I was on top of it and it swam away before I could do anything. I headed upwind so that I could use the wind to move me through the area I wanted to fish. I was doing some blind casting and got a nice 26” redfish. I kept moving through the little ponds and bayous and about noon I went into a pond and found wakes and tails of feeding redfish all over the place. I put the spoon fly in front of one and wrestled in a nice 28” redfish of about 10 pounds. I moved slowly got a duplicate fish a few minutes later. The other redfish in the pond did not go far while I was landing my fish.

After recouping from the battle I proceeded to the next fish up. The best one of the day was about 30” long. It looked to have been caught before. It was roughed up, had some line cuts, and looked as though it might have bounced around on the deck of a boat for a while before being released. I chased the fish for a while and hooked into a “smaller” one of about 28” while seeing a much bigger tail rising up about 50 yards away. I tried to get the hooked fish in quickly so I could get on to the bigger one. I worked the fish close and it made a hard run around the rear of the kayak, cut the line on the rudder, and took away a nice piece of jewelry. I had to tie on a new spoon fly and did not see the big one again, but caught another 28” fish.

It was getting toward the end of the day and I started to head in. Of course, feeding fish kept popping up in front of me and I had to make a cast or two at them. I was about half a mile from the launch when 2-3 fish appeared in front of me. I cast to them and the line hitting above them made them dart to the sides. I went after the bigger one, and it kept hanging just out of range. My casts kept falling a little short and then finally it got a look at the fly and ate it. I got it in and it was about 28”. Today was “over the slot” redfish day.

I tried a shortcut between a couple of islands on the way in. About halfway through I started to bottom out and gnats started attacking since I was close to the shorelines. I had to dig hard to plow through the mud and weeds and covered up the kayak with marsh muck. But I got through, made it back, and lived to tell the tale.

Ended up with a bass, two trout, and 6 fat redfish (24”, 26”, 3 x 28” and 30”, not counting the break off on the rudder). All the fish were released in good shape to fight again.

 

 

Port Sulphur 11-17-2017

 

Wind: strong pre-front WNW wind 15-25 mph

Tide: wind and tide pushing water in, low tide at 6 a.m., high 8 p.m. range 1.5 ft.

Water Level: above the grass line

Water Temperature: ~68 F

Water Clarity: good up a protected bayou, later churned up by wind

Water salinity: ~ 3-4 ppt

Weather/sky: sunny

Temperature: ~ 70

Moon: new

Solunar period: minor period @ 6 a.m., major @ 12-2 p.m.

Time on the water: Launched the Hobie Outback kayak at 10 a.m., landed at 4:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 5 miles (pedaled almost continuously all day due to wind)

Other fishers: solo trip

Game Plan: Find clean water in protected marsh, look for reds and specks

Gear: 3 spinning outfits and bait caster.

Lures: in line spinner bait (1 red, 2 specks), natural colored Vudu shrimp under cork 4 specks and a few undersized reds, pink and yellow Saltwater Assassin sea shad with 1/8 oz jig head (a favorite for dirty water on a sunny day) caught 1 redfish and 4 specks. The trout were all keepers, from 12.5” to about 16”. I kept 5 of the bigger specks and the two redfish that were about 18” and 24”.

Strategy/ patterns: obvious spots like points, drains, and moving water held fish, but they were scattered. I’d catch one or two and then nada. Had to keep moving. Got the reds early before the water got dirty from the wind.

Other notes: big flocks of white pelicans working all around today. Too windy to go everywhere I normally fish –some nice 3’ chop in open spots. I shared a pond with a big bottlenose dolphin that was probably eating the trout I wanted to catch, but I managed to sneak a 15”er from in front of it.

 

 

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.

 

 

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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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.