Wind: 0 – 5mph early, kicked up to 10 mph after noon from S – SE
Tide: neap tide at Shell Beach station, wind pushed water up a bit
Water Level: high, in the grass….came up about 6” more during the day
Water Temperature: ~ 70 F
Water Clarity: good, 2-3 ft visibility, a few dirty spots
Water salinity: didn’t check
Weather/sky: good sunny periods, occasional clouds
Temperature: ~ 68 F, going up to about 82 F
Moon: Waning near full
Solunar period: major periods @ 6 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Time on the water: slid the Hobie Outback kayak in at 7 a.m., packed up and driving home about 5:00 p.m.
Water covered: ~ 8 miles
Other fishers: solo trip
Game Plan: keep moving, find feeding redfish
Gear: one #8 fly rod, one light weight spinning rod n’reel
Lures: Waldner’s spoon fly in chartreuse on the fly rod, Voodoo shrimp in natural for the spinning rod.
I hit City Donuts on Claiborne Avenue to get energized with some coffee and doughnuts and then headed on down to Hopedale. Good doughnuts but I think Gerald’s in Chalmette is still my favorite. Both have drive-up windows, so you can grab and go.
I took off and made a long run down the canal with the plan to have the wind at my back on the way in. I brought the spinning rod with the plastic shrimp on it to troll the canal as I traveled. I brought the spinning rod with the plastic shrimp on it to troll the canal as I traveled. The canal is about 12 feet deep, so I made a long cast and put the rod in the holder and trolled. It turned out to be a good idea. I had only gone about 100 yards when I picked up the first speckled trout of the day….a nice 16” fish. I caught 3 more over about a mile, but they were smaller. When I got to the shallow water and reeled in the Voodoo shrimp.
I made my way into a duck pond (lots of old duck blinds from winter remained) and cruised around the shoreline. The water was pretty and I stood up to let a light breeze push me along. I did not see much over a quarter of a mile of drifting so I sat down and headed to a little cut of the pond. I came upon a nice redfish, but I was right on top of it by the time I saw it and it grunted and took off. I cast the spoon fly out in the general direction the fish went, but no luck. I proceeded on down the cut and came upon another red and the same thing happened. This scenario would be repeated about two dozen more times throughout the day. I saw nice sized reds, but for some reason I just could not spot the fish until they were about 10 feet away. I got a small six spotted redfish by blind casting as I left the pond.
I went over to one of my favorite bayous and cast into the scour hole (about 8-10 feet deep) at the mouth. Usually there are redfish here, but today it was a nice trout. I thought it was a redfish at first, but then I felt its head shaking. I got it in the net and onto the measuring board…..right at 19”. I cast the spoon fly back into the hole but that’s all it produced. I moved up into the bayou. The water was up in the grass and likely the reds were too, so I did not spend much time casting. I spooked a couple of 7’ gators off the bank and moved up to a nice duck pond. I repeated the spook the redfish scenario several more times and went on to the next pond up the line. The intersection of the bayou and pond seemed like a likely place for a fish to be sitting, so I made a couple of false casts and put the spoon fly in a likely spot. Fish on! But this one felt odd and when I got it up I saw it was a shell cracker (a.k.a. readear sunfish, chinquapin, lake runner). This was the 4th or 5th one I have caught on a spoon fly…..it’s always a surprise to find these fish out in the marsh, but with the human-made hydrological changes that have made the waters less salty I guess I’ll be catching these more often.
I spooked a few more redfish at point blank range and started back down the bayou. I hooked up on another trout with the spoon fly and finally the little light bulb went off in my head…..this is a day to fish for trout instead of redfish. So I put the trout in the bag and looked for more of them. I did not find any with the fly rod, but I did get two more 17” specks trolling the Voodoo shrimp down the canal on the way back to the truck. I cleaned the trout first thing when I got home and fried them up for a good supper.