It’s the last day of February, but our temps in Louisiana are already in the 70’s. Azaleas and Japanese magnolia are in full bloom – a good sign that the bluegill are active.
Pond action is just getting ripe!
Went to the LKFC meeting at Pack & Paddle last night with my buddy Brendan. Enjoyed meeting/catching up with some of the Lafayette guys and John from P&P. I don’t make it out to their events as much as I want to, but hope to make more of an effort to this year. They are a great group with some outstanding, knowledgeable fishermen. They have some great events planned for this year, one that really caught my eye was the catch and release tournament they run. Some phenomenal fish have been caught and although this tournament ends soon, another one should be starting up right behind it. Check out the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club for more information – http://lafayettekayakfishing.com/
Drew Gregory was a guest speaker at their meeting. Drew is a teammate of mine on the Jackson Kayak fishing team, and a wonderful ambassador to the sport. He beams with passion and optimism for kayak fishing. He gave a good talk about stand up kayak fishing. Anyone who watches any of the videos I post here know that I stand the majority of the time I go kayak fishing for redfish. I like to sight fish and it allows me a better opportunity to see the fish I wish to catch. Conditions don’t always permit sight fishing, but a lot of times I am too stubborn to give up on it. The Jackson Kayaks that Drew has had a hand in designing are essential to my success at stand up sight fishing. They are stable platforms that allow me to stand up, locate, cast to, hook, and land fish from, and do it all comfortably at that.
Drew also went into a bit about boat design, which was pretty interesting to hear about the process from start to finish. I’ve been to the JK factory in Sparta, TN before, that is where I first learned about the making of a kayak. It never ceases to amaze me though that the finished product actually starts from little pellets of plastic that basically get baked in an oven.
He finished the seminar talking about the Big Tuna. With every new picture I see on this boat I get more amped up that the production models will be here soon. I’ve seen the prototypes, in fact one will be at Lake Martin on Sunday for Pack & Paddle’s demo day. I want to get some seat time in the finalized production run though. It has some sick features not found in other kayaks.
One thing I like to do if I plan on releasing the fish that I catch is to tag them. It can be quick and simple if you have everything you need handy. Being in a kayak complicates things a little, but not enough to deter me. LDWF and CCA Louisiana have a joint program called the Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program that you can sign up for and they will send you everything you need to start tagging. This data is then used in tagging studies and they will update you when a fish is caught that you’ve previously tagged. I have yet to have anyone recapture one of my fish and I think I have tagged around 50 fish.
Along with the tags you receive a tool to insert the tag into the fish and a form you will need to fill out and send back to CCA Louisiana. They also give you a pen and a Rite in the Rain pad. I usually fill the form out at home and use the Rite in the Rain pad to jot down my notes. You will need to measure the fish and identify the location you caught it with GPS points. You can use a GPS or do what I do. I use Google Earth once I get home and locate where I was at. It shortens the time I have the fish off the water. There is a spot on the form to identify weight, I don’t believe it is required, but you can weigh the fish as well. Then there are some general questions about what type of lure you used and how the fish took to the release. I have found that I tag more fish when everything is handy, so I keep the kit in a ziploc in my dry hatch or in my milkcrate. I also keep the fish in my net in the water when I’m jotting down notes.
Check out this program if you currently catch and release fish from time to time, I know they could always use more taggers. It is free and you don’t have to be a member of CCA. I believe it is open to any marine game fish species, so tag away at specks, reds, flounder, cobia, tripletail, whatever. Click on the link below for more info.
|Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program|
|Tony Berrigan, Coordinator|
Another oldie, but a goodie – here is an easy way to grill redfish for those who don’t like to leave the skin on (my wife).
I often keep the redfish I catch because they are so delicious on the grill. I’ve experimented with a lot of different ways of cooking and preparing the fish, but I always come back to this simple recipe. It works just as well with trout, black drum, sheepshead, and flounder, so don’t think this is redfish specific.
What you’ll need: Redfish fillets (scales off), aluminum foil, butter, olive oil, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, lemon pepper, blackening seasoning, cajun seasoning, and beer of your choice.
– Fillet your redfish with the scales off (or thaw those fillets from a previous trip, fresh fish is always better however).
– Light your coals and open up a beer.
– Tear off a piece of aluminum foil big enough to completely encapsulate your fish fillet, place your fillet on the foil.
– Gently season each side of your fish fillet with cajun seasoning, lemon pepper, and blackening seasoning. Don’t overdo it.
– Pour a little bit of olive oil, worcestershire, and lemon juice on your fillet. Not too much, just a little strip down the fillet.
– Add about 1 Tbsp. worth of butter to your fillet. I usually cut it into 2 pieces and place them on the fillet.
– Fold up your fillet and repeat with the rest of your fish. I usually grill up 4 fillets so I can have leftovers the next day.
– By now your coals should be hot, so place your foiled fish on the grill.
– You’ll cook the fish for 20 minutes. My grill is not that big so at 10 minutes I rotate the inside fillets with the outer ones.
– I like to serve each fillet with a side of rice/pasta and a vegetable.
If you’ve got any leftover crawfish etoufee, add that to the top of the redfish when it’s done, talk about good! Hope y’all enjoy this simple way of preparing redfish. I know I did!
This is a re-post from my Jackson team blog, but I wanted the info here too.
I’ve had a few people ask me about my paddle clip belt. I guess it’s time I spilled the beans. It’s very simple to put together and great for being stealthy in the marsh, as your paddle is not contacting your boat and making noise when you spot a fish. Noise is vibration, fish can detect vibration in the water and will spook if they know something is not right. It’s important not to spook the fish you are trying to sightfish and catch.
– Grab an old belt you’ve got lying around. I used a canvas/leather one made by Columbia.
– Take your paddle clip and line it up with your belt holes. I used the Watertrail brand clip (bought for my old Native Ultimate, never installed it).
– Take 2 zip ties and run em through your paddle clip and belt at the same time
– Cinch em down and trim