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Met up in Grand Isle with the boys from Alabama this past weekend and despite conditions being pretty favorable the fishing was still somewhat tough. I’m not sure if Hurricane Zeta had anything to do with that, but it seems like a pretty convenient excuse that I’ll go ahead and use. The island had just got power back a few days prior to the trip so the locals were still feeling impacts from the hurricane, maybe the fish were too.

I drove down after working Friday morning and got a few hours fishing in off the side of the road in Leeville. It was windy, the tides were high, and the water was dirty back in the marsh – so sightfishing wasn’t happening. The bays were in decent shape and I was able to get on a trout bite right at dark catching 12-15″ trout that I found holding behind an island in a bay where the water was being blown around it.

After talking with everyone that night it seemed like high dirty water was everywhere, so since I found some clean water in the bays outside of Leeville I decided to head back up there Saturday. The tide was actually low in the morning so there was some optimism that fishing would be pretty productive. That really didn’t prove to be the case as fish were few and far between for me. I did a ton of paddling and really didn’t come across many fish at all. At about 10:30am I caught one red out of a pair of cruisers I saw after a morning where I may have seen a handful and had very few opportunities to even get a cast off to a fish. Just tough fishing.

Fishing was so slow I actually stopped and ate lunch, something I almost never do because I’m usually so focused on fishing I never remember to eat, but Saturday I was hungry. I did catch a rat red a little later on in the day, he was hanging out in front of a broken weir that had water moving around it. Shortly after that I got on another trout bite. I had seen some diving birds in a bay and near where some canals meet and I went to invesitgate and sure enough trout were holding there. Unfortunately none of them were keeper sized. They were still pretty fun though as everything I caught was on the fly, it was a mix of small specks and white trout, and they were pretty voracious tearing apart a clouser I had tied on. When I was tired of catching them I headed back to the truck, paddling into the wind to get there.

Sunday would be the best day of fishing for me. The tides stayed low longer, winds weren’t as steady, and a move to a different spot proved to be a good decision. We fished the mangroves on Sunday and even though the water was fairly dirty I was seeing a lot more fish in this area. I was seeing less mullet and more shrimp popping out of the water too. For some reason there was a ton of mullet in Leeville.

My best fish on Sunday went 28″ so no kayaker bulls as the skiff guys call them, just a bunch of mid to upper slot fish, which are still a blast on the fly. One of my favorites was a 24″ fish I caught was way back into one of the skinny mangrove creeks and he was hot when I hooked him. It was kind of chaotic as he ran up and down this tight channel, there was no way to keep a tight line the whole time, but thankfully I was still able to land him. Another red had the eye of Sauron, which was pretty crazy looking. I have no idea why that happens sometimes, but I’ve seen it before, not often though.

Sunday morning was a lot of fun, I left right after lunch to make the drive back home, but Sunday was a good redemption day for me. This weekend the fishing wasn’t easy, which was a shock to some of those Bama guys. It ain’t always topwater blow ups and bull reds down here in Louisiana, especially when you fish from a kayak. The weather cooperated too and I think that’s what was throwing people off.

This is the 10th year a group of guys has been coming down to Grand Isle from Alabama to fish, so they’ve experienced the good times and the bad and everything in between by now. I look forward to their trip every year because even if the fishing is bad I have a lot of fun hanging out with them. They’re good for a belly laugh at least a few times throughout the course of the weekend. It reminds me of the early days of kayak fishing when there weren’t so many folks doing it and it was a real small tight knit community. Tournaments weren’t cutthroat, they were excuses to just get together and fish. That’s what attracted me to the sport after getting started in it and I’m glad that idea still persists in places.

I spent this past weekend fishing in Grand Isle with some friends from Alabama River Fishing. I got hooked up with these guys when I lived in Madison for a year. We had a group of about 15 kayak fishermen, split between 2 camps in Chenier. The goal was to catch redfish and I believe most accomplished that goal on this trip.

I arrived Friday around lunch and set out to scout a new area. Winds were steady out of the East and the tide was up a bit so conditions weren’t optimal. Sightfishing was tough, but doable. I didn’t even pack the fly rod since I was just scouting, but the area I hit has serious potential. I ended up catching my limit (5) of reds in 4-5 hours. It’s always cool fishing new water and quite rewarding to have some success. It was also cool to see some of the other guys get out and find some success as well, there was lots of trout and several redfish being cleaned when I made it to camp.

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I got a late start Saturday due to an over consumption of “daddy cokes” the night before. Some of it’s a little hazy, but it was a good time. Anyway, Saturday’s weather was a bit rougher than Friday. Water was still up and the winds remained steady from the East. I headed out with a couple of other guys into some familiar marsh and stubbornly did the sightfishing gig. I knew that it was going to be tough, but I was persistent. I ended up catching one red and it was a nice one, my biggest on the weekend at 28″. The biggest fish out of the weekend went to Brad though, who hauled in a giant black drum that was probably upwards of 30lbs, quite the beast.

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That night I took it easy on the drink and watched LSU pull it out against South Carolina. All was right in the World again. Before going to bed I decided to check out the water under our dock lights to see if there was any action. Sure enough there was fish popping shrimp out the water with consistency. I grabbed the long rod and tied on a charlie and went to work. Managed to land 3 keeper specks and numerous sand trout and silver perch under the lights. It was a lot of fun, I should have grabbed the 6wt instead of the 8wt though.

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Sunday was setting up to be the best day to fish and that is what I kept telling the guys. The winds would lay down, the sun would be out, and the tides would be out (at least in the morning). Sure enough the weather prognosticators were right and I didn’t look foolish. At around 10am the wind laid down and conditions were excellent. The water was still higher than I like, but clarity was excellent. The first red I caught was quite a ways away swimming away from me on an opposite bank. You could tell it was a red by the large, consistent wake it was producing. I bombed a cast with a spinnerbait ahead of it and as soon as it landed it was inhaled. Very cool to catch a red at the end of a long cast. The rest of the day for me was spent stalking shorelines in the marsh. My first fish I caught on the fly was actually a 19″ sheepshead. They were all over the marsh this past weekend. A challenging fish to take on artificial so I was pretty thrilled. I actually ended up catching another one later in the day. Both were caught on Blake’s redfish intruder fly. In fact the intruder fly would go on to land me 4 more reds on the fly rod too. It was a really awesome day, I couldn’t stress enough how lucky the guys were that we hit it right. Although the fishing wasn’t the best I’ve ever seen out there, the conditions were nearly perfect. Couldn’t have planned it any better.

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I had to leave Sunday evening, but most of the guys were sticking around and leaving Monday. Before I left I got to enjoy some deer balls that Jason prepared as an appetizer. They were basically bacon wrapped deer with a bell pepper and onion inside, marinated in Dale’s – a delicious combination of things that I like. I was quite surprised to hear that John had caught a tripletail on the fly that day in the marsh and had the pictures to prove it. I’ll be honest this is the first tripletail caught in a kayak that I’ve heard of in Louisiana. We’ve got em sure, but I’ve never heard anyone catch em close in. The drive home was later than I intended, but it was tough to leave. I had a lot of fun hanging out with the Bama guys and hope we can do it again. I know they fried up a bunch of fish that night and I hate that I missed out. The bugs were thick coming back that evening and I had to get a picture of my car the next day.

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