Archive

Tag Archives: Aqua-Bound

I truly went from mountains to marsh this past weekend after spending last week working in West Virginia then heading on a weekend guys trip down to Grand Isle Friday afternoon.

I left Baton Rouge Friday mid-afternoon and contemplated putting the kayak in once I passed Leeville just to fish for an hour or so before it got dark.  I didn’t though, opting instead to hit a culvert where water moves under the road before I went to the camp.  Not much doing there except a few ladyfish on a clouser.  I could hear reds crashing on bait in the marsh though, man what a tease that was, I was hoping that scene would play out tomorrow.

IMG_6913

I met up with everyone at the camp just as they were heading down to the beach to run the crab traps.  I threw the clouser in the surf for a bit, out of curiosity more than anything, but fishing was not really the priority at this point.  We spent the evening drinking good beer and catching up.

IMG_6917

I was the lone kayaker in the group so on Saturday when everyone took off in boats I hit the backside of the island in the Cruise FD and went looking for redfish.  Conditions weren’t ideal when I launched, but the high tide was the biggest thing putting a dent in the sightfishing game.  I managed to fool one overslot redfish and got broken off by another.  I caught more ladyfish on the fly rod and at lunch time decided to get off the water before the thunderstorms that began to surround me closed in any further.

IMG_6923

IMG_6924

After lunch I hit the beach outside the camp with some of the guys where we alternated throwing cast nets for big shrimp, running crab traps, and trying our luck surf fishing.  With the cast nets we’d catch one or two shrimp every few throws, but that added up after a few hours.  We ended up putting a nice little ice chest of palm sized shrimp together by the end of the day.  The crab traps produced as well and those began to fill an ice chest of their own.  In the surf the white trout and ladyfish were abundant and fun to catch on light tackle, our target fish however proved elusive.  No bull reds and only a few speckled trout were landed, but we had plenty of seafood for a feast that night.

IMG_6929

IMG_6926

IMG_6930

That night we ate like kings, redfish from Friday and Saturday were grilled on the half shell while the crabs and shrimp were boiled to perfection.  There was even a good bit of Best Stop boudin shared among the group.  Everything was incredible.

IMG_6933

IMG_6934

After a long night of cornhole and beers most folks opted to sleep in, clean up, and head home.  The weather was too nice not to get out one last time for me so I stopped in Leeville on the way out and put in off the side of the road.  I kept a watchful eye on the thunderstorms that were off to the west and the south of me this morning, but thankfully I was far enough north to be clear of them.  The high tide again made it tough to sight fish, but I found a good spot with moving water where the fish were a bit stacked up.  In short time I caught three reds, multiple ladyfish, and had another break off (I think my leader line is finally too old to be useful).  It was almost like fishing a winter hole.

IMG_6944

IMG_6940

IMG_6943

After the bite slowed down at that spot I pedaled around the area just to explore and found another spot were water was moving over a flat and fish were present.  I caught a couple speckled trout off a point and as lunch time crept up I decided to get off the water and head home.  I didn’t want to be home late and sightfishing wasn’t going to pan out so it was an easy decision to leave.

IMG_6945

IMG_6946

Truly though my wife called and didn’t flat out say it, but it was inferred that I needed to head home.  She also wanted me to pick up shrimp so I stopped at the Seafood Shed on the way out and picked up some $4/lb 16/20 sized shrimp (same size as we caught in the surf) to take home.  We made New Orleans style BBQ shrimp with a few pounds that night and she got to eat a few leftover crabs from the weekend.  I put mine over instant grits and had a poor man’s shrimp and grits, which was surprisingly very good.

IMG_6948

I really enjoyed hanging out with the guys this past weekend.  Fishing was what brought us down there, but it’s the camaraderie that will keep us going back.  Big thanks to Ray for letting us stay at his camp.  Grand Isle in the summer is an amazing place.  The beach won’t win any beauty contests, but it sure is bountiful in it’s seafood production.  I look forward to doing it again next year.

Last weekends weather forecast was too juicy to pass up.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday all looked good on paper for the kayak fisher.  I managed to get away on Saturday and fish with my buddy Steve – the 2014 Hobie Fishing Worlds champion who lives right down the road in Prairieville.  Steve had big trout on his mind and I was listening.  I can readily admit that I don’t know enough about catching trout, so getting the opportunity to fish with Steve and learn a bit about trout was worth it.

We had a plan of attack before heading down, but a slight change in the wind direction made Steve call an audible.  I was game for the change, it meant more paddling, but the forecast allowed for it and I didn’t have a deadline to be home so I was uniquely prepared for a long day.  I didn’t know it would be a 12 hours on the water type day, but it ended up being well worth it.

We set out from the launch at sunrise and were hardly out of sight before Steve spots the first redfish working some bait out in front of a cut.  He made a perfect cast with a topwater plug and soon we got to see what happens when a redfish sucks down a floating lure.  It was a great start to what would be an incredible day.

IMG_4976

IMG_4980

IMG_4986

Redfish weren’t really a morning target for us, partly because we were focused on trout, but also because the tide was high and incoming, we thought it would be better to wait until the afternoon to target reds, but when an opportunity presents itself you take advantage.  No sane kayak fisher can pass up a tailing redfish.

We pushed on to speckled trout water, ignoring cuts into the marsh that no doubt led to redfish Valhalla.  Not really, but sometimes it feels that way when passing good water to hopefully get to better water.  On the way we see gulls working some bait.  Some of the birds are sitting on the water, Steve mentions that can be a good sign, so I head over to investigate, while he checks out another spot.  After a few boils under a topwater I finally hook a 12″ trout.  The birds dispersed shortly after and I moved on – it was worth investigating, but we were after a better quality trout.

I met back up with Steve as he was fishing around a small island.  We met up at the back side of the island where water was being swept around and converged.  A few casts into the moving water and my She Dog was nailed.  A fat 17″ trout joined me in the Kilroy.  We caught a few more trout behind that island and missed a few more we should have caught as well.

We moved on after the action cooled.  Steve had no shortage of places to try and at each stop we ended up catching at least one trout, sometimes we’d catch more than that.  We were catching them a variety of ways too.  Topwater plugs worked, so did suspending lures, shrimp imitations under a popping cork, and even my trusty Matrix shad were producing the occasional trout.

By mid morning I was ready to change it up so I started sight fishing for reds along the shore.  The tide was still up and the water was high way up into the grass.  It was making things tough, but eventually one red gave up the ghost.

IMG_4989

While I wasted my time looking for reds, Steve was busy fishing points and pockets for trout and having some success.  It caught my attention when he landed one that was near 20″.  I joined him and was rewarded shortly with a solid fish as well.  Steve was keenly aware of what has happening beneath the water and I was starting to pick up on it.  He was seeing things that I just didn’t notice, or had never really thought to notice until that day.  We had a blast for the next hour or so, leapfrogging each other fishing points and pockets in the marsh with topwater lures and catching quality trout.

IMG_4997

IMG_4998

The action slowed down and eventually Steve and I parted ways.  I wanted to try and sightfish reds on the falling tide in some of the areas we had passed up heading to fish trout.  I’m a sucker for exploring new territory and I spotted some ponds I had never fished before that were calling my name.  The action was slow at first, but as that tide kept dropping and the shoreline kept receding the redfish began getting more aggressive and you began to hear them crushing bait on shorelines.  One bayou I entered had redfish cruising the shoreline like ants in a line.  Me, being the glutton I am, couldn’t help myself and I had to attempt to double up.  I had a popper tied up on the fly rod, thinking I might fool a speck with it, but I never really committed to using it while speck fishing.  It wasn’t ideal for reds, but I put a good cast in front of the first fish and he crushed it.  I laid a solid hookset on him, tightened my drag and put my fly rod between my legs, picked up the Matrix shad (I typically have both rods ready in front of me when sightfishing) and put a cast on the second fish.  It was a terrible cast and he paid no attention to it, no big deal, I’ll try again with the third red.  This time my aim was true and he pounced on the lure – the double was on.

IMG_5001

What I didn’t realize at the time was that the first fish I hooked was a good 24.5″, a fair fight in his own right.  The second fish though ended up being 27.5″, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud as I fought a fish in each hand.  I’ve caught doubles before but I had not caught one with two mid-upper slot reds like this.  It was a riot!  As you could imagine, both lines tangled in each other, I missed netting the fish once or twice, just a massive cluster.  I did get them in the boat once they wore down though and decided I didn’t have to do that again that day.

IMG_5003

The hot and heavy redfish action continued as they continued to cruise the shoreline with backs out of the water.  That is exciting in itself, throw in getting to watch them eat a popper fly and you’ve got some Ebert & Roeper approved action.  Gotta love redfish!

IMG_5004

IMG_4999

IMG_5005

IMG_5006

IMG_5010

IMG_5011

IMG_5012

As you can imagine it was hard to call it a day I was having so much fun.  It is gonna be really hard to top a day like that, but that certainly won’t stop me from trying.  Big thanks to Steve for letting me tag along and teaching me a good bit about trout fishing.  Hopefully I’ll be able to better spot productive water and establish reliable patterns to catching more fish.  I’ve still got a long way to go to become a good trout fisherman, but I think it is safe to say he helped shorten the learning curve.

 

Got out again in the Kilroy this past weekend and with favorable conditions on the coast I made the long drive south to fish for reds.  I hit an area that is new to me, but was recommended by a friend at Paddlepalooza.  Another benefit to an already long list of reasons to attend a BCKFC tournament and stay through the weigh-in is just talking to and learning from your peers.  There is a lot that is lost in translation if all your research and knowledge-base comes solely from the internet.

I arrived at sunrise and worked a topwater early, but to no avail.  I was hoping to stumble upon a few trout, but that wouldn’t be the case as the day progressed.  Working Gulp under a cork began producing small redfish.  They were tagged and released and hopefully in the future Tag Louisiana will give me an update on these fish.

IMG_4941

IMG_4942

IMG_4943

Conditions were pretty good throughout the day.  As you can see, winds were calm and it was very overcast – seemingly perfect conditions to walk the dog, but I didn’t have any luck.  It didn’t much matter as the water clarity was pretty good in the grassy areas and I was able to sight fish reds with either the fly rod or on spinning tackle using a good ‘ol tight lined Matrix shad.

IMG_4946

IMG_4947

IMG_4950

The reds went from 13″ up to 23″, so no big upper slot reds or junior bulls were had, but it was a lot of fun just catching consistent fish throughout the day.  Most of the fish I caught came on the fringes of the grass or around cuts and points, I didn’t mess around with any of the thick grass.  A few of the fish I caught were pulled from schools, which are always fun to see and hear.  You’ll just be minding your own business when all of the sudden around a point comes a wave of red terror, with bait popping out of the water in front of it, looking for any escape.  It doesn’t matter what you throw in front of the red mass, it just matters that you throw something.  It was a lot of fun trying to pull of the double by throwing the fly rod first, getting a hook set, then picking up the paddle tail and pitching it in the area.  I wasn’t able to connect this time around, but it is always a hoot to have the opportunity.

I had to be up in Monroe for work a few days last week.  With my kayak and all my bass stuff still in the truck from the Yak-a-Bass tournament it became a work during the day, fish during the evening kind of trip.  There is a ton of good looking water in and around the Monroe area and it was all at my disposal but in the interest of getting the most time on the water I stayed local and fished the bayou that runs right through ULM’s campus, Bayou Desiard.

IMG_4671

I fished from a couple different launches, Tuesday had me closer to town.  Bayou Desiard is loaded with cypress trees and submerged vegetation so the water clarity is awesome and there is structure overload.  You can fish anywhere in the bayou and not feel like you’re in a bad spot.  I stuck to pounding the banks (and the trees closest to the banks) as that is what I know best.  With a texas rigged red shad worm (I’m old school) I ended up having a nice day on the water catching lots of small bass up to 13″.

IMG_4672

IMG_4674

IMG_4676

Wednesday I went a little further out of town and tried a different spot.  Almost immediately I actually saw a male bass near a bed.  I pitched my worm over there and felt some pressure, but I could see that the male hadn’t taken it.  I was hooked up on a fish I didn’t see that came through the grass, a slightly larger bass – a nice surprise.

IMG_4678

That bass went 15″.  An upgrade to my 13″ bass caught yesterday, not a monster by any stretch of the imagination.  That actually ended up being the only bass I caught that day.  The early sight fishing kind of ruined me as I tried to replicate that pattern throughout the day and failed.  That didn’t take away from the paddling though – Bayou Desiard is downright stunning, an amazing resource so close to town.

IMG_4681

IMG_4682

IMG_4685

IMG_4686

IMG_4689

Bayou Desiard is a beautiful place to paddle.  Big thanks to looknfishy for throwing a few launch suggestions my way.  I was able to exercise some bass demons and got a nice, scenic paddle in as well – can’t beat that.

I have not had much time to sit down and write lately as I have been busy – busy with work, busy with family, busy with life in general.  That being said this blog has been nominated again this year in the YakAngler 2014 Kayak Angler Choice Awards.  I’m honored to receive a nomination because it shows that there are kayak anglers out there that appreciate and are entertained by this blog and for that I am very thankful.  I hope I can keep things fresh and promise I will eventually find time to write (and fish) again.  If you’d like to extend a vote my way I would be happy to accept it: YakAngler 2014 Kayak Angler Choice Awards

Yakangler_choice_round2

 

If you don’t know whom else to vote for in each category I will offer some suggestions:

Angler of the Year – Hands down Steve Lessard.  I can’t think of a more deserving kayak angler out there than my friend Steve.  The man consistently whoops our behinds in BCKFC and IFA tournaments and he was up to the task on foreign soil in the Hobie Worlds.  He is an exceptional angler and a great guy – he is my AOY.

Kayak of the Year – I’m a Jackson guy so I may be a little biased  but I’m torn here between the Kraken and the Big Rig.  Each of these boats is a game changer in their own way.  I got to paddle a Kraken at the Dealer Summit and can tell you that this is one slick ride.  They don’t mention it much but guys like me can stand and fish from the Kraken and still have the fastest boat on the water.

Paddle of the Year –  The Manta Ray carbon and the Surge carbon from Aqua Bound have been my two favorite paddles I’ve ever owned.  Surprisingly the Surge carbon wasn’t on the nomination list, so the nod here goes to the Manta Ray. Compare it’s weight and blade size with other paddles that have been nominated – you won’t find another high angle paddle under 30oz.

Forum of the YearBayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club is my local club.  It’s a great group, no surprise they were nominated.

Outfitter of the Year – Another local favorite here – Pack & Paddle.  Why do I love Pack & Paddle?  Let me count the ways – huge kayak rigging section, local tackle and flies, a knowledgeable staff that fishes, great seminars and demo days, Beer & Gear, and one of the best kayak displays I’ve ever seen.

Location of the Year – Grand Isle, easy.  The site of the biggest kayak fishing tournament in the World in Ride the Bull.  This place is kayak fishing mecca and I have some converts from freshwater Alabama that may agree.

Video of the Year – Business as Usual by Team HookedonYak.  I love this video because its fun, original, it comes from regular guys like you and me, not some video professionals who want to blow you away with drones and forced fishing drama.  These are some South Louisiana boys going to work on some reds showcasing the incredible fishing we have to offer.  If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and watch below.