Spent a long weekend in Grand Isle and for the first time ever I wasn’t down there primarily to fish. I was actually down there to work. It was my first time doing oil spill clean up, but, as my luck would have it, working conditions remained unfavorable nearly the entire time I was there, providing me with more than enough time to fish, and wouldn’t you know it the company just so happens to have rented a camp on the water for the crew to stay out of. The weather, which started crappy, turned out to be pretty awesome as well, so win-win for this guy!
I made it down Friday with enough time to hit the beach for some surf fishing. The wind was rough when I first made it out there, but as the evening progressed it calmed. And as is normally the case in June, the speck fishing was great where you could find good looking water. I wouldn’t say nearly every cast, but the catching was steady enough to keep me out there until dark. Unfortunately there weren’t too many keeper size out of the bunch, but there were a couple fish that just flat broke me off. I thought they might have been bull reds and as it got dark I had the pleasure of experiencing something I’ve only seen on YouTube, a redfish blitz! A school of bulls was crashing bait within casting range of the shore and a few other folks fishing down the beach were hooked up. I was ill-equipped throwing the popping cork, but I still tried. I even had a couple hit the cork itself, but none ever touched the Gulp! 4″ swimming mullet that was underneath. Outfishes live bait my ass! It was still amazing to witness.
Saturday morning a front moved through and rained out work. After the rain subsided I headed back to the surf. It was still up and waves were still gnarly, but fish were still there. The fishing was slower than the day before, but once I switched from a popping cork to a slow retrieved double speck rig it picked up. Size was similar to the day before with only a few keepers brought to hand, but I had enough specks to keep me happy. I headed back to the camp for lunch and to gameplan for the afternoon.
I figured a trip to Grand Isle wouldn’t be the same without bringing the kayak down, so I decided to launch into the bay to see if I could hunt down some reds. Winds were light at first and allowed me to sight fish a nice red with my fly rod of nearly 28″, but they picked up throughout the afternoon and made paddling pretty tough and fly fishing downright impossible. At times it felt like I was always paddling upwind, but I was able to find a few places that provided some cover and because tides were low, I was still able to sight fish. I ended up keeping three that were perfect eating size and releasing two other upper slot reds. So despite the lousy conditions I felt I had a pretty good day.
I knew the forecast looked really nice for Sunday, but I assumed that there wasn’t even a chance I’d fish because I was sure we’d have to make up for lost time Saturday. Well, apparently the island we were working on had so much rain that the ground was super saturated and was nightmare for data collection, so it was called around lunch and I had time to fish the afternoon. I headed straight to the surf, but this time I was able to launch the kayak and try a different area that might hold bigger trout. I tried topwater because conditions seemed perfect, but didn’t even get a look. Same with the popping cork. Started slow rolling a jig and began picking up hits nearly every cast. Just like when I was wade fishing though the specks were mainly small with a few keepers here and there. The action was so consistent I couldn’t leave that spot – even when swimmers showed up, I just fished around them.
Soon I got a tremendous strike, it was the trout I was after. I felt the slow head shake of a big trout and after not long into the fight the fish came off. I was a bit heartbroken, but what can you do? Not long after the tide went from incoming to falling, I have never actually noticed it change like that, I guess because I’m always fishing the marsh, but this was like someone flipped a switch. Fish quit hitting where I was fishing and I was having trouble staying in my spot, so I headed in to wade fish. I grabbed the fly rod and started picking up trout on a dropper-popper rig with every fish landed on the dropper. I did have some fish come out of the water for the popper, but I was never able to get a hook in them. I was actually able to land specks over 14″ on both the fly rod and the kayak so I had them weighed over at Bridge Side for the CCA STAR tournament. I know they won’t place but they still do the raffle in each division and after winning it last year it seems foolish to not enter it again.
Monday was my last day down there and wouldn’t you know it work was the same as the day before. We drove all the way out to this island only to turn around and head back in because conditions were the same, but I ain’t complaining, I had another afternoon to fish. This time I launched at the camp and headed out to the bay from there. I was seeing reds, but I wasn’t making the casts I needed to make. Finally I got a nice 27″ red to eat a fly and I noticed he had this bright red fin. When I got him in the boat it looked to be inflamed from sea lice, I’m guessing he was fresh out the ocean to be in that condition. I tagged him and let him go. I missed a few more opportunities at fish before finally sticking an 18″er on the way back to camp. It wasn’t a banner day, but that didn’t really matter, I was down in Grand Isle fishing on a Monday – that never happens!