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My parents are in the process of selling their home in Alpharetta and when they do finally hand over the keys to the new owners there will definitely be a mix of emotions for the family.  Alpharetta was home to me for nearly half my life and home for them for nearly 30 years, so for them not to have a residence there will be a pretty strange thing.  The bright side of their departure from suburban Atlanta is that they have a new home on Lake Rosemound, here in Louisiana, just an hour north of Baton Rouge, so we’ll have the chance to see and be with them a lot more often as they split time between St. Francisville and the cabin in Suches and we are excited about that.

They’ve had the house at Lake Rosemound for almost a year now and we’ve made a few trips up that way, but never for more than a day or two.  It’s rare to find an entire weekend free it seems, but we were able to do just that this past weekend.  We loaded the car up Friday morning and headed north on Hwy 61 after work only to be greeted by a nice thunderstorm upon arrival.

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Amanda took advantage of us being stuck inside to whip up a fantastic shrimp creole for dinner, which I can attest paired really nicely with a Ghost.

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The next morning I was able to take out the new Kilroy DT we bought for Rosemound and see how she performs as a solo boat.  With dreams of big bass in my head I tied on a black buzzbait and began working it around the docks and other structure.  It seemed like a good morning for topwater as it was a little cloudy and not even the faintest ripple on the water from the wind.  I found out early on that the bluegill were going to be fairly aggressive today.

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After a while I wasn’t feeling the love on the black buzzbait so I switched colors and downsized and went with an oldie but a goodie, still a buzzbait, the Wolka double buzzer.  Terry Wolka, who use to frequent the Riverbassin forum, made custom lures and sent them out for guys to try.  I’ve managed to hold on to mine after all these years and have caught a number of fish on it.  It’s still in pretty good shape and is a testament to the quality craftsmanship that went into this lure.

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I’m not going to say that it was like a light switched on, but things certainly were better after the lure change.  I think it also helped that I moved into a shallower, grassier part of the lake, especially given my lure choice.

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The clouds gave way to a bluebird sky and I probably shouldn’t have still been throwing topwater, but I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to lures and I just wanted to catch them on top so I stuck with it and am happy I did.  I really didn’t leave myself much of an option though as my gear was pretty minimalist on the day.  If I wasn’t going to catch them on top, I wasn’t catching them at all.

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For about an hour the fishing was great, which was what I needed, because this was just short pre-lunch fishing trip anyway.

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That last one was the biggest on the day.  I’ve got no clue on the size as I didn’t pack a scale or a board.  It was great to finally dedicate some time to bass fishing the lake and I was pretty happy to have some relative success.  I know there are much bigger bass in the lake and I look forward to the challenge of trying to fool one.

We spent the rest of the day with a lakeside lunch at Satterfield’s in New Roads and then a Lake Rosemound beach trip with the kiddos.  The eggplant nelson appetizer at Satterfield’s is pretty damn good and this is coming from someone who’s not that big into eggplant.  I would recommend stopping there to eat if you’re ever in the area.

The next morning I took Marin for a paddle in the DT.  It was super easy to shift the seat trays from a solo position to a configuration where I could have her facing me, which was perfect for a toddler, but probably not something I’d do with someone who could actually help paddle.

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The DT paddled very well, even with a kid leaning out of the boat putting her hand in the water the whole time.  As with the 12′ Kilroy the DT holds the distinction of being one of the few kayaks out there that is both fast and stable.  I’m thrilled to have this boat at Rosemound and can see it getting a lot of use as my kids grow up.

At Marin’s request we hit the beach again before we headed on back down to Baton Rouge.  We really enjoyed our weekend up at Rosemound.  I look forward to spending more time up that way, learning the lake, and of course spending time with the family.

My cousin got married in Santa Rosa Beach, FL earlier this month which provided us a great opportunity to go on a week long beach vacation.  Baton Rouge has been pretty chaotic lately so it was nice to get out of town for a while.

Our trip started with a stop in Fairhope, AL.  It broke up the drive and we were able to visit another brewery.

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Fairhope Brewing Company has some really good beer, but two of their offerings really stood out to me.  Judge Roy Bean is an excellent coffee stout and (Take The) Causeway IPA is a solid IPA brewed with Citra and Simcoe hops.  I’m a sucker for Citra, so I really enjoyed it.

Fairhope is a pretty cool little town, but we learned that Sunday is not the best day to visit as nearly every shop was closed.  We were disappointed, but at least they have a great little community park in town with a splash pad and top notch playground equipment.  These are the things that get me excited – life is much different than it was when I started this blog – I wouldn’t have it any other way though.

Once in Florida I was able to get in a couple of half days of fishing from the kayak.  Most folks would probably fish the saltwater being so close to the beach, but I guess I’m not like most folks.  I chose to fish a couple of different freshwater spots.  The first was one of the coastal dune lakes that are unique to South Walton County.

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The water in this lake was very tannic which gave the bass and bream a very dark look, almost entirely black at times.  I ended up catching lots of small bluegill on nymphs, but only landed one skinny bass on a popper.  It felt great to get out in the kayak again, it had been a while.

I had to work up in Northeast Louisiana this past week.  This was the last part of our great state that I had never visited.  Monroe reminds me a bit of Alexandria, the two being of similar size, having similar populations and offering similar amenities.  The work I’m doing sometimes affords me a bit of free time, other times I work 12-13 hour days.  I had almost an entire day to myself yesterday and decided to make the drive over to Poverty Point.  Maybe not the first choice for many people, but I figured why not go check out the monumental earthworks while I was somewhat close.

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If you couldn’t tell I had the place to myself.  No one else is dumb enough to walk around outside in rural Louisiana in the dead of summer and at high noon.  It was hot as hell, but I enjoyed it. The earthworks were impressive.  The amount of artifacts that have been found at Poverty Point were impressive.  They weren’t all from the same area or tribe either.  Their trade network was huge.  There was a thriving civilization there way back when.  Kind of humbling to walk around the site alone, like I was in a Native American ghost town.

I left Poverty Point and decided it was time to go fishing.  It had been too long since my last outing (late June) and although this would be just a little afternoon bank fishing it was welcome.  I headed over to Kiroli Park in West Monroe.  While working I learned there was a fishing pond there and some trails so I had to go check it out.

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It was actually two ponds and they both held plenty of fish.  These little bass were a hoot.  They were ambushing minnows in the shallows causing all kinds of racket.  It was tough getting them to take a fly because they were in such a hurry.  Near a submerged log, in a shady part of the lake I saw a nice bluegill working a deep bed.  I had it hit the topwater a few times, but knew it would take a nymph so I tied one on and threw it back out there twitching the bomber ever so slightly. As the bomber started moving sideways I set the hook and it was a good fish – one of the biggest gills I’ve probably ever caught.  I then moved to the upper lake and found a nice school of bluegill under a tree, all smaller than the big one, but consistent action for a little while.

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Eventually that bite tapered off and I went on a walk on the trail, taking the long way back to the truck.  The trail crossed a sandy little creek (tiny enough to jump across) and curiosity got the better of me. I walked the bank of the creek tossing a fly in every likely lie.  Wouldn’t you know it that every likely lie was holding a fish? There were bluegill, bass, sunfish, goggle-eye and beyond the fish the creek was loaded with mussels and crawfish – this little creek was full of life.

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I was very impressed by Kiroli Park, what a great resource the city of West Monroe has.  They park was in great shape and it was obvious that it was a favorite of the locals – there were lots of people using the facilities.  Having not done any fishing since June, this was the perfect place to come fish.  To top it all off, I even stopped to pick up a few local brews from Shreveport – the Commotion is pretty darn good too.IMG_3198