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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

America is awesome and we’re reminded of that fact every July 4th. What better way to celebrate our freedom than to go fishing. So Blake and I decided to head down to the marsh and scout out a new area we’ve never fished. It turned out to be one of those rare holidays when the weather was right to make the run down to the coast.

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It didn’t take long to get on a school of fish either. The tidal range was pretty good on the 4th and we were met with a hard, rising tide in the marsh. Blake and I set ourselves up in a cut where the water was moving at a pretty good clip. You could see small shrimp popping out of the water and fish slashing/rolling just under the surface attacking those shrimp. My first cast with a topwater produced a nice trout. Then it was ON. We proceeded to catch trout and ladyfish (and one big pinfish) on almost every cast for about 4 hours. A lot of undersized fish, but a lot of fun on the fly rod.

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I initially was throwing a Top Dog and watching fish blow it up, which was a blast. Then I switched to the fly rod where a small charlie outfished everything else. Then I set up a popper/dropper type set up with a wiggle minnow top fly and the charlie bottom fly. Ended up with several doubles. I’ve never been on a school of fish like we were on in the marsh. It was amazing, a ton of fun.

Just as the bite was slowing down at our spot, a storm came through to the South of us that looked a bit menacing, with a couple of different fingers coming down threatening to touch ground, but never actually making the connection. After that passed we pressed on into the marsh, hoping to find some redfish we could sight fish.

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Sheepshead were every where, big ones too, but they were just as stubborn as ever and I couldn’t get one to eat. I caught one red on the fly and blew a shot at a few others. I caught this black drum on the fly as well. Blake ended up catching a few on a spinnerbait. Conditions weren’t great for sight fishing as the water was high in the marsh and the sky was thick with cloud cover. Another storm came through to the south and had us heading back toward our launch.

Before we called it a day, we stopped at a different spot where the water was moving, similar to our first stop of the day. Blake had witnessed some boaters earlier in the day catch a few redfish at this spot and wanted to try it out. Lo and behold the redfish were stacked in this bayou. We easily limited out, catching slot sized redfish one right after another. The water was DEEP and the current strong, amplifying the already stellar fighting qualities of a 20″ redfish. Any fish caught felt BIG, but when they were boated everything was under 24″. I caught a nice white trout in that spot as well thinking I had a monster speck on – the fish was 13″.

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So what started out being a scout trip to the marsh to sight fish for reds ended up becoming a meat haul. We finished the day with a two man limit of reds and a one man limit of trout, including one trout that I caught on the fly that was big enough to enter into the CCA STAR tournament fly division. Now it won’t win me anything as it is not big enough to overtake 1st place, but it will get me entered into a raffle for a brand new TFO BVK. I never thought we would get on a school of trout like that in the marsh, in the summer. It was the most productive day I’ve ever had out of a kayak meat-wise. It was also a pretty diverse day with the two of us having caught redfish, speckled trout, black drum, ladyfish, pinfish, white trout,  flounder and needlefish. The fishing was just stupid easy, we basically sat in two spots and caught all the fish you see in the cooler below, from kayaks.

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When cleaning reds, it is always fun to cut open the stomach and see just what they’ve been eating, most of these red’s stomachs were empty, one had a small crab in it (majority of the time all I find are crabs – good to know if you want to “match the hatch”, so to speak). This red below had something a little different. An entire jig head/soft plastic set up. Who ever tied this bait on tied a horrible knot. The hook was in good shape too, so it could have been from the same day we were there.

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What a day! It started off at 3am with us heading down I-10 and ended with us frying fish at the house. Thanks to all the men and women out there who serve our country and fight to protect our freedoms on this day and every day. Days like this wouldn’t be possible without them.