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I got out to the marsh on Labor Day intent on catching fish on fly. It was the first time in a long time that I made it on the water before sunrise.

Waiting for the light to get right to sightfish I started off throwing a topwater on conventional tackle. No redfish hit the frog, but I did manage a few small bass. Despite the low sun angle the first redfish was sightfished when I noticed a back out of the water on top of a grass bed. I actually thought it was a gar at first because of the lack of movement, but quickly realized after setting the hook on him that it was a red, and a decent one at that. After that fish I put my spin tackle down and focused on fly fishing. It was the right call because for about three hours there I could do no wrong. I was seeing fish with ease, casts were well placed, hooksets were tight, and fish were repeatedly brought in the boat. It was magical.

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Redfish were anywhere from 18-28″, no true bulls, but a lot of nice slot fish. Great tournament fish. I even made it a point to blind cast the fly a bit so I could catch some bass and that worked too. Anywhere water was moving through a cut made for a great spot to blind cast.

Water clarity was excellent where there was submerged vegetation and it was in most of the bayous and ponds I fished. Conditions were pretty nice too, partly cloudy with a little breeze, super hot though. Fish activity was off the charts. Baitfish, shrimp, and crabs were in abundance and that brought out all the usual predators. I even had a shot at sightfishing for a few blue cats, but I pulled the hook from one of their mouths when I got all excited.

I always enjoy exploring new water and I got to do some of that as well. Gotta love it when that new water is productive too. Days like this are why St. Bernard parish is becoming my new favorite place to fish during the summer.

Had an opportunity in June to get out and fish in the kayak and decided to head to da Parish so I could catch some marsh bass and reds.  Summer time is a great time of year for those special places in Louisiana where you can catch bass and redfish (trout too!).

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The weather was nice, a tad on the windy side in open water, the fishing was good too.  I didn’t catch too many on the fly opting instead to throw a weedless rigged swimming fluke.

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I caught mostly bass, only a few reds, which was just fine by me, because I was keeping bass to eat.  I really like the taste of marsh bass, I think I’ve mentioned that here before, the meat is sweeter than their freshwater cousins, it’s one of my favorite marsh fish to eat.

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It ended up being a great trip as I caught some nice fish and got to explore some new water.  That’s one of those things I like to do each time I hit the marsh is try to find some new water to fish.  Even if it’s a lousy trip it kind of makes it worth it to see new water.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, I’ve got reports to catch up on. The older the trip the hazier the memory, but I’ll give it my best shot.

A couple of Alabama buddies reached out in February to let me know they had a room available at a camp in Grand Isle they rented for the weekend. After clearing things with the wife I took off toward the coast.  The forecast looked great for Saturday but that Friday evening driving down was windy as hell.  I stopped at a couple culverts on the way down for a few casts, but nothing was working for me or a local.

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Fingers were crossed that the wind would eventually lay down and things would look good in the morning.

The next morning the wind had laid down and the tide was way out.  It was chilly though and it took a while for things to warm enough to where the redfish were active.  Once they were active the fishing was pretty good.

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I blew a couple of really easy opportunities at fish on the hookset which I can only attribute to not having redfished in a while.  Still I managed a few nice fish, including a “kayaker” bull that almost hit 30″.  It was a good trip and it was great catching up with a couple friends also afflicted with the redfish bug.

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Even the sun shines on a dog’s ass some days.  Thanks to Sidney Deane for the quote, but that pretty much summed up the last time I got out to fish.  The day before my wife had to remind me that I had planned on fishing the next day and I’m glad she did.  Conditions were perfect and the fish cooperated.  Winds were light, the sun was out, water clarity good, and the fish were there.  Within five minutes of launching I caught my first redfish as he was cruising along the shore.

I then managed to catch a limit of reds on the fly in that same area within sight of my vehicle over the next hour or so.

It was stupid fishing, there were redfish everywhere early on.  All the reds were mid to upper slot sized with a handful being above slot, no true bulls, but no rats either, all nice fish.

Redfish were crawling on mud flats, they were tailing out in the open, they were cruising the shores, and roaming in packs.  If there was a moment where I didn’t have a redfish in sight all I had to do was wait and one would swim into my vicinity OR I’d hear them crashing shrimp in the next pond over.  The bait shrimp that day were THICK, the reds were gorging themselves.

When I decided I needed a break from the reds I stopped at a spot with clean moving water and searched for trout, I found out they were there too.

I caught them on the fly too, just for fun.  I had steady action on trout 12-15″ for a while before deciding to move along.

Everything I caught was released, maybe that’s why the fish gods smiled down upon me on this day, but it definitely made for an easier trip.

I stayed long enough to catch one at 29″.  I really couldn’t tell you how many I caught working my way up to that size.  I didn’t manage to break the 30″ mark, I spent plenty of time looking, but there just weren’t any big bulls around.

It’s been a long time since a day has gone that well for me, which is part of the reason I fish the coast so infrequently now.  I had forgotten how good it could be.  The drive seemed to get longer and longer as I caught fewer and fewer fish.  It’s good to have a good reminder that when the stars align the fishing can be pretty incredible.

Last month I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days in a kayak off old La 1 and sight fish for redfish and just like it’s always been it was a blast.  It was the first chance I’ve had to take out the Jackson Bite and the first time I’ve fished inshore since maybe January.  These days it takes a special occasion to motivate me to head that far south and on this particular weekend some old friends from Alabama were staying in Grand Isle and since the weather was nice and LSU beat Bama I had to make the trip.

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I headed down on the Sunday morning after LSU’s triumphant victory and got a later start than anticipated due the previous afternoon/evening’s celebration.

Conditions were decent upon arrival, with winds a tad higher than I’d prefer, but the area I was fishing had a ton of mangroves so I wasn’t bothered too much by the wind.

In the first canal I stood up to fish I came upon a large pack of reds marauding shrimp along the shoreline – exactly what you want to see when you haven’t thrown a fly at a red in months.  I was able to pick a lead fish off the pack with a good cast and a strong drag and the pack didn’t spook, they just turned around and went in the other direction.

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I released that red and continued on down the shoreline until the pack decided to turn back around and head back toward me again.  I got some grainy, Sasquatch-esque cell phone video of the reds I’ll try and attach:

Again I was able to pick off another fish, this time the pack caught wind of me though and took off.  I thought I might be able to spot them again given some time, but I never did.  Still it was a great way to start the day.

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After a brief meetup with my friend James I kept searching for redfish.  I came across some trout in the process, settling in on a school that was feeding in a cut between two larger bodies of water.  The action was hot enough to break out the fly rod and catch a few on the fly as well with a few of the fish being keepers, most were throwbacks, but it was fun to mix it up and catch some trout.

I ended up catching a couple more reds on the fly with one being a nice baby bull, coming in just under 30″.

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After that fish I decided to call it a day and paddle back.  At the launch I was able to catch up with another buddy Matt, who had a tougher day, but managed a 30″ red on the fly as well back in the skinny water.  It’s always a blast finding those over-slot sized fish in the trenasses.

The fishing was fun, but if I’m being honest the best part of weekend trips like this are the hangouts at night.  Nothing beats sitting around sharing some brews or cocktails and swapping stories of past triumphs, defeats, or anything entertaining enough for a group of fine, upstanding citizens like the group from Alabama that has assembled in Grand Isle on an annual basis for nearly ten years now.

I was hesitant about fishing the next morning because I needed to be back in time to pick the kids up from school.  I was hesitant until I saw that the weather was gorgeous.  I saw that the marsh behind the camp was glass so I quickly made plans to get back on the water.  Marcus was also planning on hitting the water that morning, so we decided on fishing from the same launch, but hitting a slightly different area, one I hadn’t had a whole lot of experience at, but should yield the same results.

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The tide was a bit lower than yesterday and was visibly ripping through the canal we launched into, which told me that the water clarity would probably be a little poorer than it was yesterday.

I covered a good bit of water, good looking water too, before I started seeing fish.  Seems like they needed the air temps to warm up before they were active.  I found a small slot with a colored up tail in a small pond to get the skunk off.

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I was only fishing until lunch time and it was already mid morning so I didn’t have much time left to make the day a success, but like I mentioned earlier as the temp warmed up so did the fish.  I got into a pipeline canal and started seeing fish and managed to catch one in the mouth of an offshoot canal.  I kept moving down that canal and as I progressed into the canal it got narrower.  As it narrowed I was spooking redfish, the water was clear and shallow in the canal and the fish were seeing me (or feeling me) coming from further away than I could get a cast off to them.  I finally made it to the end of the pipeline and the canal veered off into a ditch going in a 90 degree angle.

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In that ditch I could see two reds coming toward me, with no idea that I was even there.  I made a good cast leading them and the smaller fish looked like he inhaled the fly so I did a strip set and lucky for me pulled it out of his mouth and as I did the bigger red saw it and nailed it.  Fighting a 26″ red in a ditch you could jump across was a hoot!  He ran back under my boat a few times, I’m glad I was at the intersection so he had some room to run into the larger (6-7 ft wide).

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I was getting ready to head out after that, that was a tough fish to top, it was nearly lunch time and I needed to make it back to BR before the school bus came by the house.  I had to poke my head into one more pond because I saw a bit of nervous water and what I saw was another pack of redfish with some of the pack skittish while the others were playing it cool.  The first few casts I made were at skittish fish who just swam right on by, but the tail end of the pack was more than happy to pounce on my fly.  As I fought the fish I hooked I could tell it was a leopard red, when I got him to the boat I counted 14 spots.

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The fight may not have topped the previous fish, but this red sure had him beat in looks.

I bid Marcus adieu as he decided to make his way toward another pond before he headed out and hit the road home.  It was great to get back into the marsh and have some success.  I miss redfishing a little bit, I certainly don’t miss the drive though.

The Bite performed admirably.  It’s a slower boat than I’d like, but that’s the trade-off for the stability it offers – this thing is wide.  For the price you’d be hard pressed to find a better boat available, which is why I pulled the trigger on one.  It’s a fantastic platform to sight fish reds from and I will happily use it over the Cruise FD I’ve got collecting dust in the garage.