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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.

Trout wasn’t what Blake and I were originally targeting, but sightfishing conditions just never presented themselves so we adjusted  our gameplan and proceeded to wax the trout.  Trout fishing in the marsh is insane right now.  Just find moving water with bait and they will be there.  It’s been like this for a few weeks now.

The view of the sunrise on 308 was pretty spectacular until the sun got high enough to be hidden by the clouds, where it stayed hidden the rest of the day.

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We started the day on a flat that I knew has held bull reds in the past.  It didn’t take long to get a follow from a good red and then an eat on my She-Dog, unfortunately for me none of the six hooks that bait carried penetrated flesh and Blake was there with a quick follow up cast and subsequent hookset.  After a strong fight with a fish in tidal current we boated the first bull red of the day.

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It was a very distinct fish, one I’d seen before.  I even remarked to Blake during the fight that if we catch a bull red with a big dent in his head at this spot, there is a good possibility he’s been caught before.  This is the same fish Hays caught on one of our trips back in January.  He’s still sitting on the same flat, some ten months later.

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I kept throwing the topwater after that and began getting hits from keeper trout fairly regularly.  Knowing I’d be fishing with the boys from Alabama the next few days I decided to start keeping fish, just in case the rest of the weekend was unproductive for us.  Since we couldn’t really effectively sightfish, catching trout was not a bad consolation.

We drifted a shoreline picking up trout here and there, then had an unsuccessful effort in a shallow pond for reds,  at the outlet of that pond we stumbled onto a trout gold mine.  It wasn’t all keeper speckled trout, there were plenty of white trout too, but it was a fish every cast and that’s hard to beat.

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Blake was catching them on a double rig and I was wearing them out on a Matrix shad, I think you could have thrown anything though and had the same results.  That bite did eventually slow down and we drifted on down the shoreline.  Things were kind of quiet for a little bit then Blake had another big red inhale his bait.

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Almost the same size as the first red, this one, however, was much prettier, it was another fantastic fish.  We continued our drift and eventually moved into another bay.  This bay had a little island in the middle of it and water was being blown around it.  The water was pretty shallow throughout, but that didn’t matter much to the trout.  We were on them again and decided it was time to stop and count our fish.

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We needed less than 20 to finish off a two man limit and we weren’t leaving until we did that – this sightfishing trip had turned into a meat haul.  The good news was that it really didn’t take long to accomplish that.

It was a great day on the water with Blake and the start to what would be a great weekend.