I had a trip to Belize planned, it got Covid Cancelled, but I still had the vacation time on the calendar. I set out for 5 days primarily to fish places I've never fished or haven't fished very much and still need to explore.
Monday and Tuesday I spent time staking out on sand bars and barrier island. Early on Monday I'm on the bow and see nervous water with a reddish brown glow to it, then I see triangle shapes breaching, "I school of tailing redfish" I think..then the school of cow nose rays pass under the bow There were a lot of these around, and the first 2 or 3 bunches I saw made me do a double take thinking they were reds...by the time the 30th group of them past buy I was pretty nonplussed.
After hanging for a while I was going to make a move, pulling the anchor when I glanced to my left and saw a huge patch of nervous water with that reddish glow. "Damn, that's a lot of rays" I thought. I noticed this school was moving faster, and as it got closer those red shapes were a lot more torpedo shaped. It was a massive school of redfish, I got a fly in front of them and of course caught a dinky little summertime slot fish
I made a long run to do some exploring, and a little more catching After wrapping it up I found a good Poor Boy On Tuesday the wind took a bad turn for where I was fishing, limiting me to a small area, I gave it a go for a while, then came in early. I had 5 days to fish so I didn't feel like killing myself getting after it on any one day. I did enjoy some boat Charcuterie Wednesday I trailered to a different area, this one I haven't fished much because in the fall and winter it gets overrun with carpetbagger guides from Florida. I got on the water made long run and found fish.
More damn punes I'm beginning to wonder why I even fish in summer, couldn't get away from the little rat reds
As I kept fishing I noticed a small shower popping up a little to the NW. It was a light shower, I could see clouds and features behind it. I wouldn't mind getting a little wet because it was hot.
I kept fishing, and when I looked back up that little shower had gotten a lot bigger and darker and was starting to flash and rumble. I was out on the edge with no cell service so I couldn't pull up radar on my phone to get a bead on how it was moving.
I decided to make a run North East because lately most systems had been moving from NW to SE. I started running and after a couple of miles had to stop for a second to secure something in my boat. While I was stopped another boat pulled up along side "do you know where you're going?" the guy in the other boat asked, he wasn't familiar with the area and wanted to get away from the storm too. While I have not fish or run this area much at all, I've pored over satellite imagery of it, drawn routes and imported them to my GPS and I have really good aerial imagery on my GPS so I was comfortable with knowing where I was and where I was going.
I continued my run, him following. I got the the bay that I thought might be far enough north and east to avoid the storm, we stopped and watched it for a few minutes, the storm had grown huge, extending it's reach much farther north and south, it was apparent we weren't out of its path. We talked for a minute and I decided to run farther north and east, pretty much to the extreme reach of this part of the marsh, he said he would follow.
After another long run we stopped at my target location and it was obvious that we were now even with the northern edge of the storm. I told the guy in the other boat we could skirt just a little north, then head west and hit a northern route into the place we had both launched from. It was a 27 mile run. He said he would follow so I led through 2 large bays then into a cut that led into a smaller lake, across the lake, then into a windy bayou that we would run for a while before crossing a small lagoon and coming out in the bayou that's the main thoroughfare back to the launch.
The last time I looked behind me and saw the guy was in the little winding bayou, and he was keeping up just fine, once I hit the main thoroughfare I relaxed a lot, we were home free. As I got close to the launch I turned around and he was no where to be seen. I hope that once we hit the main bayou and were in clear weather he realized where he was and decided to head out to fish some more. Back at the hotel that night I checked my track and I had made an 80 mile circuit in the boat. I had made it back with 5 gallons left in the tank After all of that excitement I needed another Poor Boy Thursday I headed out and it was calm. The water was glassier than Sammie Davis Jr's eye. I ran back to where I had started Wednesday, the water was higher and muddier. Many of the same sized fish were there, but with no ability to see them, I couldn't do anything with them. I made a move and played with skillet fish for a while. Before long the weather started to brew again. I cut my losses and outran the weather early before it blew up too bad.
A little disappointed that my day had been cut short, I needed something to lift my spirits, I knew just the thing Thursday evening I went to a restaurant that Lurker Mike and I stumbled onto a couple of years ago on my birthday weekend. The food was great and the owners were the nicest people ever, by the time we left that night we felt like we had been adopted. I had told Lurker Mike that I planned to eat there Thursday night as it was my "Birthday Eve" and the last night I would be in the area. I had a great dinner, raw oysters, BBQ shrimp, a 2 inch thick veal T-Bone and lemon pie. After my meal the owner came over and told me that Lurker Mike had called and picked up the tab. If I had known that I would have gotten a bottle of wine to give to my Uber driver.... Seriously, those of you who know Lurker Mike know what a great dude he is, I'm fortunate to enjoy his friendship.
With the water in that area being pretty muddy, the long runs needed to fish and an even higher likelihood of thunderstorms for Friday, I called and audible, got on the road early Friday and trailered to a different location, this one I know a little better.
I got to the launch and had to wait 30 minutes for a shower to pass, thinking about where I had caught those annoying little punes in my previous location, I knew a spot here that replicated the conditions.... fairly shallow pond with lots of oysters, very close to the edge of the marsh and the open gulf.
I pointed the skiff south and made the quick run to the spot. I started poling and soon started seeing a lot of activity, bait moving, a fish cruising here and there. I saw a fish cruising the bank to my 3 O'clock but by the time I could grab my rod he was gone. I knew I would see another fish soon so I poled with one hand while I kept my rod in the other. A fish swirled and flushed on bait about 20 feet in front of the boat, I stopped and scanned the water, the fish showed up just a little to the right of my boat, I dropped the fly in front of it, as soon as it touched the water the fish angled up and destroyed the fly. He ate the fly facing me and had his mouth so wide open I think I saw his liver. I was hooked up and after a short but tough fight I had another damn itty bitty fish in the boat
I kept fishing that area for a bit, but soon a storm was brewing so I made a long run north. I wanted to catch a few fish to take home anyway. I got into a small bay, the water was high and flooding the broken edges of the grass, the fish were pushed up in the grass and were there in great numbers. Early on the fish weren't eager to eat and I had to work to feed them. I made a good shot at a pair of really nice redfish, and before they could react a small black drum pounced on the fly and cock blocked me from the redfish. I was starting to feel like I might now how Mad Mike and Jerms feel fishing, having to drop the fly pinpoint in the grass
As the tide started to fall, the moving water turned the fish on and it was a shooting gallery, It wasn't long before I had as many skillet fish as I feel like cleaning And yes, I need a bigger fish bag. I left them biting, I had to pick up my daughter on the way home and I wanted to save time to stop and pick up 15 pounds of 9-12 count shrimp and one more thing
So the moral of the story is stay the fuck away from Louisiana in the summer, nothing but tiny ass fish, you sweat your balls off, and the food sucks.
"Put in the effort and good things happen"... Hogleg
"Salinity is proportional to sanity for sure" ..The Volfish