Southbound & Down

This past weekend was Redbone Fishing Club’s Southbound and Down tournament. For those that do not know, Redbone one of the smaller kayak fishing clubs in South Louisiana. The others are the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club, and the Lake Charles Kayak Fishing Club. Though Redbone seems to be the smallest of these, the club is growing. Most of Redbone’s tournaments are members-only. However, this weekend’s Southbound and Down was an open tournament.

I’ve been a Redbone member for a couple years now, but I invited Karl to take advantage of the opportunity to fish this tourney, since we hadn’t fished together in around 6 months or so. It’s really been too long!

The boundaries for the tournament included most of the LA 1 corridor from Galliano down to Grand Isle, presenting a lot of options. I believe most of the anglers opted to fish the northern marshes. It was a three redfish main stringer with a side trout/flounder calcutta.

The day started off beautifully, you couldn’t have asked for better weather. Karl and I were both using Jackson’s Flex Drive kayaks. I was in my Cruise FD and Karl was using a Coosa FD rented from Pack & Paddle. We watched dolphins smashing bait on the far bank as we headed to our first location.

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We knew that most of the other anglers fishing this location had headed north from the put in, and I knew that there was good, clean water up there. But we didn’t want to have to be fighting with other anglers in some of those ponds and I knew of a few good spots to the south so thats where we took off for.

Karl caught two right off the bat. While drifting down a shoreline, he saw a push and decided to throw a Whopper Plopper to it. A few minutes later, the situation repeated itself and he had two fish in the bag! The second fish was a perfect tournament red, coming in at 26.5” and around 7 lbs.

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We soon found ourselves navigating through a series of canals that you would swear were prime bass fishing territory. I stood in my Cruise, inspecting the shoreline of low-hanging and partially sunken trees and mud bottoms. Occasionally, I’d spot a redfish but they were extremely easy to spook off. Karl and I eventually noticed a red pushing a big wake down the shoreline. We followed him and I made cast after cast with a Curl-tail Bugg but couldn’t get him to turn on it. After following him for what seemed like a football field, he finally took it and I had one in the bag. A 3 pounder, but still a fish.

I caught a couple more near the mouth of those bayous. The first was caught after I casted the Bugg to what I thought was a tail. It wasn’t a very big fish but seemed it would definitely help. Right after putting him in the bag, I noticed a lot more commotion on the other side of the bayou with tails breaching the surface. I hooked and netted one of those. That fish turned out to be bigger than the previous, and since the previous had been caught about a minute before, I let the smaller one return to the marsh. I’m learning to be more intentional with the fish I target and keep during a tournament.

I now had two fish in a bag and they were average slot size. With a five fish limit, and needing three to bring to weigh in, I specifically wanted to cast to larger fish by this point. If all else failed, I would just try to catch one more average fish to have my three for the tourney.

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We headed to a large grass flat. I love fishing grass flats because the water can be so clean and clear. We started noticing a ton of sheephead. We soon discovered that the reds were closer to the banks. I picked up another that I felt comfortable keeping, as did Karl. I did catch one that I thought would make the cut but it ended up being too large, at about 27.75”

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I ended the day with 4 fish and my three-fish weight for the tournament was 14.60. Not great, but we found that everyone had a tough morning. Clean water and tons of fish, but the right sized ones were too cautious for us. I think I finished in 5th or 6th place. I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough.

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Gear Rundown: 

Kayaks

  • Jackson Kayak Cruise FD (Eli)
  • Jackson Kayak Coosa FD (Karl)
  • Werner Paddles (Cyprus Hooked & Tybee Hooked)

Lures

  • Buggs Fishing Curl-tail Jig – Blue Crab (Eli & Karl)
  • Buggs Fishing Click-bait Shrimp – Natural (Eli)
  • Rivers2Sea Whopper Plopper 90 (Karl)

My Rod/Reel Combos

  • 13 Fishing Omen Green 6’8″ Medium – Fast (Casting) / 13 Fishing Concept TX 6.6:1
  • 13 Fishing Omen Green 7′ Medium – Fast (Spinning) / Shimano Nasci 2500
  • Duce Rods Echo 6’6″ Medium/Heavy Fast (Spinning) / Shimano Stradic 2500
  • 13 Fishing Concept C (Back-up)

Fishing Line

  • FINS Windtamer 20 lb.
  • FINS 40G 25 lb.
  • Gamma Fluorocarbon Leader 16 lb. (when needed)
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GMA On the Road

Local newstation, KATC Lafayette, ran a story on their morning show on kayaking and kayak fishing in Acadiana. They interviewed Scott at the shop, and a few of my fishing clips made it into the telecast! Check it out…

I’ve been wanting to visit one of our old spots, one that we haven’t really visited since the earliest posts on this blog back in 2013, hence the old headline bump-board image. I got the opportunity to check it out the day after Easter. After launching, I pedaled among the large land terraces that now populate the marsh in PAC. When these were first installed, we were upset because they muddied up the water and killed parts of our estuary. Grass flats and islands disappeared and were replaced with man-made dirt mounds.

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Enough time has passed that these terraces now provide new places to find fish. Many of them are deeper in the middle of the canals they’ve created, and shallow up near banks, making a great opportunity to find cruising fish.

As I left the terraces to head across open water, I was traveling to a grass flat that existed in 2013 (hoping to find it again). The south wind had muddied up all of the marsh I was planning to fish. After about 45 minutes stand-up paddling around, I decided to head back to the terraces. They provided better wind protection and I had seen a couple reds while passing through.

Once arriving back at the terraces, I quickly started spotting reds. Most were decently sized (25-30 inches). I originally planned to throw a Cajun Lures crawfish style bait, but after seeing a bull red destroy a mullet right under the ‘yak, I swapped over to a Z-Man 5″ Paddler in a natural color. I soon noticed a red prowling a nearby bank and as I set-up my cast, I noticed he had a buddy with him. I knew if I could get the lure between them, they’d compete for it and I’d get a bite. It worked beautifully. What didn’t work so well was my leader, and it snapped around a minute into the fight.

I retied and went back to work. I soon saw a smaller red nearby and picked it off. First fish in tooooo long!

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After spooking a few more, I knew the route I’d be taking the rest of the day. I made the same loop two more times with the fish really only showing themselves in the same area the second and third times. I picked off another around the same size as the first (roughly around 20″) and a beautiful 25.5″ belly crawler which made me feel like I was fishing in November again!

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Two of the three made the trip home with me for dinner and the larger one made my first entry into the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club’s 2018 online CPR tournament.

Three fish wouldn’t normally make me feel like bragging, but it felt great to be back on the water. I’m hoping it won’t be another five months before my next fishing trip (hahaha).

Back at it… Recap

Yeah, I know. I haven’t posted here since December and here it is April. I’ve been known to take a break from time-to-time, but I believe this is the longest that I’ve gone (since I started kayak fishing) that I haven’t picked up a rod. But we have had some stuff going on…

Shortly after this report’s trip, our second child was born. A baby girl, Wren. Additionally, after the first of the year Tracey and I decided to kick our photography side-business back into action, so a lot of my free time has been dedicated to it.

But I finally had a chance to get back on the water. I’ll post that report soon. As I was uploading the images from that trip, I noticed these images from the last solo trip I made, and it will bug me if I don’t post them…

I believe this trip occurred on December 2nd, and was out of Cocodrie. Obviously, the details are a little hazy, since it occurred a while back. I can say that all fish were caught on Buggs lures, a mix of Curl-tails and Beastie Buggs. I remember that I threw a Permital Bugg briefly, which fooled a Sheephead, but I couldn’t get him to the kayak.

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Robert Field in LA

Just about everyone who knows something about kayak fishing knows who Robert Field is. If you watch kayak fishing videos on YouTube you’ve seen at least one of his videos. He’s released two videos from his time in Louisiana recently.

The first involved mother-shipping with Jameson, Brooks, and Gene aboard Eddie Mullens’ kayak hauler. The second video is fishing the marsh near the marina.

It’s quite an entertaining couple of videos. I was especially surprised to see myself make a cameo appearance in it. You can check out the second of the two videos below, but definitely watch the first as well. It features Gene’s monstrous black drum, and a really sick sight-cast clip that Robert filmed!