More JK in Louisiana Vids…

This one, in case you hadn’t seen it, is from Chris Funk, or FeralOne as he’s also known. Great vid, Chris!

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Video to follow…

After we wrapped up fishing with the JK crew down in PAC, I was just waiting for another chance to get out. I’m trying to make as much time as possible, since after our little girl is born (in a few weeks), I’ll be out-of-commission for a little while. The moment came when Noel & Kip from the Redbone Fishing Club proposed a morning trip to Pointe Aux Chenes, but launching at a different location than the kayak marina. I was game, so I met up with them bright and early that morning. After saying our hellos and catching up briefly, we hit the water. We all had plans to go in separate directions. I’d planned to head north and fish some grassy areas that I’d been digitally scouting.

I soon found myself in a canal where there were cuts with some water movements. I figured there was a chance for some trout so I started casting a topwater, a Spook Jr. After a few casts, I had one trout and a few follows. The one trout was hardly legal, so I moved on. Looking back, if I’d fished something subsurface, I may have found better trout… but I wasn’t keeping fish and was more interested in sight-fishing.

Once arriving at the flat where I’d planned to start, I began noticing signs of fish everywhere. Though the sun was still low, I was able to cast to few cruising reds that I was seeing. I was throwing my favorite Bugg Curl-tail at first, but it was getting caught in the grass and the fish were spooking. I wanted to start making some long casts with a weedless set-up, so I grabbed the Z-Man Paddler in Redfish Toad that Brooks had given me during the JK meet-up. Second cast with it, and I was hooked up!

What followed was a lot of the same thing, though the casts kept getting shorter and shorter. That first fish was the longest cast of the day, and the only blind-cast with success. I’ll spare you the monotonous details and just show the pics…

The largest fish of the day came when I’d heard a crash from inside a shallow pond. I turned a corner to see a fish coming directly at me. After a quick cast-catch-release, I headed to the mouth of the pond where I’d heard the crash to see two reds coming straight at me. I casted the weedless Z-Man behind them and ran it up between them, slowing it down as it neared their view. They both erupted into a confusing load of splashes and wakes, and one had the lure in it’s mouth. He was swimming right at me, so I had to quickly pick up the slack. After a brief fight, he was boated and measured/weighed. About 6-7 lbs, and 26.25″. He’d have been a decent tournament red.

It was a fun morning and possibly the first time that I was done and headed home by 11am. I spoke to Noel on the way home and heard that he’d caught some too, but didn’t get many details.

There’s been one more fairly productive trip since this one, and hopefully one more, before Wren makes her debut.

I’ll be following this post, with a Vlog-style video from the trip.

Flukemaster’s Black Drum

From this year’s JK Media House meet-up, which took place last week. This was the day before I went down and met up with the guys. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of Gene’s videos from this trip!

Last November Jameson Redding and Brooks Beatty – collectively known as JK Media House – came down to Louisiana to do some filming. they spent part of their trip in Grand Isle, and the other part of it at PAC Kayak Rentals in Point Aux Chene. They fell in love with the state, but especially the hospitality and kayak-friendliness of Eddie and Lisa Mullen’s operation in PAC. They got together with the crew at Pack & Paddle and we all had a great time. Here’s the video from that trip in case you missed it…

Then, they came back over the summer and filmed this piece, again stationed out of PAC…

So when they let us know that they were planning another big Jackson Kayak team trip, I immediately put in for the time off. I knew there’d be a few new faces this time around, new members to the team, and veteran members I just hadn’t gotten to meet yet.

Jameson, Brooks, Gene (Flukemaster), and Robert Field all arrived a few days early to get some work done for another company they work with, NRS. I met up with them on Wednesday, and was eager to get my new Cruise FD in the water. I knew they had Eddie mothership them the day before and had great success so expectations were high. The birds were diving in the main channel and I was itching to get out there! We exchanged greetings once everyone was up and rigging. Soon we were joined by my fellow LA Jackson team members Chuck Bahan and Scott Meyers of Bayou Chronicles.

After a little discussion, We decided to head north.

I lost track of everyone pretty quickly, but I later learned that we were all in mostly the same area. It was interesting being up in that marsh while hearing the bursts of shotguns as duck season was underway.

After a bit of poling around and spooking fish, I finally hooked up with my first fish in the new kayak. It was a marsh trout, caught on a gold Z-Man Shrimp.

The water had been pretty shallow and I was spending more time with my drive up paddling around. I eventually ended up on this shallow mud flat where I was really having to muscle the kayak through the mud. In trying to get to slightly deeper water, I ended up beaching the yak. I’ve gotten close before, but this was officially a first.

Visibly frustrated, I smacked the water with my paddle which caused more mud to fly up in my face, as well as onto the boat. That only further pissed me off. I stood to try to see how close I was to floatable water when I heard a crash on the bank to my left. I turned to see a red chasing bait. I thought, “what the heck”, and made a cast. He inhaled the Curl-tail Bugg, and in my pissed off state I forced him through the mud to my beached kayak. At one point, the fish was sitting in the water, almost completely dry. Once I got him in the net and on the boat, I realized I had no way to release him since I had virtually no water around me. I knew I had to get out and pull the kayak through the mud, so I did. I got out and immediately sunk to my waist. I never let go of the kayak, nor did I completely take my weight off of it. Once I got to the bow, facing the boat, I’d throw my legs out behind me and pulled myself and the yak towards my feet.

After about a minute of this, the kayak was mostly free. I jumped back in, took a pic of the fish, and revived/released it. I thought my GoPro was running through the whole ordeal, but it hadn’t. I wish it had.

I decided to high-tail it out of that area. I’m not gonna lie, I contemplated going back to the marina and calling it a day. If I’d been wearing jeans, I definitely would’ve – which is why I strongly recommend NOT wearing cotton while kayak fishing. I was honestly completely dry within 30 minutes… stinky, but dry.

Before calling it a day around 5pm, I wanted to hit one more spot. It was a canal where I’ve done well before. Again, jigging the Z-Man Shrimp, I set the hook. I could tell it wasn’t a speck or red…

I headed back to the marina and then to the PAC Gas Station for a pizza. When I got back, we were joined by Eric Atkins and Adam Hayes (Adam’s formerly of YakAngler.com) and we began fishing off the back of the house boat waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive. We watched as hundreds of shrimp ran a gauntlet with specks and sand trout attacking from below. Most of what we caught were dinks, but there were a few nice ones. Gene showed that these fish could be caught with a bare jighead as long as it was worked right. After Chris and Ethan Funk arrived along with Leigh Habegger the fun continued.

Day 2 and 3 were much better. Needless to say, we headed south.

Scott and I fished near each other for a little while, then Eric hung close by. After hooking and losing a 25-27″ red, I gave Eric a Bugg in the blue crab color, which I believe he later caught a few fish on. Scott landed a couple and Chris got a sheephead. Scott and I then kinda hung around Jameson and Brooks. It wasn’t long before Brooks sight casted a tailing red on a Z-Man Scented Paddlerz in Redfish Toad. I watched as he and Jameson got some shots for the video, then Brooks followed me hoping to get me catching a red.

Brooks landing a red

Robert joined in and after a few minutes of searching, I finally spotted one. He wasn’t big but I figured it would be an easy catch. Brooks had given me one of his Scented Paddlerz, so I tossed that first. The red turned on it and short striked. I was about to make a second cast when I noticed another one swimming right towards me. I pitched a Bugg over to this one and he grabbed it! I don’t have photos from this one since Brooks was right there with the camera. After eating lunch, and meeting up with my buddy Mat Roberts, we headed on to one of my favorite areas. by this point it was later in the day, and the sun was getting low. I was going to propose that we drift this grass flat and sight cast to reds, but it was a little late for that so we started the paddle back. I normally make this paddle alone so the company of Eric and Robert was nice. I also got some nice shots of the beautiful sunset!

Day 3 started a little later than normal and saw the addition of Nik Brown, Matt Cunningham, David Roberts, and Tray Collins. The plan for this day was to split everyone up into teams and they’d film everyone to do a team-vs-team style video. I’m really interested to see how this idea comes out. The route was pretty much the same as day 2, but the fishing was better for me. I ended up with three fish for the video, all reds. An 18.25″, a 19.5″, and a 20.5″. Nothing to write home about, but it was something. Eric caught a few reds, a trout, and a sheephead. I had to leave early so I’m not sure who’s team won, but it was great fun nonetheless.

The Day 3 Armada

My Co-worker Mark launching at PAC Kayak Marina

Pic: Eric Atkins

Pic: Eric Atkins

Pic: Eric Atkins

Regardless of how many fish were caught, or the size of the fish caught, trips like this make me super grateful for the doors that God has opened for me. Ten years ago, I’d never have thought that kayak fishing would even be a hobby of mine. Now, from my family at Pack & Paddle to my family at Jackson Kayak, I can’t believe I get to hang out and call these people friends. It of course wouldn’t happen without the support of my wife, Tracey. She probably won’t read this, but I’m unbelievably thankful that she lets me chase fish out of a hunk of plastic. Thanks babe.

I likely won’t be fishing again until after Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving, and it shouldn’t be long before I’ve got something else to post… like a new kayak review and/or rigging video?