Following my Grand Isle trout trip was an immediate return to the marshes in Point Aux Chenes to help guide a trip with Pack & Paddle. The shop schedules fishing trips on two weekends each month. Usually, one trip launches at PAC Kayak Marina, while the other is mothershipped out into the marsh for some “unpressured” fishing.
Through a series of confusion, and a broken water pump, both groups ended up needing to launch at the Marina – the mothership had broken. Still, we made the best of it.
I arrived at Eddie’s at 6am to hardly anybody around, except Eddie, who was enjoying a cup of coffee. That quickly changed as the masses started to arrive.
Guiding with me was Butch Ridgedell, a P&P Hobie Fishing Team member. We’ve guided together several times before. We had five customers join us with three of them coming with me; Matt, Chase, & Bryan.
We initially headed north to the peninsula area that I’d been to in the weeks prior. I picked up a quick topwater red, and Matt played with a few small trout and ladyfish. The wind had the water pretty choppy so I was tossing the “11” sized Skitterwalk. It then looked like we were about to get dumped on by a potentially nasty thunderstorm, so – not being far from the marina – we headed back to the marina momentarily as it passed. It ended up dissipating before it got to us, but we did have a technical issue with one of the kayaks that needed to be addressed anyway.
Once we got back onto the water, we headed south and rounded back behind the camps leading to the marina. We pretty much just zig-zagged through the marsh for the remainder of the day. We caught fish on spoons and spinnerbaits, as well as Gulp if the guys had some. Butch’s crew were tossing dead shrimp under a popping cork and caught quite a few. We grinded it out on artificials but ended up with a few for the guys to take home.
Ultimately, I feel that everyone had a great time. For some, it was a way to demo certain models, and for others a way to see if kayak fishing would be something they’d enjoy.
I will be helping Pack & Paddle on another trip coming soon. This one is also scheduled to be a mothership experience, but is dependent on if Eddie can get his mothership fixed in time. The scheduled date is September 16th, the day after P&P’s bi-annual Garage Sale. If you’re interested in joining that trip, spaces are limited. Click here to be directed to P&P’s events page for that date.
If you keep up with these posts you know that I don’t normally make trout-specific trips. Trout usually qualify as a secondary species on my target list. If I had said that I was heading to Grand Isle the week of Ride The Bull 9 (the world’s largest kayak fishing rodeo, which takes place on the island) to target trout, I would have been lying. In fact, I was hoping for my own “ride the bull” experience. Without taking part in the rodeo, I was hoping to stumble upon some straggler bulls that would be hanging out away from Caminada Pass. I knew it was kind of a long shot, but I had to try.
Jetties and submerged reefs paint a picture of the landscape. In fact, the spot is not a super-secret honey-hole, but a very public launch. Lots of open water. I started the day throwing a small Skitterwalk, and pretty much kept it available all day. When the water got a little rougher in the later morning, I upsized to the larger Skitterwalk. There was a little bit of Z-man Shrimp thrown in there too, but I mainly stayed with topwater.
In the earlier morning, before the sun was high, there were obvious topwater smashes on bait. As the morning progressed, I hovered around a submerged reef. It was maybe two feet from the water’s surface. My Cruise’s Flex-Drive would get hung up on it every so often but never had any major issues. It kicked up anytime I ran it too shallow over the reef.
Anyway, the trout action was great. I attempted to sight-cast to sheepshead which were also feeding around the reef, plenty of them doing head-stands in the water – their tails subtly breaching the surface.
Ironically, I only spotted three reds while out. One of them looked really nice, probably in the upper 30’s in length. That one I spotted and then lost it as I was about to cast. One of the other two looked to be a decent slot, but spooked, and the last hit the skitterwalk, but was average.
I’ll be hopeful to make another trip down to the island in the coming weeks. Fingers are crossed that it works out.
My Rod/Reel Combos
I made another trip down to PAC recently, taking a similar route as the week before. There wasn’t much of a tide-range this go round, but I was still able to pick up a handful of specks, ladyfish again… and of course, redfish are all over the marsh.
… But it didn’t slow the fish down too much.
It had been a while since the last time I visited Eddie & Lisa at PAC Kayak Rentals, so I headed down there with Mark on Tuesday. I wanted to get reacquainted with these oh-so familiar waters.
The nice thing about a trip to PAC Kayak Rentals is that I don’t feel that I need to be secretive about anywhere over there, at least not within average paddling distance. There’s so many fish all over the area that you truly don’t have to travel far.
With that in mind, after leaving Eddie’s, Mark & I headed north. He was on a mission to upgrade some CPR stats in the local club, I just wanted to catch fish. We headed through the well-known shrimp nets and immediately started trying to stay stationary against the incoming tide (This is where a pedal-driven kayak comes in handy). There were gulls everywhere and fish hitting the surface! We both started chucking topwaters hoping for trout. We got the trout, but also the needlefish and ladyfish.
After spending about an hour playing with the schoolies, we started for the marsh. It wasn’t much longer before we had separated and I started finding reds. They weren’t biting for me yet, but they were appearing.
I started the morning throwing a black & gold Curl-tail Jig by Buggs, but the reds were spooking from it. My initial reaction was to put something more subtle on, so I tied on a Click-bait Shrimp, also Buggs. It started getting some action. The water was high, of course, but the reds were floating just under the surface making sight-casting an option.
After a few fish on it, I decided to swap out to a lure I’ve seen plenty people catch on but hadn’t tried myself for reds. A Crawfish plastic. Specifically, the only one I had at the moment… a Crackin’ Craw by Cajun Lures. I have to say, I’m a believer now. There’s a few different versions that people have been using and they all look good: Cajun Lures, Shu-Shu Lures, and Matrix Shad’s Matrix Craw.
After putting that on, it was the only thing I through for the rest of the day. Every fish I threw it to ate.
By that point it was near noon, maybe a little after, and the thunderheads were starting to sound-off so I started back for the marina. I fished a little on the way in with no additional success.
And here’s something I don’t normally do: here’s a map showing where I was. The beautiful thing about Pointe Aux Chenes set-up is that you really don’t have to travel far for the fish. It’s an awesome place run by awesome people.
My Rod/Reel Combos
I’m about a week late, but that’s ok. It’s still better than I have been about updating the ole’ blog.
So, as I posted earlier the prior week, Karl & I were looking forward to fishing this year’s LA 1 Slamboree (put on by the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club). And while we both got to fish it, the day did not go as planned.
We knew we’d be dealing with a rough west wind most of the day. I headed down the day before to scout out the area. I was discouraged to find that our “plan A” spot had fallen victim to the recent public/private land issues. With the site of recent installed POSTED signs, I called Karl and we talked through our options for locations. By that point, many of the guys that would be staying at the marina that night had arrived and the pre-tournament festivities began. We mostly just hung out at the water and hung out, occasionally fishing after the sun had gone down and the dock lights had attracted the bait fish.
When Karl arrived the next morning, we dropped in right at the marina and headed east. There are plenty of pipeline canals in the area, so we knew we’d have a little protection from the west wind. I figured the redfish wouldn’t be much of a problem, the trout would be scarce, and the flounder would be mythical.
We spent about four hours in that area and Karl had missed a red, I had missed one and caught one, a 16.5″. Checking out a few familiar spots but without much luck. I made the decision, after needing to head back to the marina, to head northward to Bason’s. I figured that I needed to give up on the trout and flat-fish, and just try to get a nice red.
After fighting the head-wind back to the Marina, Karl decided to hang back and just enjoy being in the area; bank-fish a bit and head to the Island (Grand Isle).
I packed up and headed up to Galliano. When I got there I was greeted by several of my friends in the Redbone Fishing Club who were packing up to head south.
With seemingly no hope of a trout that far north, I headed to my redfish spot still bottom fishing slowly trying to find a mythical doormat. I arrived at my redfish spot and found….. a trout! Every bit of 12.25″ flailing at the end of my line. Into the bag it went!
However, there were no redfish. Murky water and occasionally a small red or two right along the bank. I never could get a good cast at one, and blind-casting was yielding no results either. I then decided to head into a long, straight canal heading back north while trolling a Ginger Avenger Inline Spinnerbait.
I don’t love trolling but it is an easy way to keep a line wet while being mobile. And it gave me something, because it didn’t take long before I’d nabbed another barely-legal red. Where were all the upper slots?
I neared a marsh drain while I was coming to terms with weighing in two barely-legal fish. I looked up into the drain-out… a tail. I stood up to get a good look at the fish and could tell he’d be as good as it would get. He spooked on the first cast – I brought the bait to him too fast. He made a u-turn then stopped. Up went the tail, and then a second tail. This was too good, I just needed the presentation to be subtle. The Bugg hit the water about three feet on the other side of them from me, and I reeled it in closer… slowed down… popped it…
BOOM! Hooked up!
After a short fight, I netted and bagged the 25.5″ red and figured I needed to head back, get loaded up, and get to the marina.
This tournament, this year, counted as a true-slam tournament – if an angler caught all three species (redfish, trout, founder) they would place higher (regardless of weight) than someone with two fish. I had spoken to Scott during my change of location and learned that he had gotten his trout and a flounder. He arrived at Bason’s shortly after me and grabbed his red. A few other guys had similar luck.
I still haven’t finished in the money, but this is the closest I’ve gotten with this tournament. There were 5 spots paid-out overall and 5 slams caught so all who caught all three fish got a check. I ended up 13th overall. Not really great, but out of 61 registered and 40 that weighed in, I’ll take it.
Big fish categories paid-out the top two spots. My redfish with the 5th heaviest overall, but granted it was tough conditions and the typical tournament bruisers were missing.
This tournament really got me fired up and I’m looking forward to the next event. Not sure when that will be, but I’m ready!
My Rod/Reel Combos