The Closing Window

Pointe Aux Chenes has been one of our “go-to” spots this summer. It seems that as the water heats up, so does the redfish action. The Island Rd. WMA has been one of our favorite areas to fish in PAC, due to the large submerged grass beds that have appeared this summer. They clean the water up and make it pretty easy to sight fish.

After PAC Attack, I decided to make another trip later the next week. Not long after launching and searching along the edge of one of the beds, I saw a small school of reds approaching. There were maybe 5 fish. It took several casts but I was able to land one.photo-6 photo-4This was also my first time using the Jackson Kayak Cruise 12 that we bought as my wife’s kayak. She had only used it once so far and it had been loaned out to other friends when they joined Andrew and I. I have to say that I’m quite pleased with the boat.

The wind picked up and after missing one other fish that chased the lure to my boat, I decided to pack it in.photo-5

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Fast forward to this week, as I headed back to the same area to see if the bite was still on. In just a week’s time, many of the grass beds have started to disappear. I traveled northward to try to get to some of the skinnier areas. I did see quite a few fish, but only moments before they saw me. The water was a bit murkier than before.

The last area that I headed to was the edge of a small grass mat and there were a few tails cruising nearby. One nice red was swimming closer and closer toward me but wanted nothing to do with the spoon I was offering. With one last desperation cast, the lure landed right on his head and he spooked off. Not long after I called it a day.

So, though the window may be closing on one of our favorite spots this summer, on the bright side, Fall is coming.photo-3

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Time for some freshwater…

Andrew and I had decided that after PAC Attack, we were going to take a weekend off. Then, stick to some freshwater areas for a change-up. We decided to head to Flat Lake, just north of Morgan City, to fish for bream and bass. But Flat Lake is notorious during the late summer for being overrun with lilies and hyacinth on the north-end. The only way through are paths that the bass boats cut through to get to the north bayous, and that’s way too risky to try to navigate in a kayak. Add to the equation that the landing was hosting a bass tournament Saturday morning. We decided on a second option.

Flat Lake is on the western side of the east Atchafalaya basin protection levee. On the eastern side of the levee is the small town of Stephensville. The town sits right between lakes Palourde to the south, and Verret to the north and Bayou Magazille runs right through. photo 1Truth be told, nobody ever does extremely well in Stephensville or Bayou Magazille anymore. At one time I’m sure that it was a very productive area, but in my opinion, has been very much over fished. Still, every so often someone will catch a nice bass, so there’s always hope.

Andrew immediately went to throwing a mini-jig under a bobber for bream. I’d start with a chatterbait, then worm, then throw the bream rig. We did end up with some fish, all very small bluegill and other sunfish. Everything was released.photo-3 photo-4 photo-5

At the end of the day, Tracey and her co-worker joined us as we made a quick paddle trip in Gibson. The crispness of the afternoon had me feeling as though the hi should’ve been 70 for the day. The first real cold front is said to be heading through near the end of the week, then it will hopefully be on!photo-8 photo-6

The Shallow Season

Awesome video by David Mangum

PAC Attack VI

One of Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club‘s annual tournaments, PAC Attack, was held this weekend in Pointe Aux Chenes. Andrew and I (and sometimes Karl) had been heading to the area for the past month to scout out the area. We would find a few big fish in one area in particular, but opted to search elsewhere for the tourney due to teal hunters being in the area on tournament day. We never did find any mid-upper slot reds anywhere else. Just around the 16″-19″ mark.

Many of the BCKFC tournaments have a slam category, which requires the anglers to weigh in a redfish, speckled trout, & flounder (heaviest slam wins). This tourney, however, just focuses on redfish, which is good for me since they’re the primary species I target. The way to win PAC Attack is to weigh in the heaviest limit of reds (5 fish).

I was joined by Andrew & Karl at 4am Saturday morning as we made the drive down to Pointe Aux Chenes. Andrew would, as usual, be in his Jackson Kayak Big Tuna, Karl in my wife’s Jackson Cruise, and I in the Cuda 14. As we got to PAC, the water was very high, completely covering one of the areas we had put-in at when scouting. The teal hunters were out too, heading out from the launches. We decided to launch from Isle de Jean Charles Marina where many of the other club members where launching from.

Fishing was very slow for the first part of the day. With the stained high water, the fish were mostly in the flooded marsh. There were many times that I would hear hits around me and see the grass moving where it would be difficult to get a lure. The best chance to catch anything would be cast against the grass and retrieve keeping the lure close to the grass.

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Probably by 8am, Karl had landed one 20″+ and lost another at the boat. Andrew and I were still looking for our first bites. I headed across a small area of open water to a few islands with no luck, then down a long pipeline canal riding the current. I spotted a fish against the grass and decided to camp for a few minutes. I ran the lure against the grass a few times with nothing, then threw a GULP under a cork. A pretty nice red hit the cork just before a hardhead pulled it under. I picked up the GULP and continued with the prior tactic and landed a 17″. At this point, I just decided to keep it. If nothing else, I would have something to weigh in.

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I landed another 17.5″ not long after that. It was near 10am by then. I decided to try to find Andrew. He still hadn’t landed anything. We decided to move to the area we had fished last weekend, which was just a short paddle away. I got a hit pretty quickly, but pretty sure he just had the tail of the lure. I moved into a cove where I saw a bit of wakes and other nervous water. After a few minutes I turned to my right and saw a nice red cruising near the surface within six feet of me. Made a perfect short cast and landed him. 25″.

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I worked back further into the cove. Another came up three feet from the boat but I couldn’t get a good cast to him. At the back of the cove was a pond only accessible by a narrow cut, just wide enough for a kayak. While coming through the cut, I could see shadows in the water but as soon as I was inside the pond, clouds covered the sun. I sat and waited a few minutes for the clouds to move on. As soon as they had, I sight casted to another swimming near the surface. He came in around 18″. One fish away from my limit, I was confident I could finish it in that pond. I was looking for one more upper slot red, but wasn’t seeing any. With weigh-in approaching, I landed a 16″ that I returned to the marsh, then sight casted to my final keeper, a 19.5″.

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I started the paddle back. Met back up with Andrew to find he had only gotten a few bites but no fish. Karl had landed 3, two that were over 20″ and one near 18″. We got back to the marina just in time to eat. Mr. Theo, the owner of the marina, had fixed lunch for everyone (the sausage was stinkin’ awesome!!). I weighed in my limit which came in at 14.90 lbs. With the amount of anglers competing, checks would go to the top five weights. The top five were the following:

  1. Bill Crawford – 28.90 lbs
  2. Rodney Soignier – 21.70 lbs
  3. Clayton Shilling – 18.75 lbs
  4. Casey Brunning – 17.40 lbs
  5. Mark Eubanks – 16.10 lbs

I came in at 7th place, which felt about right. It was a great event and a good time afterwords.

Now we’ll soon start scouting new areas and be looking forward to the first cold front to move through. I can’t wait for some Fall fishing!

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Isle De Jean Charles, LA

I fished BCKFC’s PAC Attack this past Saturday (report coming soon), which was held at Isle de Jean Charles Marina, aka, Theo’s. Isle de Jean Charles is a small strip of road and camps in Pointe Aux Chenes, south of Houma. There are 24 families living on the island of French Native American heritage. Choctaw, Biloxi, & Chitimacha are the tribes represented.

Like many places in South Louisiana, if you just drive through these small coastal communities, you don’t really think anything of it. However, this is paradise to the people who live there. They choose to stay & come back after every hurricane and rebuild their lives. But paradise is sinking.

I found these short films on Isle de Jean Charles and it’s residents, and found them interesting.