Back in PAC

Having three days off in a row doesn’t happen too often, and with the weather the way it’s been, I hadn’t been fishing in around 2 weeks. After staying home for the first two days, I was aching to get out on the water. Tracey allowed me to do so on Sunday morning so I headed to PAC.

I still love fishing PAC. It’s probably still my favorite location, even with its increased popularity in the kayak community. Redbone’s first tournament of the year is coming up soon, so I wanted to prefish the area.

Things started real slow. The skies were overcast and there was a chill on the little wind there was. I started trying a mixture of slower presentations and moderate retrieves. From 10 – 1, I had two bits of action. One was a quick bite and spit, the second I landed. It was a small red, probably not making 16 inches.

I continued on with this pattern, occasionally trying other baits. I planned to head back to the truck around 12:30, but got the call from Tracey that I could take my time. Not long after that phone call, the clouds broke and the sun lit up the water. The wind completely stopped. The water temperature had been around 53-54*, but with the sun out it warmed up to 56* which is what I like for my preferred fishing style. I soon started finding redfish all over the flats. They were mainly larger fish, 25-29″. Unfortunately, seeing them isn’t catching them, and most spooked before I could make a cast.

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I did bring one home though, which was caught on my faithful Buggs Curl-tail.

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I hooked him right in the tongue though, and he was bleeding pretty bad. After putting him in the AO Cooler, I realized the mess he’d made in the ‘yak, and all over my legs. The Hobie is officially broken in, lol.

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I’m getting the final bits of rigging done just in time for the start of tournament season, and plan to have a walkthrough video done soon, so keep an eye out for that!

Gear Used

Kayak : Hobie Outback (2019)

Paddle : Werner Cyprus Hooked

Fishing Line: FINS Windtamer, 40G, and Shock Absorbing Braids, Mainly 20-30lb test.

Rods : St. Croix Avid Inshore Series Spinning Rods & St. Croix Mojo Yak Casting Rod

Reels : Shimano Stradic 2500, Shimano Nasci 2500, & 13 Fishing Concept C

Lures : – Buggs Curl-tail Jig (1st Gen.)

Starting 2019

So for my first 2019 trip, I got the uncommon pleasure of sharing the water with Karl (who I seldom get to fish with anymore), and my former co-workers, Mark & Stephen. On an uncharacteristically sunny & mostly windless day, we met up at Coco Marina to hopefully get some reds on the fly.

My fly fishing skill level is still definitely at beginner, but I do now have two reds landed on fly, but out of a skiff. I had another two hooked that spit the hook. I’ve never landed a fish on fly from the kayak, so that was the goal this day.

Ultimately, it wasn’t meant to be. But that doesn’t mean the day was a total skunk. It started fairly promising…

We headed out from the Marina, heading to a spot to the west. Crossing the ship channel, we started searching once reaching an area on the other side. After scanning the bank – looking for tails or backs in the low, wind blown marsh – we neared an open area with marsh on the far side. Near that marsh, there were disturbances on top the water. Karl spotted it first. Both Mark & I were quick to dismiss it as “probably mullet”. We were both intrigued enough to head that direction though. Mark got to them first, and as he started to say “yep, mullet”, he stopped mid-sentence, and yelled out, “I was wrong! It’s reds!”

Karl & I were closing in by this point and started to make casts at the spooked school. It wasn’t a school of big fish, but they were plentiful and hanging around this section of marsh. I headed up the next side, hoping to catch a few as they headed that direction. I was dedicated to the fly rod, false casting back and forth a few times, but I couldn’t get the accuracy – each time the fly falling short of a waking fish.

There finally came a moment when I spotted one, and the fly line had gotten pretty tangled. I grabbed my St. Croix Avid Inshore rod with a Buggs Click-bait Shrimp and casted it right in front the fish and watched him take it, exploding as I set the hook. Mark called out, “Eli’s on!” and I called back that it wasn’t on fly. He joked that it didn’t count.

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As the day progressed, we eventually split up to explore the marsh. Unfortunately, that was the most action we found that day. The wind started to pick up in the afternoon and Karl & I headed back in. I think everyone finished the day with one fish each.

Unfortunately, I only nabbed these two photos for the day.

I’ll be fishing Coco a little more in the coming weeks. It’s already a favorite location of mine, but I’m also hoping to fish more Lafayette club events this year, the first being in Cocodrie in March. For now, I’m turning my focus to Pointe Aux Chenes, where the first tournament of the year is taking place. Redbone Fishing’s PAC Man tourney at the beginning of February.

Redbone: Festivus 2018

I know. I’m a bit behind. We’ve recently started redecorating our house, so I’ve been doing a lot of painting. It’s fine, really, because the weather hasn’t allowed for much fishing lately. Anyway…

Redbone Fishing Club’s last event of the year, which was rescheduled from being rained out, was the Festivus tourney. I think the format was for a trout and two reds.

Unfortunately, it was so far back now, I can’t remember the tourney details. Main thing, I think I’d gotten a fifth place finish overall, and third in the Trout Calcutta. No money for me, but happy to have placed pretty well.

At the very least, I can post up a few images that I took during the tourney…

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Before the Front – Coco

I’m currently sitting in a Kia dealership in New Iberia waiting for my wife’s vehicle to be serviced, so I figured I should knock out this post real quick.

It was a few days before this cold front blew through, so the temperature was still pretty comfortable outside. When I arrived at Coco Marina, I could see that the water was back to it’s normal level… still muddy, but that’s Cocodrie.dsc_1230-2

I headed south from the marina and targeted a couple of open mud flats just off of the main channel. There were definitely more signs of life than my previous trip. Bait was scurrying and jumping out the water, mostly shrimp (it’s that time of year!). Still, I didn’t see any actual fish in the first flat.

The first bite came way in the back of another flat area that turns to marsh ponds. I noticed a splash along the shoreline and started moving towards it. Through the muddy water I could make out the dark profiles of a small redfish school – maybe five fish. I still had the Z-man EZ-Shrimp (rootbeer/chart.) rigged up from last time so just pitched that ahead of them and started twitching it. Fish on! It was a small slot red, and being that I was pre-fishing for an upcoming tournament, I wanted to find a few nicer fish.

I headed to some marsh further west than I normally go, and found a lot of activity. Fish started to spook which caused me to change out to my “go-to”, the Buggs Curl-Tail (2nd Gen.). I soon had fish number two in my sights…

When in the marsh this time of year, even when you can’t see wakes, or sight-fish traditionally, one tactic you can use to sight fish indirectly (meaning not seeing the fish itself) is watching the shoreline for jumping bait. It can be subtle, but that’s how I casted to the next red. I noticed a trail of shrimp jumping along the shoreline, giving away that they were being antagonized from below the surface.

I casted ahead of the direction the bait were blowing up, and when it seemed like the right timing, I started working the lure. A short fight later and the red was brought aboard. It measured just over slot.

This went on a little longer before I needed to make the trek back to the marina. The way back was over the ship channel which was a bit choppy with the higher afternoon winds. The Outback pushed through fine, but the deck did get a little wet in the process, not a big deal for me.

Ultimately, the tournament was to take place last weekend – the same weekend as BCKFC’s Trout Challenge. I don’t worry too much about fishing in the rain or some wind, but I try not to underestimate the power of the weather. And with winds reaching gusts in the 30mph range, and knowing the area, I decided not to sign up. The officials decided to cancel and reschedule the tournament anyway, and I do plan to take part – though now it’s been moved to PAC.

Gear Used

Kayak : Hobie Outback (2019)

Paddle : Werner Cyprus Hooked

Rods : St. Croix Avid Inshore Series Spinning Rods & St. Croix Mojo Yak Casting Rod

Reels : Shimano Stradic 2500, Shimano Nasci 2500, & 13 Fishing Concept C

Lures : Z-Man Rigged EZ Shrimpz (Rtbr./Chart.) & Buggs 2nd Gen Curl-Tail Jig (Blk/Gold)

Ride The Bull – Unofficially

To finish off the month of October, I wanted to try something new. Well, kind of new. In 2013 I fished the famous Ride The Bull Kayak Rodeo for the first time. That experience can be found here. I fished it again in 2015. Neither time did I catch anything other than catfish and white trout. I also didn’t really know what to look for.

Now, with a bit more experience and some coaching, I headed down to Grand Isle to target some massive reds again, this time with a game plan. I would be meeting up with Mark Carline, a co-P&P Guide and former co-worker, and his father and brother. We would be targeting these bulls IFA style, meaning on artificial lures rather than the Ride the Bull typical cracked crab and cut mullet.

I arrived a little before Mark and started fishing for trout near the rock breakers. There were schools of mullet swarming on the surface, but nothing crashing from underneath. After Mark – and family – arrived, We headed out to the deeper water. Using my depth finder, I was looking for a school. In around 11ft, I picked up on a school of something and made a cast. Using a 1 oz. Jighead and Gulp, I jigged the bait a few times and had a bite. I reeled up quickly, but pulled up an empty hook after the fish got off.

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A few minutes later, Mark’s Dad, Mr. Mark had hooked up. I was nearby so I got some shots of him and then assisted in landing the fish.

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Mark’s brother, Josh, had also hooked up a few times throughout the day, but I was never close enough to get photos.

After helping Mr. Mark with his fish, I soon hooked up again, and . this one didn’t escape!

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Mark and I were fishing for LKFC’s CPR Tournament, so length was really what we were after. This first bull measured in at 34″. Not even close to what I needed, but still a lot of fun!

Mark was next to hook up…

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It went on this way for a few hours. Between the bulls, there were black drum and catfish also caught.

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One of the highlights of the trip was when Mark hooked up to a roughly 40 incher on the fly. The fight lasted on the better side of ten minutes and got a little interesting as a crew boat passed nearby.

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The biggest red I’ve caught up to that point had been a 36.5″ that I caught in Fourchon for last year’s LA1 Slamboree. Here’s some flashback photos…

I beat that twice on this trip. The first was a bull around 38″ (Photo further above). The second came around 1pm as we were fishing the tideline. I’d been catching catfish the last few casts – but knew fairly quickly that this wasn’t a cat. It helped that it started pulling drag…

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Managing a big fish like this can be tough to take a CPR photo. Between controlling the fish, having it’s nose against the bumper and trying to get every bit of length from it, you’ve got your hands full. Thanks to Mark for helping get the photos of this fish. And also a shout-out to Tourneytag, who makes the sleeve that my CPR card goes in. It keeps the card dry, safe from the ink bleeding, and (as seen here) it’s strapped to my wrist so it’s one less component to worry about keeping in place.

We had a great time and it was a new experience for me. Especially different from marsh fishing and watching for tails! While I’ll definitely fish for bulls this way again, it’s time to get to the marsh, so that will be the next trips I make!

Gear Rundown

Kayaks

Lures

My Rod/Reel Combos

Fishing Line