It’s definitely been a little while since I’d made my way down Hwy. 56 to launch at Coco Marina. Almost a year, actually. The last time I even fished anywhere in Cocodrie was about six or so months ago. But we’d gotten a couple of fronts in and I love fishing in Coco after a front (2-3 days after), so I headed down there to let the new Outback taste saltwater.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot to tell about. Despite a pretty sunrise, the majority of the day was overcast and somewhat windy. Water was also high, about a foot up from where I like it to be and it was dirty. The clarity of the water is a bigger deal for me than the height.
Still, I gave it my best. Made adjustments and kept casting. Didn’t even try to sight-fish, I knew it would be a waste of time. I headed for all of the typical honey holes that I know of to no avail.
It finally changed when I parked myself in a back pond. I’d already seen a couple of wakes and had a bite. I knew where the fish like hanging out in this particular pond so I nudged up against the bank and started using a Z-Man shrimp and working it back slowly. That’s when a smallish red hit it like a freight train! First saltwater slime for the ’19 OB!
By that time I was about ready to head in. I hadn’t brought food and it was after lunch, and you notice hunger more when the bite is slow, haha!
November tenth is Redbone’s last tournament of the year, Festivus For The Rest Of Us, which takes place here in Cocodrie. I considered this to be the first scouting trip for that tourney. I may be headed back later this week and then once more next week before the tourney. Coco can be such a great fishery, I can’t wait for it to turn on!
My Rod/Reel Combos
There’s that old saying that “the only thing constant in life is change.”
My absence from the blogging has been reflective of my absence from the water since selling my Jackson Cruise FD. The lack of fishing was mainly due to the waiting game, waiting on my new model for 2019. But there’s been a major change for me as far as kayak fishing goes, in that I’ve resigned from my position on the Jackson Regional Team. This had been due to a few different reasons, none of which had anything to do with Jackson Kayak or the team itself.
Before continuing, I want to say it here, just as I did on social media… My experience as a Jackson Team Member has been phenomenal. I truly love the company and the products. But it’s mainly the people that make the JK brand so awesome. I’m thankful for the friendships I’ve made and hope to keep those friendships into the future.
Now – due to my new position, or lack there of, I felt that it was perhaps time to change things up and I wanted to demo a few new models from other brands. I’ve worked at Pack & Paddle for almost 5 years now and have a lot of experience with the different models, so I had a strong idea on which way I would go. I’ve always told myself that if I were to buy anything other than a Jackson, that it would be a Hobie. And as of 2017, the model I leaned towards by Hobie was the Compass. I liked it’s sharp nose, clean deck layout, large storage area, and overall stability. A huge plus for me is also it’s paddle-ability. These kayak are known for their pedal drives, but in my style of fishing, the pedal drives mainly just get you to a location, and then it’s stand-up-paddle time.
Then, at the end of August, Hobie unveiled what so many people had been waiting for, an updated Outback. The Outback has always been Hobie’s best-seller and it’s one of our top-sellers at P&P. The new design took everything I liked about the old Outback and added what I liked about the Compass, and threw a little Pro Angler spice in the mix as well.
So many of the features were ideas that I had been waiting for and hoping someone would figure out.
When I have been asked why I made the jump to Hobie, I compare it to the purchase of my favorite kayak since I started kayak fishing… the model I used for the longest – the Cuda 14…
– My very first kayak was a Jackson Coosa (the OG). I did (and still do) love the design of that ‘yak. But the first time I used it in a bay I realized why the Cuda 14 was the model everyone seemed to be pointing to for South LA. For about two weeks, I stopped at Pack & Paddle any chance I got to just look at a Cuda 14 they had on display. I didn’t just look at it, I stared at it. It ended when I just couldn’t take it. I sold the Coosa, and bought a Cuda.
This has been somewhat the same for me. The overall layout of the new Hobie Outback is just too great. From the clean deck-floor design, to loads of integrated tracks around the boat, the cupholders, the hatch areas, and the huge tank-well area.
All I can say at this point is that I’m looking forward to using this boat throughout the coming months, and seeing what this “Hobie thing” is all about!
A while back, I mentioned that one of the days for last year’s Jackson Kayak Team meet-up in Pointe Aux Chenes was dedicated to the idea of a friendly tournament. There were to be two teams and Jameson & Brooks would film it for a cool video.
That video has finally been released!
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