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
It’s that time of year again.
I’m not a hardcore tournament angler. I’ve never claimed to be. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy them. The anticipation, the challenge, the competition, the camaraderie… I enjoy all of it. I enjoy keeping up with tournaments too. I’m often keeping up with the Bassmaster Elites, the FLW, and many of our local tourneys. But I’m not the type of person who has to fish every tournament that gets put on. Side note: I do have kids, so maybe one day, haha!
I say that because there aren’t many tournaments that I get to fish consecutively, year to year. But there has been one that I’m thankful to say has become a tradition for Karl & I, going on it’s 5th year. Props to him for helping keep it alive when I’ve felt indifferent about competing in it. We’ve never finished in the money, but we (almost) always have a great time. It’s time for the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club’s LA-1 Slamboree!
In honor of the tournament, and our love for it, here’s a brief back track from years past…
Not only was 2013 our first year competing in this tourney, it was our first tournament, period. It was actually only Karl’s second time fishing from a kayak. It was a gloomy day with off-and-on rain. We fished near Fourchon and I recall Karl hooked a flounder early on a Bugg jig, but lost it at the boat. I caught a few small trout, an 18″ redfish, and hooked a nice red that broke my line.
2014 – We didn’t compete. River had JUST been born about a month before.
My least favorite year so far. We launched at a well-known roadside put-in. Winds were howling and the day had a mix of sun and clouds. We searched the area for a while but ultimately got tired of fighting the wind, and headed back to the Marina early for a shower and a snack before weigh-in.
On the Up-side; I do believe this is when Karl won a Duce Rod as a door prize, and I may have won a Buggs Package. It did not go wasted.
We ran late and pulled up at Topwater Marina right at 6am. That fact, combined with me not being fully interested in the event, led us to decide to launch right there at Topwater and head east. Through the series of pipeline canals and blow-outs, we managed to find a few fish. I actually had caught a slam, but all fish were undersized. There was also a pretty serious rainbow at one point as well.
The best yet. We fished near Fourchon for the first time since the first year. bait were everywhere and so were the reds. I think I may have even had a small trout, though I can’t remember quite that well. Right before heading to weigh-in, on a “final” cast with a Skitterwalk, I landed a 36-37″ bull red. Though I couldn’t weigh it, it made the day for me.
So, at this point, you can tell that we’re ready for Saturday. We pretty much know what we’ll do and are just hoping it’ll work in our favor.
Fishing a tournament is great fun, even if you’re not very competitive. Not only could you potentially win some money, you can also get some pretty awesome door prizes. Please register and come join us on the water!
I, unfortunately, haven’t had a chance to make it down to the marsh since the end of June. For what it’s worth, here’s the video to tag along with that trip…