November 2006 - Volume 26, Number 11

Features

Drought, high temperatures and salty water have battered this south-central Louisiana playground, but it’s still one of the most productive bass fisheries around.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 11th installment of a 12-part series exploring the best bass-fishing areas in the Bayou State.

While watching the TV announcers trying to fill time during the lightning delay in the LSU-Mississippi State game, I heard one of them say, “Things aren’t quite the same around these parts, but you can tell it’s coming back because you can see these people doing what they do.”

Target flatfish in these areas, and you’ll be delighted with the stringer of fish you bring home.

Flounder are often seen as more of an afterthought than the targets of an angler’s obsession. That was certainly the case the first time I caught a mess of flatfish.

Many are here, and others are coming. Hunters who are knowledgeable about how and why ducks migrate can use that information to increase their success.

The dawn broke early.

A week prior at this time, I was just crawling out of bed to go through the same routine that I had just endured for the last hour.

After Katrina and Rita, experts predicted several lean duck years, but the habitat has rebounded remarkably well, and this season may be one for the ages.

The birds turned at the blat of the call, pinwheeling in flight and heading straight for the spread of decoys set just outside the blind. They stayed slightly out of shotgun range and made a pass by the setup, continuing on behind the hidden hunters.

Public-land duck hunting can be hit or miss, but these three areas offer some of the best opportunities to bag limits of birds when the season opens this month.

The state’s public lands offer diverse duck-hunting experiences, but having success is far different than at any duck club in existence.

You’ll be hard pressed to find action any better than that in Reggio in November.

Did you ever have a craving for a certain thing? You know what I mean; sometimes you just crave something in particular, like Chinese food or Mexican food. Or ice-cream. Or a Snickers bar or an Almond Joy.

And once that craving gets a foothold, it’s hard to get it out of your mind until you satisfy it.

November’s cool temperatures force Venice reds to move every day. Follow them, and you’ll spend the day in line - stretching fun.

It didn’t take long for Capt. Cade Thomas and me to get tired of hauling water at the Jump at Venice. Our ice chest, void of any speckled trout, reminded me of a sign I saw leaving a lake one day that read, “Cuz, you should have been here yesterday.”

Snapper season’s over, but there’s a large variety of fish in the Ship Shoal blocks that eagerly take center stage this month.

With another successful recreational red snapper season under his belt, Capt. Tommy Pellegrin quickly adapts his methods to concentrate on the mixed bag of other species that swarm the platforms and reefs near his home port of Cocodrie.

Upgrading your shotgun now will put a smile on your face all duck season.

Make your first shot count.

That’s good advice that I absolutely never follow.

And sometimes that proves more painful than others.

You know the algae that gets on your bait when you’re casting for redfish? Ducks love it, and the green stuff will be hot zones for activity this season.

That 10-foot surge of salt water from Katrina over our marshes wasn’t enough it seems. As lagniappe, this year we get a low river and drought — just in case some grass might have even thought about growing back.

Forget beards and racks. If you want your kid to really love hunting, take him on a squirrel outings, and teach him these techniques.

You can’t throw a high-school freshman in the middle of an LSU football game and expect him to have much success.

You can’t enroll a first-grader in college and expect him to make the dean’s list.

You also wouldn’t pluck your kid off his go-cart seat and put him behind the wheel in a NASCAR race.

There has to be a starting point.

The old adage that you have 8 seconds from when you see a big buck until he’s gone is seldom proven untrue.

“When a big, old buck shows up, you’ve got about 8 seconds to get on him and pull the trigger.”

Many shy away from managed hunts because of the crowds of gun-toting hunters. These two men, however, don’t even blink: They simply adapt to make the pressure work for them.

Aaron Toups had laid claim to the stretch of woods around him by nestling in his tree stand long before the first rays of dawn vaulted over the horizon, but he saw something that would make most hunters cringe as the forests around him brightened.

Hunt smart, and you'll let other hunters push public-land deer to you.