Louisiana experienced a mild winter and the inshore fishing never really slowed down. However, there are always those couple of days around a front where the fishing slows for a while. Great catches have been the norm rather than the exception, but there is never any guarantee. You should have been here yesterday…or tomorrow.
It’s no secret that inshore fishing in Louisiana is legendary. Fishermen travel here from all over the world to experience the unmatched action and unique scenery. Kayak fishermen are no different. The sport is ever-growing and out-of-state kayak anglers are coming here in big numbers to get in on the action.
Trout and redfish are no different across the Gulf Coast. However, out of all the coastal states, Louisiana has the most liberal limits on both. Sure, the trout in Texas and Florida may be larger, but neither can compete with Louisiana’s numbers.
Recently, a group of kayakers came from Texas to see what the fuss is all about. Several members of the Dirty South Kayak Anglers group headed to the Port Sulphur area to experience south Louisiana marsh fishing. They did it right. They rented a camp on the water where they could keep their kayaks and fish around the clock if they wanted to. Some did.
The DSKA originated from the coastal waters of Southeast Texas, but now has members all across the state and country. Their Facebook group boasts nearly 2,500 members. The group’s mission is simple. They strive to bring knowledge, experience, and a helping hand to those in the fishing community that need it. In support of kayak fishing, they have a diverse group of anglers that have the resources and willingness to answer questions about fishing, kayaking or anything related thereto.
Of course they all came to south Louisiana with visions of full limits and non-stop action.
With a small cold front passing just a day or so before their arrival, the fishing wasn’t exactly on fire, but they did manage some respectable catches. One of the trip organizers, Merriel Solesky, said it best: “Bad days are for learning. When things are slow, I use that experience to figure out why, and what I can learn to improve things on future trips.”
One of the things the group quickly learned was to have several options available. When confronted with dirty water in the marsh and slow action, several switched to fishing deeper canals and/or taking advantage of lighted docks for some hot nighttime action. While some slept after a long day of fishing, others launched in the canal in front of the camp and found good action on trout and reds under the lights. Mark Barta and several others traded sleep for night fishing and were rewarded with hefty stringers of trout and reds.
The next morning while the night fishermen slept in, several others traveled a short distance by vehicle. They launched into an area that held some cleaner water and hungry redfish hiding out in the broken marsh.
It is always interesting to see the lures others are using to fish for trout and reds in their home area. We all have our favorite brands and local specialties, but some of these guys were fishing lures I had never seen nor heard of. Of course, the reds and trout didn’t mind. One lure in particular that appealed to hungry reds was the Strike Pro Hunchback. This small, hard plastic wakebait runs just under the surface with a hypnotic wobble and light rattling noise from the internal BBs. Spotting a fish moving tight to the shoreline, Oscar “Grouch” Flores tossed a green and gold Hunchback just beyond the movement. After only a few cranks on the reel, the red smashed the bait at the surface and the fight was on. A few drag runs later, Grouch put a nice 23-inch red in the net.
As the group moved farther into the marsh, it was easy to see that the rising tide had the reds moving deep into the broken-up areas. Victor Borrego had an advantage. He was the only one using a paddle kayak and could easily maneuver into these shallow hiding spots without a pedal drive contacting the bottom. Alternating between a plastic tail under a popping cork and a Hunchback, Victor started stacking reds and trout onto his stringer.
“I had dreams of seeing redfish in the marsh like you see on TV in Louisiana. Well that didn’t happen so much…Other than that, the weekend was fun and had a good time with great people. Can’t wait to do it again,” said Jonathon Spencer.
These guys are true fishermen. While their dreams of endless fish weren’t realized, they adapted as necessary and enjoyed the trip for what it really was, a new experience, a lot of memories and some nice fish to boot.