The kraken (pronounced KROK-in) is a legendary giant sea monster said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland.
The business card on the counter of Bayou Adventure in Lacombe couldn’t help but catch my eye. An orange-skeletoned alligator gar with a gaping mouth full of fangs slithered sinuously down the black card’s face.
It read, “Wicked Fishing Charters. Huntin’ the Kraken, 985-750-0670.”
OK; I bit.
The friendly voice on the other end of the phone belonged to Andy Jones, a retired U.S. Coast Guardsman and now full time charter guide specializing in Lake Pontchartrain fishing.
“Yeah, we catch a lot of alligator gar. In fact, May is the start of the best time for gar and shark fishing.”
“Sharks? Sharks?” I questioned.
“Oh yeah,” he replied matter-of-factly. “Pretty good ones too; right here next to New Orleans.”
Jones, it turned out, spends much of the year like other Lake Pontchartrain fishermen — hammering speckled trout in early spring and all fall at the lake’s bridges and chasing redfish much of the rest of the time.
But from May through September, he spends an increasing amount of his effort chartering for gar and sharks. The idea for fishing for toothy fish came during a father-son charter trip.
“They had a limit of slot reds and a couple of big bull redfish too. They also caught a shark and a gar. All they talked about at the dock were the gar and the shark.
“Many fishermen release their catch of gar and sharks, because they fish for the thrill of catching them. But a surprising number of them keep their gar.”
Ducking between days of squalls and blow-ups, I finally met the man at the Mandeville Boat