My 15-year-old son was out-fishing three grown, veteran anglers. Trout were flopping over the gunwale, and Garrett was his usual unassuming self.
He'd cast out a Carolina-rigged croaker, crawl it across the bottom and pull another fish to the side of the boat when the strike inevitably came. He would then grin slightly, wrestle the fish under control and toss it in the ice chest before repeating the procedure. Mostly without saying a word. Lee Newman Jr., Eddie Boettner and I were pretty happy at first. I mean, who doesn't want to see a kid catching fish? But then signs of wear began to show. First, Newman eased over to cast his bait closer to Garrett's. Then Boettner migrated closer to that side of the 27-foot Glenn Young. I even made a cast from the far corner of the boat, trying to work the same area. Garrett finally was forced to abandon his heretofore productive area and move to the other side of the boat, as grown men pushed him out of the way. Still, the youngster outfished us at least three to one. He simply began catching them from a different area. Finally, the strain on us older men burst into the open. "Little ," Boettner muttered below his breath. Even my fatherly pride didn't withstand the stress. "What are you doing?" I asked. We were all fishing croakers, so the little punk had to be doing something different. Garrett simply shrugged, and pulled the hook into another trout's mouth. And then he made a mistake. "When are you going to catch some fish, Dad?" he snickered. Boettner gave a sardonic grin, and shared some of the wisdom that came with a little age. "Garrett, you have to be careful: Sometimes when you start bragging, God punishes you," he said. Well, apparently God was listening. But it didn't work out exactly as Boettner expected; the bite didn't move from Garrett's line to one of ours. Instead, with about 35 3- to 4-pound trout cooling in the chest, the bite turned off. It was like the fish just had eaten enough, or maybe they abandoned the underwater morass of steel we were fishing. The area was located about 20 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), and was within sight of the Central Rig. Smaller satellite rigs dotted the view in all directions, but we were fishing an underwater obstruction the name of which Boettner guarded more closely than his Social Security number. While summertime is the peak of the trout fishing season in Breton Sound, Newman, of the North Shore, and Boettner, of New Orleans, said it's still worth the run to open water in September. "There are always plenty of big fish out here, year round," Boettner said. "There are hundreds of satellite rigs, and there are fish around every single one." So when they're looking for quality trout, the pair will run to the rigs in the Central area.