According to Pike, who operates Cast and Blast Charters (504.427.4973), evening hunts don't mess up the next day's hunt in the marshes around Delacroix because the birds are constantly on the move and spend their mornings and their evenings in two entirely different places.
"It's been good," Pike recalled as we idled away from Sweetwater Marina. "We had a couple of little old fronts come through early in the season that pushed a little cooler weather down here, and big numbers of teal showed up early in the season.
"The last couple of days it's been off and on, but today we've got some cloud cover, and you can already see a few ducks flying right here in the canal."
Pike's plan was to set us up in some broken marsh, where it looked like the teal had been feeding on some bean-pod trees that surrounded the pond. It was about a 100-yard-diameter pond, and Pike said that teal had been pouring in there to roost.
"The good thing we got going out here in Delacroix is that we've got a freshwater diversion coming from the north," Pike told me over the sputter of his mud motor on our way to the pond. "So we get a lot of fresh water and underwater vegetation.
"What really attracts these birds, as opposed to rice fields, is our widgeon grass, coontail and hydrilla. I really think teal prefer the widgeon grass to anything else."
After tossing out some teal and coot decoys in a pattern that Pike thought would make for an effective hunt in a crosswind out of a boat blind, we settled in and got our shotguns ready.
That's when the heavens opened, and we had to hunker down under the pop-up blind for almost an hour.
Scattered groups of teal ranging from singles to three or four birds buzzed us a few times as soon as the rain ended.
Bigger groups of teal cruised just above the marsh horizon all around us. Pike's expert shooting put four birds on the water, and I was fortunate enough to find my mark on one.
Had it not been for my having to make up missed time during the rain to catch up on my editorial responsibilities, Pike and I would have easily shot our limit. Birds buzzed us while we took a few pictures before the fading light made that task impossible.
"I'm looking forward to the big season," Pike said just before we picked up the decoys. "I think – as far as teal only – it's going to be more than we've ever seen.
"The numbers are up over 40 percent. We've got a good duck season on the way."