Lafitte provides great Father’s Day, birthday gift

Louisiana Sportsman editorial assistant gets out of office to catch her first redfish

The last time I had a fishing pole in my hand O.J. Simpson was only known for his prowess on the football field, the only reality show on TV was “Cops” and Justin Bieber wasn’t even a twinkle in his dad’s eye.

That changed yesterday (July 3).

My dad has been hinting at getting a boat for over a year now, and I know he wants to get back into fishing. He spent his summers as a child on Elmer’s Island, and had a boat for many years before life got in the way and fishing was put on the back burner.

The fact that he only had daughters (with no interest in fishing) didn’t help.

So as a Father’s Day/birthday present, I decided I wanted to take my dad fishing. And why go any farther than the place we call home?

There are PLENTY of great guides in Lafitte, but one of the stand-out charter fishing companies is Bourgeois Charters. Maybe it’s the neon yellow shirts or the fact that the guides seem to have permanent smiles on their faces, but I’ve always thought they looked like really fun people to go fishing with.

The day started with my dad, nephew and I taking a two-minute drive across the bayou to Bourgeois Charters. We were covered in SPF 50 and anxious to get on the water. The forecast called for a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon, but the sky was crystal clear as we left the dock.

Capt. Darryl first took us out to Bayou Perot to fish the openings in the cement wall. My dad and nephew were getting bites, but they were all small fish, mostly drum.

I, on the other hand, was trying to get over the learning curve. I had no clue how to cast.

Capt. Darryl was very nice and gave me a lesson. As I got the cork to fly farther and farther, he cheered me on like a Little League coach.

“You got it!” “Good job!”

He even hooked a few fish and let me reel them in to get a feel for it. The first keeper was a bass that I got to toss in the boat.

Setting the hook proved difficult. I’d get a bite and then get so excited that I’d just start reeling. On several occasions all three men in the boat actually shouted in unison, “Set the hook!”

Of course, by then it’s too late and the fish is off. Eventually I got better at it, but all the fish I’d seen take my bait and then get off had made me discouraged.

We hit a few different openings in the wall, but it wasn’t long before things slowed down and we moved on to the Cloverly Canal.

Capt. Darryl told us the fish would be in a deep hole after passing through the rocks.

My dad and nephew both caught reds. My popping cork was like the kid sitting alone on the bleachers at the school dance. Nada, nothing, zilch.

Everyone took pity on me, and we moved just a little ways down.

And then it happened. I caught my first redfish.

I didn’t have time to hoot and holler too much: Capt. Darryl unhooked the fish and told me to cast again.

Another red!

I cast again.

Another one!

There would be no more coddling from the boys. I had the most fish dancing in the ice chest and a system that was obviously working.

Everyone caught fish in the Cloverly Canal, but those stupid little eel fish wouldn’t leave us alone. They’d follow the bait to the boat and snatch it away.

Then, at our next spot, we spent time dodging a pesky alligator that was hell-bent on snacking on one of our popping corks.

We moved on to a few more unproductive places, and then settled on a nook in Little Lake. It was here that things got fast and fun.

The fish were attacking our shrimp as soon as they hit the water. We all finished off our redfish limits and called it a day.

My final tally was five redfish, three trout and one bass. I was very happy with that. But next time I’ll try to remember to set the hook more often.

Editor’s Note: Alicia Lafont is editorial assistant for Louisiana Sportsman magazine.

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