2015-05-20 Shell Beach Report

Launch - Campos   

Tide - Strong incoming.  1.9 range.

Water temp?

Wind - SE

I was debating between launching at BSM and hitting the dam, then Lena Lagoon, or launching at Campos and hitting the fort/navy base then marsh. Opted for the latter. Incoming tide all day, good water level. Started at the navy base pilings, paddled across to the mouth of Douluts, from there went into the marsh, popped out back by the mouth of Douluts at the MRGO and back to the marina. Low winds made it possible to stand for much of the time in the marsh, and it was great to see all the bait fish, mullet, gar, reds, black drum, etc swimming around. Most life I've ever been able to physically see in the water. The water was moving the whole day.

The good - beautiful day with manageable winds. Found some new bits of marsh that are very nice, with natural channels running through them, areas of clean water etc. Eventually found a good spot and caught a limit of redfish. Gained a little bit of confidence in blind casting to likely spots, and caught a few on the Mirrolure Catch 2000, which is a fun lure to throw. If I remember correctly, I caught 3 of the fish on a Redfish Magic spinnerbait, and 2 on the Mirrolure. The bite was funny, because they were following it for a while, eating it, and swimming in the same direction (towards me), which made setting the hook a little dubious. I lost 2-3 that shook the Mirrolure. The fish were in an area that connected two sections of marsh, in a channel with moving water that was probably bringing them easy food. The water wasn't extremely clean, but that is probably why the noisy Mirrolure and the spinner were working. Sometimes I think the spinner is to flashy in cleaner water. It was clean compared to a lot of water I've seen recently.  Also good - the sandwiches at the Last Stop on the way out of there. They make a mean sandwich.

The bad - the fort, as well as the pilings by the navy base and the pilings at the mouth of Doulut's was DEAD. There was one boat sitting on a slow trout bite at a particular piling. We were throwing the same thing (shrimp under cork and on bottom) as he was, and getting nothing. Caught one undersize trout, had a few nibbles that felt like sheepshead, and that was it. The current was really moving with the tide, the wind was low, and we were out there early, so I was hoping for a better trout bite. Wasted far too long there, something that I am trying to get better at. I've had lots of success there in the past, so I kept hanging on and thinking something would develop. Need to get better at moving on. Same situation at the pilings at the mouth of Douluts. One boat pulled up and rather rudely got in front of the guy I was fishing with, pulled in a 3-4 pound trout, and that was it for them there. That was rather maddening. Not my favorite type of boater, tried to make some conversation, got blown off. Whatever. Ha ha, I almost forgot one of the bad items - a weirdo boater at the launch that literally stared at us the entire time we were rigging up to launch, while slowly eating a lollipop. Not the most comforting image at 6am.

The ugly - didn't bring enough water. In this transition period to the hot days, I encourage everyone, myself most definitely included, to bring more than you think you need. We stayed out later than planned, and I was getting that dehydration headache by the end. Re-hydrated pretty quickly and all was well, but if any problem presented itself out there or we got lost (possible in that marsh), it would have been problematic.

All in all, successful day. Running around in a new spot is probably my favorite part of kayak fishing. The marsh around there is very different from other spots in St. Bernard. Felt like I needed a change from Delacroix/Reggio. It's a longer paddle, and maybe the fishing is less guaranteed, but I like seeing new terrain. There is a ton of marsh to explore between Shell Beach and Lena Lagoon, if you're up for a healthy paddle. At the moment I'm wondering how that the water levels in that area react when a N wind blows the water out of Delacroix and Reggio. It might do better, since it has the lake sitting right above it.