LONG overdue fishing report! As is the season in New Orleans, I had a lot of house guests during the French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest times; over 5 straight weeks of company, in fact. During that time, I was able to make a couple of trips out, but they were all more oriented around taking my various guests out. I did manage to catch some nice fish, but I was really overdue for a solo sight fishing trip. One of the trips I had made a few weeks back had been with my young nephews; we started off fishing for trout out of Breton Sound Marina, but had very little luck there, so we moved to Reggio. Even with two young boys in tow (and one of them in the back of my Kilroy), I was able to quickly pick up some fish, and I mentally filed the spot away to come back to on my own.
SINCE I was really just intent on sight fishing, I slept in a little bit, and launched around 8:30am. Mike at the marina was in a good mood (always good), and there was a good amount of water flowing in the canal right by the marina. I made the paddle out to my spot, and was relieved that for the time being, the wind was low enough to see into the water fairly easily. It wasn't long before I started seeing beautiful reds swimming. In this particular spot, their behavior seems to be to cruise up and down a long stretch of clear water that is surrounded by grass, but doesn't have much grass on the bottom. The dark bottom and clear water makes it a fantastic place to spot fish. I was happy to see that the fish were cruising around pretty actively, which is always a sign to me that they will want to eat. The wind was higher than would be optimal, which meant that I couldn't see as far as I wanted, and that I was drifting faster than I wanted to be. That meant I was coming up on fish really quick, and having very little time to react and cast. I had to clip the paddle into my belt, grab the rod and cast almost in one motion. I missed the first couple, then adjusted and started to have more success. The first fish I hooked was a baby bull in the 28-29" range, and he went right back in the water. The second fish was also a bull, and I started to get worried I wasn't going to get some fish for my (thanks to house guests) sadly fish-free freezer. Shortly after releasing the second fish, I saw a sight that warmed my heart and made my knees a little week - a pod of 6-10 beautiful fish cruising along. Boy, they looked mean, and I'd hate to be a baitfish in their vicinity. Throughout the day I saw what could have been a couple of similar sized pods, or the same pod as it went back and forth up the run of clear water. Twice I was able to pull a fish out, and I set the hook too soon twice. At one point, I saw a group of fish arranged almost in a perfect circle, noses in, almost like dolphins. I can only guess that they had found one of the numerous schools of glass minnows I saw throughout the day, and had them surrounded.
THE WIND picked up around noon, and started making the sight fishing way more difficult. At some point, I started to get a bit of a headache from trying to stare through the turbulent water, so I took a break, had some food and water, and generally recouped my energy. One thing that I have gotten smarter about as I've done more fishing is taking small breaks, and making sure I drink water. Standing up and sight fishing is energy and concentration intensive, and there have a been a few times I started to feel less than great or even dizzy. That sun is no joke. I decided to head further away from the marina and check out a new area, since the wind showed no signs of letting up. I had a few fish in the cooler that I was satisfied with, and I wanted to see if I could find another similar area, with similar conditions. I did find some other areas with clear water, but did not see fish in quite the same numbers as the first spot. I'm still mentally puzzling that one over, but one thing I did not see in the second spot was the vast number of minnows. I did manage to sight cast a couple of fish, but by then, the wind was really howling, and I mostly did a lot of paddling around and mentally noting what I was seeing in terms of water clarity.
OVERALL it was a great trip, despite the wind and intermittent cloudiness making the sight fishing a little tough. I set out to sight fish redfish, and sight fish redfish is what I did. It was admittedly nice to be out there by myself and able to get in the zone. Reggio is a great option when the water is a little bit up, as it was on this trip. It can be a frustrating place to fish when the water level gets really low, but when the water rides up over the grass, it's great. If the wind had stayed low, I think it would have been a pretty epic day, but as it was I landed 6 redfish, lost 2-3 more, and put eyes on quite a few too late to get a cast at. The lure of the day was an inline spinner, with a deep red DOA soft plastic (no paddle tail). Oddly enough, I had a few outright rejections on the gold spoon, which is my usual go-to bait. After I lost a couple on the inline spinner, I thought I'd try the spoon, since it was a little smaller profile, and most of the bait fish were tiny. I put it in front of two fish in a row, with the exact same reaction - immediate bolt away. Again, still puzzling that one out, as they were hitting the inline spinner that also has a flashy gold blade on it. Also tried out just the DOA soft plastic, but had trouble getting them to see it.