Conditions were great for some fishing this past Thursday, and with my wife still home on maternity leave and a busy weekend of work coming up, I jumped on the chance to get out and fish. I haven't really had a chance to fish for trout very much this year, and I considered doing that, but I just can't resist the urge to sight fish on a clear, low wind day. I kept gear pretty minimal, bringing two rods, and only the tackle I use for redfish. I didn't even put the rod holders in my Kilroy - with the open back, I can easily just tuck them back there, or if I'm actively fishing, lean them against the front cover, as you can see in some of the photos.
I started off the day throwing a Delta Lures spinnerbait around the docks and grass edges close to the marina, hoping to find a bass, with no luck. As I paddled down the canal, I passed the local gator, Bruce, who hung tight on the banks and let me pass without any drama. I like to not stress the gators out, so I'll slow down and make sure they know they can chill and don't need to go splashing around.
Not too long after I nosed into the marsh off the canal, I picked up a lonely marsh trout on a Zman Grass Kickerz lure, a new one to me. I thought there might be a few more around, but after a few casts I decided to keep focusing on finding reds and clean water. It became apparent pretty quickly that the spinnerbait and the big soft plastic weren't going to be great lures for the conditions; they were both too flashy and big for the extremely shallow water. I was pleasantly surprised at how well both dealt with the grass, but the redfish weren't going anywhere near either. The next couple of hours consisted of me paddling an area I know well, seeing plenty of fish, spooking a bunch, and working my way through tackle until I settled on a gold spoon as the lure that was going to work well. I caught a couple casting at swirls, and eventually had a couple of good sight casting hook ups as well.
After catching a few fish in the area I know well, and renewing my belief that I did, indeed, actually still know how to catch redfish, I headed out to check out some areas a little further from the launch. One of the reasons I really like paddling the Kilroy in this situation is that I can easily paddle at a good clip standing up, but it's fairly easy to slow down or turn when I see a fish. I can cover a good amount of water standing up and the visual feedback I get on the water clarity, bait and grass situation is very helpful when finding new areas. One of the spots I wanted to check was pretty great, and I found the clearest water of the day, along with some nice sized fish. Again, they were still very spooky and suspicious, but the numbers were such that I could afford to lose a few shots. Days like that are good for practice - you don't get that much better on the days when redfish would eat an old sock if you threw it at them. The weather was so nice, I kept paddling around long past the time I had told myself I would call it for the day, but it was worthwhile to see a few new areas. I had a couple really fun hook ups, including one within feet of the kayak, and a couple of absolute screamers that put up great fights - see the video for two of the fish I managed to capture on video. Somehow I managed to miss all of the actual hooksets on the GoPro, but did manage to capture quite a few busted opportunities, which are also included on the video as a little dose of humble pie. Eventually, I got hungry and tired enough to call it a day, ending up with 11 boated reds, and what seemed like a million refusals, spooks, pulled hooks, etc. All in all, a great day for getting better at figuring out what they want and presenting it the right way. Check out the video for a short recap:
Few more photos:
- Clear Skies
- Little to no wind
- Low water, combination of W wind and low tide
- Fair to poor water quality, better in thick grass areas
- Grass getting much thicker
- Temps were fantastic for this time of year
- Amber/Copper sunglasses are far superior to Gray/Blue for seeing reds in typical Louisiana conditions.
- Tailing/Crawling fish are awesome to see, but present the toughest challenge in terms of getting a lure in front of them without spooking them.
- Biggest mistake of the day: putting a tiny gold spoon (very successful lure) on the stiffer of the two rods I had. Casting accurately was very tough, blew a few opportunities. I knew I should put it on the other one, I just was being lazy about it.
- Super shallow water requires much more careful presentation, from further away. Many of my casts would have worked on a typical day, but these fish wanted to get a chance to see it and check it out. If it just plopped down near them, they were gone.
- Should have brought the fly rod!
(Best to worst)
- 1/8oz gold spoon - tiny gold spoon had great success, closest to crabs reds were feeding on.
- 1/4oz gold spoon - also worked well
- 3/8oz gold spoon - worked well blind casting, not as well sight fishing. Too much splash.
- Texas rigged crawfish - decent, spooked a bunch
- Texas rigged paddletail - decent, spooked a bunch
- Paddletail on slayer weedless jig head - not great. Handled some grass well, not snot grass.
- Spinnerbait, with paddletail or crawfish trailer - nada