Two weeks had gone by since I'd had a chance to fish, so I went ahead and made a quick trip to Reggio/Delacroix this past Sunday. I needed to be back to play a gig by 2pm, so I left early and was on the water by 6:15. After paddling past quite a few alligators, I got a nice sunrise to start the day. I immediately knew I would be limited in terms of where I could fish, as I could see that the water level was way down, and a lot of areas would be too shallow to paddle. As the sun came up, my heart sank a little bit as I saw the water condition, which was maybe 6" visibility. Not at all great for that area, and not great for sight fishing. To top that off, the wind was quite a bit higher than forecast (imagine that), and my goal of using primarily the fly rod was taken off the menu as well. Well, that's fishing, so I put my head down and did some paddling. I caught two fish casting at swirls and tails, and eventually posted up in an area that creates a natural funnel between two bodies of water, and usually has fish in it. Missed a bite on my soft plastic crawfish, and decided I would switch over to a Zman chatterbait, a brand new (to me) lure in my box. Tied it on, threw out a test cast, said "oh this might work well in this dirty water", cast it out again and watched in horror as it flew off into the distance. Check your leader, dummy! That one hurt, as that is not a cheap lure, and it literally lasted ONE cast. At this point I was a little frustrated by the conditions and technical issues, so I grabbed a bite and some water, and sat down to enjoy the scenery for a minute. That is a technique I have to employ sometimes to get my head back on straight and get back to fishing intelligently. I decided that I had seen enough of the area I was in and wanted to head over to find some water that was more protected from the N wind. My main concern was making sure I found a route through the marsh that didn't involve me getting stuck in the mud. I was constantly bottoming out throughout the day, and the wind can help push you into places that can be hard to get out of. I had a very miserable experience pushing my kayak through about 100 yards of chest deep marsh mud at one point, and that is always in the back of my mind. In any case, I found a route through the slightly deeper channels of the marsh, and eventually found a grass line that had some fish on it. I caught fish numbers 3 and 4 there, and decided it was time to switch back to the fly rod since the wind had laid down. I had a couple of good shots at fish, but no takers on either a spoon fly or a mouse fly I found in Alaska, and it was time to get out of the heat and back to the city for work. All in all, 4 redfish in a morning trip isn't too bad, but I sure do wish the fishing was like it was last year in July. It doesn't seem like the grass has thickened up as much, nor has the wind laid down enough to create the super clear water we enjoyed last year. I'm craving a few great days of sight fishing pretty bad, but just haven't had it this year. I did have a few cool wildlife sightings, including two pretty big catfish and a couple of very sleepy alligators in extremely shallow water (all in the video above). Not a bad trip, I'll take it!
Edit: I almost forgot the scariest part of the trip - on the way home my front tie-down popped off, and I pulled over to fix it. I needed to turn around in someone's driveway, and as I did, the tie-down (still attached to nose of kayak, which sits on its side on top of the car) got wrapped on my front tire. I heard and felt a very not good sound, stopped, got out and saw my precious Kilroy with the whole front end bent at least 15 degrees... My heart skipped a beat, but it seemed to recover once I freed it, and shows no visible signs of permanent damage.