|Bayou DuLarge 2001
"El Cunado" and "Mr. 10%" joined me for a morning trip to the Camp in Dularge this Saturday. I can confirm that a heavy fog hung over the lakes until past noon, making travel difficult and wet. You really have to keep your eyes and ears open for the crabbers zipping around the area at full throttle.
I have to thank Capt. Bill Lake for the most excellent tip: he pointed us to a spot WAY WAY back in the marsh, and sure enough , there were some nice specks stacked up there. We tightlined Bayou Chubs to fill a 48 Quart box with 14-18inch specks. I'm not sure how many we caught, but I think it was around 30 fish.
Back at the camp, we cleaned fish and at e some 4 alarm chili that I put together from freezer leftovers. A special "Thanks" goes to my brother, "The Infamous" Coogan for not telling me that he polished off most of the food in the camp! Till Next time, Catchem Up!! Ike.
Yet another fine "He-Man" trip to the camp on Dularge this weekend. I will not labor your tired ears with the litany of excuses from the alleged "he-men" who backed out on me as the trip drew nigh. Suffice it to say that Mr. 10% and veteran Dularger Paul Weg mann laughed aloud as we recounted the "revue of excuses" while we drove West on Highway 90 late Friday evening.
The front that was scheduled to blow through held off until Saturday at sunset, leaving us a whole day of some of the prettiest co nditions I've seen in a long long time. We started off with an early topwater bite at one of my favorite places in Sister Lake. Several drifts yielded about 20 nice fat specks, the largest at 20.5 inches.
As the topwater bite petered out, we turned North into Lake Mechant. The sun burned through the fog, and we caught another half dozen specks over an oyster reef. The water was clear as a bell, and I could see the oysters, as well as puppy drum and sheepsheads scattering at our approach.
We never found any tight concentrations of fish, but we did pick away at them over the course of the morning. Wegmann finally got his mind right after a slow start, and put about a dozen fish in the boat using a rattling cork and grub. His ascent was completed when a 20lb redfish sucked in the grub and beelined south. A twenty minute battle ensued in which a spooled reel was suggested, but not made manifest. Paul expertly fought the fish who tried every trick in the book (i.e. wraps on the trollin g motor and outboard, last minute dashes under the boat, and a final blistering run) in a bid for freedom. Nevertheless, Paul's triumph was complete as he eventually posed for pictures with the redfish on the bow, before releasing the still vital fish to f ight another day.
By the time we hit the dock we had 45 trout and 2 nice reds. McQueen quickly dispatched the trout, and we had a fried food extravagannza as cocktail hour began and the plucky LSU Tigers overcame the loss of their starting QB and RB to win the SEC title.
The next day, we woke to a howling North wind and chilly temperatures. Paul and John took off the explore the Bayou Dufresne area, and I recuperated from the big LSU win on the couch. They returned with a few specks and a nice red, and a report that the cold weather did not push the specks back into the marsh yet. We baked redfish and for the second time shared our home team's victory in Atlanta before McQueen suggested a last topwater trip to Sister Lake. The tide was low, and the fish were scattered. We only coaxed a couple of topwater trout before breaking camp and heading for home. The sheets on my bed never fe lt so good, as I enjoyed a bone-tired deep slumber. Till next time, Catchem if you can. Ike
Yet another wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend was spent down in Dularge. Coogan and I were joined by four lovely ladies at the camp (Sophia, Nicole, Claire, and Maria), and we vigorously partook of feasting, football, fishing, and feasting. (We did a lot of feasting).
Almost four inches of rain fell Thursday night, and we had to make frequent forays to pump out the little boat. Friday mornin g found The Infamous One and myself at our favorite stretch of shoreline on top of large rafts of mullet. Three casts from the Top Dog produced three quality specks, and it seemed like it was on. Coogan got into the act and a dozen 16-18 inch specks wen t into the box. But the action slacked off as the sun and wind rose on Sister Lake. We headed into Bayou Seveur and fished the cuts and intersections, putting another dozen, smaller, fish in the boat.
Saturday was a complete wash. Steadily, the Zephyr howled at 20+ kts., Frothing the waters and sending us for the cover of southern shorelines. We ran all the way to lost lake with no success before consoling ourselves in front of the TV with a smorgasboard of NCAA football. By Sunday morning, the winds had relented and shifted back to the North. We hit our favorite shoreline again, and sure enough, the mullet and big specks were there. Fifteen nice ones (15-19.5 in.) went into the box in two hours of fishing (all on top dogs). I also tangled with a bull redfish who made his presence known with authority before being fought to the boat, photographed, and released to stretch somebody else's line.
As usual, the outstanding company was what made for an excellent holiday weekend at the Camp. The additional bonus of a couple of good fishing expeditions was purely lagniappe. Ike.
"The Infamous" Coogan and I hosted a "He-man" trip to the camp on Dularge this weekend. It is a good thing were joined by "The Honorable" Ex-Coroner of East Ca rrol Parish, because despite seemingly excellent conditions, the trout fishing was in desparate need of an autopsy. Started Saturday morning in Lake Mechant, and we found the bait plentiful in the coves there, despite an armada of boats in the spot we wanted to fish. Instead, we worked top dogs through schools of mullet with good success on redfish. Coogan put one in the box at about 7lbs., and I had one that was as thick as they get on the inside - about 15lbs., which was revived and released after a long fight. Moving South, we found nothing but throw-back specks under the birds. Everywhere we went it was the same story - clean water, gentle breeze, lots of bait, and no fish. We ended up fishing 6 hours Saturday for about a dozen trout and two redfish. We baked the redfish for dinner, and after cocktail hour was over, Mr. 10% joined us for the traditional "He-Man" theater screening of Goodfellas.
Sunday morning, we split up into two boats to cover more ground. This time "The Coroner" and I started in the Bayou Seveur area. After picking up a couple of fish there, we island hopped in Sister Lake with limited success. Baffled by the lack of action in the nearly ideal conditions, we even ran to the coast for a look see. There were a ton of pogies flipping all along the coast, and literally thousands of brown and white pelicans were there crashing them. However, no trout took our topwater offerings in the usual summertime spots. We pushed the boat North again, and finally had some success in in the bayous near Mud lake. We caught about 20 small trout and a couple of redfish near a drain way back in a bayou before we headed back to the camp to watch the Saints game.
I guess the inquest into this weekend revealed a couple of things: We probably should have spent more time either back in the bayous, drifting and working baits near cuts and drains; and we should have stayed near the large schools of mullets we found, bec a use that is where the bigger specks were hanging, even if they were not feeding actively. I think this unusually warm weather had me thinking that the fish would be on the flats, but the only place we found them feeding aggressively in the 30 stops we mad e was in the bayou. Despite having to really work for every fish we caught, we still had a great time, with excellent meals, tasty cocktails, and buffonery with some great friends. Ike
The winds howled this weekend at the Camp on Dularge. "The Infamous" Coogan met Sophia, Claire and me at the landing at noon, and we we spent the afternoon fishing for trout in Bayou Seveur. As bad as the wind was, we still put a dozen trout in the boat using LSU Bayou Chubs bounced on the bottom. The water was surprisingly clear. We ended the day with a nice venison roast and the LSU game on the radio over some cigars and cocktails. Not a bad start, at all.
Sunday was more difficult. The winds roared out of the Northeast in a fury, and Coogan and I bristled as we pushed the boat North to fish the marshes near Deer Bayou. Nevertheless, the trout were not yet in attendance back in the marsh, and we fished our way south along Lake Mechant with limited success. We did put a few fish in the boat under the birds in Mechant, but we kept drifting through the schools because the anchor would not hold. Undeterred, we headed across Bayou Dularge to scout Bayou Seveur from one end to the other. No trout up north, and only sporadic action near Sister Lake.
Windburned and weary, we repaired to the Camp for the worst first half and best second half of football I've ever seen. It's tough not being able to pck your days, as it seems that those fronts just keep on pushing through on Friday before I can get out. I guess the time spent with family and friends fifteen miles from the nearest road is worth it, fish or not. One day, though, I'm gonna time it just right. . . .
I spent the weekend hunting teal in Pecan Island with "Stew Bob" and "Mr. Outdoors." We had received a much envied invite to the duck paradise that is the Section 14 Lodge, and we had the place to ourselves. Unfortunately, there were not too many teal flying this weekend, despite the presence of clear fresh water, lots of feed, and cool weather. We only managed a handful of shots per hunt, and brought a half-dozen birds back to the camp. In consolation, we feasted on venison, wild pig, teal breast, steak, and single-cask scotch as we regaled ourselves with viewings of the entire "Duck Commander" series. It was a memorable weekend with old friends and good food, and great weather.
Made the Friday evening trip to the Camp, and Sophia, Claire, and I were met by "The Infamous" Coogan at the landing. Cool we ather and a gentle breeze prevailed, but we once again had difficulty locating concentrations of fish. Coogan had spent the week on Dularge, and reported that the fish were scattered. I thought I had proved him wrong at first, when we pulled up to "Hand Off Reef" and three casts brought 2 3lb. trout and a 10lb redfish. The action soon slowed to a crawl, however, and we only took about 4 more school trout and another big red the rest of the morning.
Upon Capt. Bill\rquote s advice we fished the North Bayou Seveur area hard, concentrating on the smaller duck ponds in that area, but we only managed two 6lb drum. It could be that the redfish took advantage of the extremely high tides to head back into the marsh grass where w e could not reach them, or at least that's what we told ourselves. The lackluster fishing, accompanied by a suddenly feverish baby, and another squandered chance to upset a top 10 team by the Trojans dulled my desire to fish Sunday, and I spent the day performing camp maintenance.
I must comment on a new acquisition: a 7 foot Castaway light action rod mated to a Shimano Curado 200BSF. This is the smoothest, lightest fishing rig I've ever used. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. I'm looking forward to putting it through its paces this fall on the schoolie specks in Bayou Seveur.
Like removing a band-aid, this report will sting a little, but be brief. Fished Dularge area Sat and Sun. Caught 2 trout. One 1.5 lb. a nd one 4.25 lb (boga grip). Both struck a Top Dog Jr., fished in the lee of a southern shoreline. Winds were steady at SSW 10-15kt. Water was murky everywhere. Tides very high.
A nice weekend all the same. Sophia, Claire, Nicole, and Jeff were good company, and I got some long overdue camp maintenance straightened out. Hope Fall hurries up and gets here. Ike.
"Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! AWWWWW!" was a common refrain for yours truly as I was completely snakebit to begin this weekend. I should not have been allowed to drive the boat, hold the baby, or play with the pointy scissors on Saturday, and I released a cajun anchor, 2 top dogs, numerous speckled trout, and almost a trolling motor to Davy Jones' Locker. Not to be outdone, I murdered 30 live shrimp and 30 finger mullet by providing a dead battery for the aerator!
Saturday was a very tough day at the office for "The Infamous" Coogan, Mr. 10%, and yours truly. Sweet cloudy water in Mechant, Sister Lake and Mud Lake, accompanied with unstable weather and a wind that was making laps around the compass needle made for a long, agonizing day of fishing. We fished hard from 7:00 am until dark with 15 trout to show for the (considerable) effort.
Sunday was a totally different story. We headed to the coast and were greeted by a puff of east wind. We quickly found large schools of mullet al ong the coast, and the trout began smacking the Top Dogs around a bit. Coogan put a nice 21 inch fish in the box that proved to be the rodeo winner, and we caught another 20 fish from 14-17 inches. We hooked up and headed east, and after a couple of unproductive stops, we contemplated a trip to the Island. From Capt. Bill's post it sounds like we made the right decision by staying put. We were flagged down to render aid to a stranded boat, and after giving them a jump, we decided to troll along the coast.
We came across a promising spot, where a pond drained into the sound. We immediately began catching trout on topwaters and dropped anchor. Coogan caught a rare "double dog," when 2 schoolies came aboard on a single TDjr. We found that the nicer fish were holding close to the drain , and we put about 30 more in the box before a 4 foot shark (clearly visible in the 18 inch deep water) put the speck fishing on lockdown. All in all it was a redeeming Sunday trip for your humble narrator. Perhaps helping out the stranded boater was the Karmic turn that was needed. At any rate, it capped off a memorable trip to Bayou Dularge with family and friends.
Mr. Ten Percent, The Infamous Coogan, and myself hit the water at 2:00 am on Saturday morning. We decided to take advantage of the full moon to beat the heat and work some Top Dogs over oyster beds in the moonlight. We were a bit hampered by a low tide, but we did find some nice fish. Coogan kicked off the action with a 22 inch redfish, and McQueen followed up with a 3.5 lb trout. I caught a fat trout who tipped the scales at 4 lbs., and which was released to spawn. That fish was big enough to win the rodeo, and I tool a nice Mullet Top Dog from McQueen's tackle box. We fished our usual spots along the coast, but we eschewed an offshore run to the picketts because we had no live bait, and did not particularly care to fight the numerous boats that swar med out of Grand Bayou Dularge and Bayou Grand Caillou like angry bees. Total count for the morning was 20 trout and one red.
Coogan and I were back at it for an afternoon trip, and we found some smaller fish in the 14-16 inch range feeding in sister lake. We put about a dozen in the box when a boatload of "sight fishermen" idled up to our spot and plunked their anchor in the water, driving both us and the fish away. Coogan put a couple more redfish in the boat along the shore of Lake Mechant.
Back at the Camp it was a wonderful meal of blackened redfish, rum cocktails and Goodfellas on TV. Coogan picked up his buddy Justin from the landing, and we made another moonlight trip to walk the dogs. Fishing was a bit slower than the night befor e, but we still boxed another 20 fish, chipping away at them throughout the morning. I had one UFO try to abscond with a 12 inch mullet I was soaking behind the boat. We never say it or even turned it.
The summertime pattern is now in full swing, with most of the specks being found offshore. We still scratched out a few fish in the lakes, but they were the stragglers, not the school. Be prepared to deal with the high temperatures and keep an eye on the T-storms that pop up along the coast.
"The Infamous" Coogan and I released ourselves on our own recognizance this weekend, and we pointed the boat south across Sister Lake on Saturday morning. A quick survey of the conditions at the passes, and we decided to fish the coast rather than beat ourselves to death offshore. First stop was Grand BDL, and we quickly found a dawn topwater frenzy. The sun gradually rose at our backs, as we stuck the Cajun spear in perfect position to fish a point where we saw baitfish scattering. About 20 nice 1-2lb specks came aboard in 30 minutes of fishing. The fish were very aggressive and smashed the Top Dog Jr's repeatedly on every cast. It was one of those moments that you wait for all week: Cool temperatures, just enough breeze to keep the bugs off , a nice sunrise, and time spent with your brother catching fish.
The bite gradually slowed, and we headed East to fish Pelican Pass. THere were numerous boats all along the coast, and we had trouble finding a spot to ourselves. We picked up about 5 m ore nice specks in Sister Lake on the way home, including a 19 inch beauty that put me in the tournament lead. Sophia, Maria, Claire, and Nicole were waiting back at the camp with a wonderful sphagetti dinner and welcome company. I took Sophia and Maria on an afternoon trip to Lake Mechant and Sister Lake, but the wind had come up, making fishing tough, even with shrimp.
On Sunday Morning Coog an and I got an even earlier start than normal. We went right back to the scene of the crime, and we located the specks on the other side of the point. The fish were even more aggressive than before, and we were well on our way to repeat offender status when Coogan made the mistake of being hooked up just as a 23 foot Wellcraft entered the pass. I guess the opportunity to potlick us despite the fact that we were the only boat within a quarter mile was too great a temptation - he came straight for us, courteously idling his twin Yamaha 200's to within 20 feet of our anchorage. The bite was put on lockdown and ten minutes later both he and us left that spot without any more fish caught.
Luckily, I remembered a nice oyster reef in the old database courtesy of an earlier trip with Mr. 10%. Coogan and I set up on a drift, and we soon located another school of aggressive trout. Once again the sun rose over our shoulders and the wind was at our backs as we ignited a topwater feeding frenzy. 20 more fish came aboard, and Coogan tied the speck tournament before we called it quits and headed for the camp.
All told we caught 50 specks this weekend and 49 came on the Top Dog Jr. (Chartreuse, Bone/Orange, Silver/Black). It was a great time spent with family down in Dularge.
It was my first Father's Day as honoree of that occasion, and it was a wonderful day to be at the camp with Sophia and Claire. As usual, I was joined by Nicole and "The Infamous" Coogan, who had brought Dave "the Quizzler" Diaz down for a weekend of outdoor fun at the camp in Dularge.
It's tough to take the good natured ribbing dished out by Mr. 10%, but truly, I have only a tale of dirty water and missed opportunity to report. Alligators cruised the bayous and shorelines everywhere we went. An evening trip yielded but a 19 inch speck by Coogan in Sister Lake, and the morning trip was even less productive. I have never seen so much bait in the water, but the strikes from predator fish were few and far between. On several occasions, we "snagged" pogies on our jigs as we fished for trout. We switched gears to live bait, but the copious amount of finger mullet that filled the baitwell was insufficient to get things started. We ran 5 miles into the Gulf to an offshore platform, but with a non-existent bite and building seas, we turned around and ran right back. We later received reports that limits of fish came from rigs to the east and west of where we had been. Well, we cleaned and fried the trout we had, did some camp maintenance, entertained Baby Claire, and visited with the smug "Mr. 10%" and his betrothed Sunday afternoon. I will be back next weekend, and hopefully the storyline will be significantly revised by then.
OF "HAND OFF REEF." Our hopes of crashing the STAR leaderboard were seemingly
dashed this Saturday by a timely and courteous call from
Mary Poe, who advised that we would probably be happier
fishing Lake Calcasieu on a day other than this weekend.
But what to do with all this built up anticipation for a
fishing trip? Of course a trip down to South Terrebonne
was in order. By 6pm Saturday, Mr. 10%, "The
Infamous" Coogan and myself were headed down the
bayou with a case of Diet Bud and a 20 piece box of Capt.
Al's finest chicken.
scouting trip yielded three trout by McQueen, who
resorted to a popping cork as Coogan and I worked Top
Dogs. More importantly, we took advantage of the
plentiful bait schools to put about a dozen mullet in the
boat, big ones between 6 and 11 inches. Sunday morning
greeted us with the stiff SW wind that has been pestering
all of Louisiana for weeks, and with a bit of trepidation
we drove the boat South to the passes and Grand BDL. We
found water that looked like chocolate milk and was still
in the process of being befouled by shrimp trawlers.
Brown sharks began circling the boat, the trolling motor
struggled against the wind and tide, and we resigned
ourselves to a difficult morning of fishing.
to put the day to some use by exploring some areas we had
never been. Near Bayou Grand Caillou, we came across an
oyster reef that was protected from the wind, and had
passable water clarity. Our first drift yielded several
nice trout by McQueen, and with his lead in the daily
rodeo strengthened by two 20+ inch specks, he began
mentally browsing through the Ryan Boys' lure
collections. I had some excitement as a redfish crashed
my Top Dog, Jr. on successive casts and came to the boat
after a lengthy battle. The 12\_14lb fish was the first
red I released that day, and I would later follow up with
another slightly smaller one.
just having "one of those days." He casted off
his Top Dog on two occasions, had great difficulty with
backlashes, and had not put a single fish in the boat.
When he finally did hook into a trout, Coogan started to
do his touchdown dance on the 5 yard line, and waved off
the net assistance proffered. Like Don Beebe, that trout
sensed an opportunity to put Coogan in his place by
shaking of as he was lifted toward the boat. Dejected,
Coogan remarked: "I'm sick of fishing!" and he
sulked on the bow.
and I laughed, and we tied on some live bait rigs to soak
those big mullet we had been nursing in the baitwell.
After bringing in a nice red, I put a magnum mullet out
to soak and handed the rod to Coogan, trying to get the
lad back in the game. Predictably, about 20 seconds later
that rod started singing as a big fish took off with the
bait. Coogan was reenergized, and gingerly angled the
fish as it made some blistering runs. "Must be
another big red, " I remarked. But 15 feet out, the
stakes were upped considerably as we saw a long grey body
break the surface. It was a BIG BIG trout. We netted the
fish, which at 25 inches was the biggest any of us had
seen, and was an anomaly for the area. THe fish was
heavily laden with eggs, and Coogan decided to release
her to spawn, without so much as a picture to remember
commemorated the "hand\_off" by refusing to
take one of my lures as a tournament prize, although he
did take one from McQueen. We only put about a dozen fish
in the box, but they were good sized, and it was a
productive exploratory weekend.
Memorial Day 2001 was spent with friends, family, and canine companionions at Paw Paw's Camp on BDL. I wish I could report that the fishing was better, but we found murky water everywhere. We even fished offshore at the Picketts on Sunday, but the water there was like a dark roast coffee. I really can't explain it except that the wind was a little high and the tide was ripping in and out all weekend. Total tally was 2 nice reds and about half a dozen specks. I caught a 3lb speck on a live mullet. The mullet was about 9 inches long, but the speck swallowed him whole head first. Lesson: A big speck can eat a very big mullet! "The Infamous" Dr. Coogan tied the fishing rodeo with a 3lb speck of his own (on a Top Dawg, Jr.). However the fishing highlights were few and far between. Even Mr. 10% was befuddled, and took the day off on Monday, causing Coogan to inquire: "Who are you and what have you done with John?" Coogan and I were introduced to the joys of camp maintenance by having the pressure pump spring a pinhole leak on Sunday night, after we had spent the previous two afternoons painting the roof and cleaning and draining one of the cisterns. We compensated for this by grilling up some wonderful AJ steaks and corn on the cob, and looking ahead to a trip we have planned to fish on Big Lake next weekend. Till next time, catchem up! Ike.