Bayou Diversity: We take it for granted

Remember the old song that repeated these words:

“You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone!”

For some reason, those words just keep coming back to me over and over again regarding all that we enjoy here in our life on the bayou.

Nothing drove that point home more than the a 21-year-old college student, who grew up on this bayou, taking my tour yesterday and telling me how much she learned and how much she enjoyed seeing things she had never seen before.

Twenty-one years she lived here.  Her parents are from here.  They own a boat.  And as she so aptly said, “We just take it all for granted.”

And that we do.

With that said, I am taking this morning to put together something for my readers who are having withdrawals.  It seems I’ve been so busy living this life in the wetlands, fishing, and sharing this life with others through tours, that I have no time, energy, or creativity left at the end of the day.

So, thanks for waiting for me and not giving up on me, and here’s what’s been going on.

As I said before, I’ve been fishing, fishing, fishing.  Most people like to chase trout in the hot summer months by going on a rather lengthy boat ride out to the Gulf of Mexico.  Not me.  I’d rather wait for them to come inland to me, which happens around October.  Naturally, that’s mainly what I’ve been doing–searching for trout.

MuzicMan received a gift from me a couple months ago—a gold spoon fishing lure with a note attached :  Comes with one free fishing trip.  He has been ready to collect on that trip for a while.  One recent weekday found us in pursuit of those hard-biting yellow mouths.

Regretfully, the winds did not treat us well that day and would not allow us to fish my favorite fall-winter lake.  We had to stay inland and fish the canals.  Our first spot was full of little bait fish, flashing glints of silver just below the surface.

With all these bait fishing glinting around, why would any self-respecting fish bite what we had to offer?  Metal and plastic!  So, thought me, why not catch some of them and put them on our hooks?

Using the cast net, I caught a few of these menhaden and

a couple of these croakers.  Aren’t they cute?  And to make a long boring story short:  We didn’t catch anything on either.

We moved on to another protected spot, and trolled around until we got a couple nibbles.  In addition to about a dozen trout that were about one eighth of an inch too short to hit the ice box, MuzicMan snagged this baby . . .

a nice little flounder that goes really well full of crab meat and shrimp stuffing.

We were only slightly nervous when this passive observer . . .

slipped silently into the water and lurked beneath us until we left!  We didn’t keep any of the trout we caught, but we had a great time fishing and will go back to that spot in another couple weeks, giving the trout time to grow that much-needed eighth inch.

Now, on to the story of Lake Decade.  All the freshwater that was diverted through here in order to chase away the runaway oil decreased the salinity in this lake causing the old grass beds to reappear.  That posed a slight problem for me, because I am not an old pro at fishing grass beds.  Having a hook get hung up 1000 times on every cast is just not my idea of fishing fun.

While fishing there alone without much luck one day last week, I noticed a veteran fisherman scouting around, not catching much.  Since I wasn’t catching, I decided to follow him when he left the lake, using my GPS just in case he went somewhere I’d never been before.  That decision paid off in multiple ways, as he was headed to an old secret spot of his via a new route. (I am under solemn oath to keep that spot a secret from anyone who owns a boat.  I swear.)

Being the gentlemen that they are, he and his son welcomed me to tie up to their boat at a dead-end and even gave me one of their secret baits that was guaranteed to produce either a trout, a red, or a bass at this location.  I hung onto the bait for later, choosing to start with my own secret weapon under a popping cork.  They fished on one side, while I fished the other.  Three trout later, they were asking what bait I was using!

Meanwhile, this young man was having his own fun reeling in a bass on every cast with his own special lure.  The weather was beautiful, the wind was calm, and after catching about a dozen of those feisty yellow mouths, I headed home, thanking them for their fishing hospitality.

Later that day, I spied Boudreaux and Thibodeaux heading back to their boat shed, so I called them for a Lake Decade fishing report.  They informed me they had found the golden ticket on how to pull trout off those grass beds.  I must note here that B & T have been asking me to fish with them for two years, and for one reason or another, I’ve never been able to go until a few days ago when Boudreaux and I were able to meet up, spur of the moment, to go attack the trout in Lake Decade.

On the ride out in B’s boat, I tied a quarter-ounce led jig head on my line; and once he had the boat situated for our first drift, he handed me the secret bait (which I can’t reveal here seeing as how it’s B & T’s secret weapon).  Boudreaux then reminded me to keep the tip of the rod very, very high in the tops of the grass and to reel in medium slow.  And soon enough, ZIP!, fish on!

We made several more drifts with the SE winds at our back, each time producing a few trout.  Granted, the fish were not stacked up, but at least I was finally catching them.  I’m about to share an observation, and let me make this clear:  I am not complaining.  I’m just sayin’. Seems to me the person at the bow of the boat gets to the fish first, thereby catching more than the person in the back.  Well, at least that’s the excuse I used that day–with Boudreaux outfishing me two to one.  In spite of the increasing number of encroaching boats, we managed to pull nineteen nice trout and three reds off those grass beds in a couple hours.

Lastly, I have another pair of fishing buddies–women–who were itching to feel those yellow mouths tugging on their lines as well.  Since Boudreaux had so generously taken me to school on those grass beds, I wanted to do the same for J.G. and Lulu.  They were happy to let me guide them in their boat.

The location, the secret bait, and the technique worked again, and it wasn’t long before we had a few trout in the boat.

Lulu was really happy with the size of these trout, which were all between thirteen and sixteen inches long.  I pulled in a beautiful eighteen-inch redfish, which Lulu grilled on the half shell for our supper later that night.

Tis the season to be fishing.  All else pretty much falls by the wayside.  And if you’re reading this and you have an empty boat shed close to Lake Decade that you would like to lease (cheap), well, I’m your gal.  Although I can launch BAB by myself, life would be so much sweeter if all I had to do was flip a lever and lower her into the water, jump in, and take off.

So, put that at the top of the Christmas list for your dear old mom–a boat lift on the water.  I don’t ask for much, but when I do, it’s a whopper!

Tight lines,

BW

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Comments

Bayou Diversity: We take it for granted — 7 Comments

  1. Taking it for granted – isn’t that the truth? Sitting here at my desk I can turn my head and look straight across Clear Lake to the Johnson Space Center and NASA. Have I ever taken the tour? Gone to the visitor’s center? Nope. I’m pathetic.

    On the other hand, when I traveled through Mississippi for the Blues festival and came to Louisiana and wrote about it, people who live in those areas said, “Gosh. I’ve never done that” or “I’ve never seen this”. They allowed as how they’ve been taking a good bit for granted, too.

    I suppose it’s the way we’re made. But it’s a habit I’m trying to break!

  2. Any day fishing is a good day, actually catching fish is a bonus. Early Fall and late Spring are my favorite times to fish trout. Heck, anytime I’m wetting a line is my favorite time. The tour was great, I learned something and made a new friend. A boat lift sounds life a great Christmas gift to me.

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