Fall Fish Tales

The past month has pretty much been a fishing dream!  I’ve fished four times and have another trip planned this Tuesday with Dotter and MuzicMan, meaning I will have fished with almost all of my children and their significant others in a month’s time!  

I also made a couple solo trips, which I haven’t done in a long time, and it reminded me of the simpler days when I started this blog back in 2007.  Life was just more conducive to my taking off at a moment’s notice back then.  Life has just become more complicated in the past six years or so.  So getting away by myself is like a healing balm for my soul, and the weather has been absolutely primo.

My first fall trip was a short trip with my oldest son, David, and his friend, Cammy.  We didn’t go far because it was late in the day; but again, any day spent on the water is a good day for me.  The tiny fish below with the pretty light blue strip on it’s anal fin was a new fish for us, and it took me a while to identify it.  Turns out, it’s a “pinfish” from the Gulf of Mexico.  Its presence in a brackish marsh is an indication of higher-than-normal salinity levels due to all the high incoming tides we’ve experienced this fall and lack of rainfall.  David caught the pinfish on a dead shrimp and threw it back, of course.  It is the cousin of a fish called a “sea bream” if you fish nerds would like to look it up.

How about a little video sampling of our trip?  

The next trip was with my second-oldest son, Capt. Dan, his sweet wife, Britt, and my youngest son, Termite.  Again, it was a gorgeous morning with a sky-full of promise surrounding us as we rode out at daybreak.  At our first stop, we caught nice speckled trout, with Dan landing a bright and shiny red fish, too.
dan-red-blog

Our second stop gave up more nice speckled trout, along with Termite landing a HUGE red fish. Notice the difference in coloring from the one that Dan caught. 
seth-big-red

The final fish tally was two nice reds and 25 nice trout.  We had such a great time, fishing, laughing, and just goofing off.  Ah, life doesn’t get much better, friends.  So, here’s a fun little video from our trip:

Then two days a-running, I hopped in the boat and took off by myself to scout Lake Decade, to see if the speckled trout had migrated all the way in.  Well, they haven’t, but it didn’t stop me from trying. Not finding any trout in the lake, I headed southwest to return to where we caught so many fish our previous trip.  Along the way, I noticed flocks of gulls diving in Bayou Decade and feeding on shrimp that were popping the surface everywhere.  I managed to snag a beautiful trout while it was gorging on live shrimp.  Sorry, no photo, but all specks look pretty much the same!

lake-decade-sunrise-blogThe next morning, I headed out alone again and intended to go straight to the trout hole to the southwest, but as I entered Bayou Decade, I noticed that the gulls were once again diving for shrimp, but the tide wasn’t falling nearly as hard as 24 hours before.  I shut off the engine, grabbed my pole, and cast in the same place as the morning before, expecting to haul in a few trout as I drifted.

Much to my surprise, the cast landed a nice little bass, instead of a trout, while a snowy egret watched from a nearby dock. My second cast produced another little bass.

As much as I like catching bass, that wasn’t my target fish, so I put my pole back in the holder and cranked the engine to head southwest to chase the specks.  Much to my dismay, the engine cranked and cranked but would not “catch”.  Fortunately, the wind pushed me right up against the dock where the egret was standing, and I tied off to see what the problem might be.  It seemed as though the engine wasn’t getting fuel, so I went through my checklist of possible causes and even checked the “kill switch” and tried again.  Still wouldn’t start.  As I walked back to the engine to check the fuel lines, my camp neighbors passed by headed to the same lake I was destined for.  I waved and hollered, but they didn’t see me, so I sent them a text telling them where I had broken down so they could either help me or tow me in on their way back.  

They called me back asking what the problem was–right about the time I discovered a small leak at the juncture of the incoming fuel line to the water-separator filter.  I told them I thought I’d found the problem, but if I couldn’t fix it, I’d just sit there and fish for bass until they finished their speck fishing trip.  I grabbed my tool box to find that both my knife and my flat-head screwdriver were MIA.  

Big sigh and note to self:  FIND ALL YOUR TOOLS and put them BACK IN THE BOAT and threaten all my sons, upon pain of death, they shall not remove any tools from my boat!!!

If I had been a Girl Scout, at this point, I would say that my Girl Scout training had kicked in. Instead, I will say again that necessity is the mother of invention, so I grabbed my fishing clippers and pulled out the little side-knife attachment to use as a make-shift screwdriver to loosen the hose clamp.  Once I had the clamp out of the way, I was able to see that the fuel line had dry rotted beneath the clamp. Grabbing my needle-nose pliers, I pulled the rotted hose off the fitting.  Then, using my cutting pliers, which by a big stroke of luck, were still in the tool box, I cut off the torn end of the hose as straight as I could with such a crude implement (instead of a sharp knife).  I placed the hose back on the fitting, tightened the clamp, and said a prayer. 

Since all the fuel lines had lost prime, I pumped the primer bulb and put the throttle in the cold start position and turned the key.  VAROOM!!!!!   Yes!  Yes!  It worked!  I turned off the key and cranked it up again.  Success! She started right up a second time, so I tried it once more; and, once again, she cranked right up.  Then the mental tug-of-war ensued: “Should I head out to the saltwater?  Or should I head back in case it’s something more serious?”  Oh, woe is me, what should I do?

I opted to head back to the landing and borrow a sharp knife and flat-head screwdriver in order to make a clean cut and a proper repair.  As I docked, a nice man greeted me.  “How ya doin’?  Hey, are you a fishing guide?  You look familiar. I think I’ve seen you on TV.  Are you in a hurry?  I have a crabbing boat just like yours, but my engine broke down back in the marina, and I need somebody to tow my boat over here so I can put it on the trailer.  Think you can help me?”

I replied, “Fine.  Yes.  You may have.  No, I’m not in a hurry, but I need a couple tools in order to repair this fuel line first.  You got a sharp knife and a flat-head?”  I mean, how could I refuse to help someone when just half an hour before I avoided needing to be towed in myself?

He grabbed his tools, hopped in my boat, took a look at my repair job and said it looked fine to him.  After assuring him the engine cranked and ran just fine on the 15-minute boat ride back, I told him to hop in and lead me to his boat, where he tied his boat behind mine.  I towed him and his boat back to the landing.  Easy peasy.  His name is Rick, and he lives in Norco, but he’s been crabbing the waters of this area for over 20 years.  Now, Rick and I are best buds, and I see a bushel of blue crab in my future!  I told him I’m known as the Bayou Woman, but I’m not sure Rick is an internet user.  Regardless, I hope we are able to reconnect again some day. I’m reminded to do unto others, because you just never know . . . . .

Of course, no fishing trip of mine would be complete without some bird photos.  I came across these cormorants hanging out on pilings on Lake Decade, enjoying the day as much as I was.

lake-decade-cormorants-3-blog

I’ve put the rest of the images in a little video for you.  I hope you enjoy it!  Rick is the fellow waving from his boat at the landing.  

We’ve had a little cool snap this weekend, so I hope it bodes well for fishing on Tuesday. Dotter hasn’t fished with me in forever, like, maybe never; and MuzicMan is way overdue for a good trip.  May the fishing gods and goddesses be with us and the beautiful weather continue.

It’s been great fall fishing so far, and I’m looking forward to much, much more.  For my sons, duck season is just around the corner, so we’ll be plucking ducks and trying out new recipes.

PS  I can’t help but think that Blufloyd would’ve enjoyed this fishing post very much, in spite of the birds. For those of you who are new here, Blufloyd was a diehard fisherman from the Chicagoland area and a dedicated follower of this blog.  He even came down to fish a couple of times.  May he rest in Fishing Peace.  

Until next time, enjoy this weather and find something that makes you happy!

BW

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Comments

Fall Fish Tales — 11 Comments

  1. Love the videos. That first one made me actually feel the mist of the water as the boat cut thru it. And the smell of the bayou is something I still remember from out trips thru LA when I was about 11 or 12. Can’t believe how big Termite has gotten. You are truly blessed with your boys.

    If you fry up some of that fish, eat a bit for me. I have been craving some good, home caught, home cooked fish for several months. We went to visit family in east Texas yesterday that always have fresh fish in the freezer. Unfortunately, we just missed them. The fishermans wife freezes the fresh, cleaned fish in fish fry amounts in plastic buckets filled with fresh water. Never any freezer burn and always taste fresh caught.

  2. What a neat post. I’ve heard a lot of grumping among fishermen over here about high water, a significant trout absence, etc. etc. But, it seems as though things are beginning to settle, and cooler weather’s on the way.

    Here’s something that will tickle you. I had to make use of the computers at the Malvern, Arkansas library at the beginning of my trip. (My laptop wouldn’t connect to wifi. I finally sorted the problem, but it wasn’t exactly mine. No one’s computer running Vista is going to connect the certain hotel wifi setups.) Anyway. At the Malvern library, you can check out rods and reels for a week. If you don’t get them back on time, there is a dollar fine per day, but still — what a deal. I just laughed at laughed. I’ve never seen such a thing, but apparently it’s common in at least parts of Arkansas. There were posters on the wall.

    That is a Blu comment. I nearly died myself. Are we sure he hasn’t come back?

    • Oh, now, this is definitely a new one on me. I’ll have to ask my cousin who lives near Rogers if her library does the same. I guess it’s because of all the great stream and lake fishing up there. Do you know if they loan out fly rods, too? Or just regular? Doesn’t matter, as this is an absolutely novel idea. Thanks for sharing this very entertaining tidbit!!!

      Oh, and the Blufloyd comment is spot on for his old antics . . . . and just a little ghostly . . . .

    • Jeri, I’m sorry to hear you mention fishing in the past tense. It’s so therapeutic for me. It’s not actually the fishing, as much as it is just being out on the water, out in nature, listening, observing. While I was broken down, so many boats went by me–the drivers not even looking right or left at the sights. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that I’m behind the wheel and need to pay attention to where I’m going. I’m sure folks around here think I’m strange, because I can often be seen with my camera in one hand taking photos, while I steer at idle speed! I’ve also been known to have a rod in one hand and my camera in the other. I just don’t know how not to enjoy everything around me while I’m out there. You are welcome for the memories, and I hope they are fond ones and don’t make you sad. BW

      • Hubby just doesn’t get that being on the water is therapeutic for me also. If he hasn’t caught a fish within 30 minutes, he’s ready to pack it in. I think fish in the box is a bonus for having had a full day being on the water.
        So glad you were able to get out there with your family. Did y’all have a “fry”?

        • Fishing for men is kind of like shopping. Go, find it, get out. Same with a fishing spot. Stop, cast a few times, move on. I’d rather be like the tortoise than the hare while fishing. So, I get it! We didn’t have a fry, because after all the fish were cleaned, bagged, and parceled out between us, the boys had to launch the mudboat, cut rozos, and go build a duck blind. By the time they got back, it was just too late! You now what else brings me great joy? The two days I fished alone and only caught a few fish, I found someone fishing on the bank and asked them if they wanted a few fresh fish, and that just makes people SO happy when you share the bounty with them. I mean, part of it is because I just enjoy being out there but I must confess that cleaning two fish isn’t really worth the time and effort, so I’m happy to share!!

          • Hubby is bringing me fishing Tuesday! Either to DeCade or Point-aux-Chene.
            Any bait recommendations? I’d like to catch fish, but I’ll be happy just being on the water!

            • The trout we’ve caught have been on a shiny white colored Vortex plastic bait, but any clear, white, shiny plastic with a yellow tail on a plain gray jighead should work fine!! Good luck!

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