Maiden Fishing Charter of BAB, the Carolina Skiff!

It promised to be a beautiful day with a northeast wind of about six knots, enough cloud cover to keep us from scorching, and only a brief shower on our way out just before daylight.

Speckled trout were our first target of the morning, so we headed toward the Gulf coast in hopes of catching them feeding on bait fish and shrimp as the tide fell from the marshes into the bayous and channels.  As we crossed Sister Lake, we kept a vigilant watch for flocks of seagulls feeding on surface shrimp, knowing that the trout would be doing the same from below the surface of the water.  Seeing no big collections of birds feeding, we continued our journey down Bayou Grand Caillou to the coast.

Having scouted a couple times last week and finding schools of small trout, I was hoping we would find large concentrations of trout feeding at daybreak.  At our first stop, we joined the diving gulls as they enjoyed their breakfast of fish and shrimp.

We got on the edge of a huge school of hungry white and juvenile speckled trout.  As fast as the double-rigged lines hit the water, the trout inhaled them and were reeled in only to be released to grow to keeper size.  There was such a feeding frenzy going on, that tending to my fishing clients kept me hopping, making it nearly impossible to take photos, but here is a shot of the youngest in the crew–an excited eight-year old I dubbed “L.J.”.

The Chemist kept his position on the stern of the boat and hardly said a word as he caught numbers of small trout and threw them back.  Once I was able to talk with him, he revealed to me that he is a fly fisherman and conservationist and practices catch and release only.  Well, that worked great, because there were very few keepers in the crowd.

Then there was Big T.O., whom I jokingly nick named Foghorn Leghorn.  Once I built up the courage to tell him that is who he reminded me of, we were not lacking for entertainment.  He kept us in stitches pretty much the whole trip after that!  What a great guy to have on board–never a dull moment with Big T.O. around.  He helped keep L.J. occupied, too, which was a plus when I was busy elsewhere.

We drifted out into the bay and fished under another flock of birds with no results and then returned to the inlet where we first started fishing.  This time, we anchored between two points and soon enough the fish were back feeding again.  At one point, no one was even casting–just dropping the double-rigged hooks down beside the boat and jerking up two trout at a time. L. J. was having a blast, and I was having a blast watching him.

But before everyone had their fill of the feisty juvenile trout, a big shrimp boat idled into the little bayou with us and anchored about a hundred yards away.  It seemed as though the sound of the engine’s hum scared away the shrimp, bait fish, and trout.  Just like someone had flipped the “off” switch, the bite turned off, and that is no exaggeration.

Our next and final stop brought us to the mouth of Bayou Grand Caillou where we anchored in the deepwater to soak some small blue crab on bottom in search of bull reds, black drum, and sheephead.  Even though gafftopsail catfish are a slimy nuisance, and we don’t keep them, they do put up a good fight, making them fun to catch. We NEVER NET A CATFISH, because they, especially gafftop, exude a sticky slime that coats everything.  To avoid the slime, they are removed at the gunwhale and dropped back into the water quickly.  The other reason we don’t net them or handle them is because of a poisonous spine on the dorsal fin.  A prick from that fin can send a nasty infection down to the bone and you to the hospital.  They are nothing to mess with. The Chemist caught so many hardhead catfish that he soon got the nick name Catfish Bob, but he was a good sport about it.  I got the impression that as long as he was fishing, he was happy!

Fishing on anchor got a little boring for L.J., and he really wasn’t interested in the slow action of fishing on the bottom and waiting for a bite.  He changed his mind, though, when Foghorn or Catfish Bob hooked a big fish and then handed him the rod so he could practice his “deep-sea reeling skills”!  And boy did he have it going on!  We shouted the cadence for him until he got the rhythm:

“Puuuuul, reeluptheslack, puuuuuul, reeluptheslack”, over and over until he had the big fish to the side of the boat.

After a while of doing that, he asked me if he might have his own rig, so I chose a medium-action rod, with 12-pound test line, and a one-ounce-weight Carolina rig baited with half a small crab and then cast it out behind the boat for him.  I then gave him a quick lesson on how to watch the tip for action or how to feel for a bite.  He preferred to watch the tip and soon set the hook on his first fish.  It was a hardhead catfish, as were the next two fish he caught, but he had his technique down and could easily set the hook and reel in his catch solo.

His third bite found him shouting, “It’s a bull red!  It’s a bull red!  I just know it’s a bull red!”  We all stopped what we were doing to watch this little fisherman give it all he had.  Five men in a nearby boat even stopped what they were doing to watch L.J. land his big catch.

He reeled and reeled, and when he grew tired, the fish peeled off more line, diving down to the bottom while L.J.  rested before reeling again.  I don’t know how much time it took, but he battled the fish without complaint, and there was no way he was letting that fish get away from him.

This little guy’s endurance paid off with the biggest fish of the day . . .

a black drum almost as big as he was.  I’ve never heard as much whooping and hollering as when this young man landed his big fish.  It was a long, hard fight and because the fish was showing signs of stress, we quickly snapped the pics and returned him to the water so he could live to tell the story of the little boy who caught him and let him go.

We didn’t have time to measure or weigh this huge fish; but you can see from the photo how long it was, and the man holding the gaff said it seemed to weigh between 30 and 40 pounds.

BAB and I were third boat in a three-boat, twelve-man charter.  She handled well, took the seas well, drifted well in the NE winds, and there was plenty or room to move around and tend to my fishing customers. These guys were a great bunch to fish with, and I hope they had as great a time fishing as I did guiding them.

If you haven’t been out fishing for a while, what are you waiting for? The weather is cooling off and the fish are biting.

The first of many fall fishing reports,

BW

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Comments

Maiden Fishing Charter of BAB, the Carolina Skiff! — 36 Comments

  1. Awesome,it’s always great to watch the little ones catch a nice fish,makes me want to break out my rods as this is a great time to trout fish here too.

    We had 3 inches of rain here at daylight along with thunder and lightening.

  2. Really enjoy your stories and thank you for keeping us updated on the happenings on the bayou.I fish quite a bit in Galveston and almost every time I have my neighbors’ kids with me on the boat.They range in age from 8 to 18,their Dad started fishing with me over 50 yrs ago,I still get a kick out of watching the little ones catch that first fish of the day.I am so glad the maiden charter went well for you and your guest. Good fishing ,new friends,make for a joyful heart.

  3. Blu has an LJ too. Guy about 30 years old 6’6″ 325lb.
    I been teaching him sacaulait and flyfishing.
    If he gets to Loozy everybody going to need a bigger boat.

    Nice trip.

  4. Wow on the fish LJ caught! I’ll bet he was excited. The name LJ brings back memories for me also. One of my students quite a few years back was named LJ. Sounds like you had a great first charter.

  5. What a wonderful day, BW! I swear to goodness I’m going to have to give in and let you turn me into a fisherwoman! It’s just not right to be able to count the fish you’ve caught in your life on … one… hand… Well, maybe two.

    You may not have gotten an many pics as you’d like, but your words sure made up for their absence!

    • Yep, I can just see you out there with me on the back seat of the boat, our lines drifting out to the Gulf with the falling tide, a big drum swallowing your hook and nearly pulling you overboard. I’ll put my finger in your belt loop like I did with L.J. to keep the big fish from pulling you in!!! It will be fun! When you coming!

  6. This is one trip no one on your boat will ever forget. A Capt. in her new boat, a proud daddy and a little boy with a wonderful memory. I should say, “That’s one beaut of a fish”…but Black Drums are ugly! They do put a good fight though and the smaller ones taste good too.

    • I have to agree with you, Steffi. Though it would have been nice to fill the chest with keeper trout, they didn’t care about that. They were just there for the sheer enjoyment. They came from Houston, French Settlement, and LaPlace to relax and unwind.

    • Oh, Cammy, it was a hoot! He was shouting and talking the whole time. We had to make him take little breaks from reeling so he could run the whole race with that fish. He did an amazing job for a little boy. Reminded me of Termite at that age . . . .

  7. I don’t know about Theriot, its its was a beautiful day here yesterday, and today seems to be the same.

    Catch and release…… Phfft! Use brim hooks and if they are big enough to bite it, the are big enough to eat.

  8. Wow! Look at that fish! I’m sure that’s a memory he will have for many many years. It’s absolutely beautiful weather here in Oklahoma. Too bad it’s football season and fishing is behind us. 🙁

      • They aren’t turning yet. It’s still warm here. We’ve had one or two cool days but in the high 80’s for the most part. It’s been an Indian Summer for sure.

  9. Foghorn here. My last two charter trips have included the same kind of experience. A young man reeling in monster fish. I didn’t take one ounce of fish home with me either trip but went home totally satisfied helping these two young men enjoy themselves.
    It is amazing how accurately Captain Wendy recalled our entire experience.
    I promise to bring my three children down soon for our own family experience.
    I can find fish anywhere but you gave us much more than that.

  10. Darn, I wish we were closer! I would love to go out on BAB with you. Unfortunately, I can’t ride the far without a lot of pain. But, it sure would be fun.

    The last good fish I caught was a big mouth bass that was almost as long as my arm. Broke the line just as I got it into the cattails and moss at the edge of the lake and my BIL jumped down and kicked it onto the bank!! What a memory. Sure was tasty too!

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