Fishing with the Gu of the Du

The Houma Area Convention Visitors Bureau (CVB) put together a fantastic fishing trip for members of the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association (LOWA) as part of their annual conference, held in Houma, LA this past weekend.  As a member of LOWA and conference attendee, I was fortunate to be part of that fishing adventure.

Our guide for the morning was Captain Bill Lake, owner of Bayou Guide Service.  Fishing is his game, and the waters of the Bayou DuLarge area are where he works his magic.  Local fishermen have respectfully nicknamed him The Guru of DuLarge; hence, the moniker, The Gu of the Du.  Also on the boat were Lyle Johnson, LOWA President and an award-winning outdoor writer, photographer, and videographer; along with Chris Holmes, Ex. Director of LOWA, avid kayak fisherman, writer, and photographer.

With the winds predicted at 5 mph and variable, Capt. Lake planned a trip for us to Raccoon Island, part of Louisiana’s old barrier island chain, once known as Last Island or Isle Derniere.  Nice-sized rolling waves met us as we reached the shores of Caillou Bay–with winds higher than predicted.  Capt. Bill commented that he wished that short, little weatherman could be on the boat with us at that moment.

But the plan was laid, so off we headed into the rough seas toward Coon Point, the western end of the island, in search of schools of big bull reds the good captain had seen earlier in the week.  As day broke, we found our spot on the Gulf side of the point, anchored, and tried our luck.

The big reels were quickly baited with blue crab, their shells cast off into the Coke-bottle-colored waters.

“Ladies first!” exclaimed Captain Bill, as he handed me the heavy-duty rod.  That blue crab barely hit the sandy bottom before the rod tip twitched, evidence of a hungry red chowing down.  A strong, steady pull on the line assured me my prey had swallowed the bait, and it was time to set the hook.

To avoid pulling the hook and bait out of the fish’s mouth, I jerked to the side to set the hook.  Once the hook was set, the rod bent with the weight of the fish.  My partners cast out their lines as the big red continued to spool line off my reel.  Within seconds, shouts of “fish on” resounded from our boat, producing a rare triple-red-fish hookup!

Triple Bull-red hookup
Lyle, Wendy, and Chris do the Bull-Red Shuffle

The big reds swam hard away from the boat, zipping line off our reels as they went.   Each time a fish changed directions , we had to swap places in the boat to keep up with our respective fish.  Rods went up, as we went under, over, and around each other until the fish tired out, choreographing what we dubbed “The Bull Red Shuffle”.

Lyle Johnson with his beg red
Chris Holmes with another nice red

Both the other anglers netted and photographed their fish before mine grew weary enough to be landed.

Capt. Wendy (aka Bayou Woman) and 34-pound red

As the fish and I battled it out, the muscles in my upper arms began to swell like I had been lifting weights for hours.  It’s hard to believe the strength of these brutes.  At some point, there might have been some doubt among my fishing buddies (including those in the nearby boats) who might win this battle of brawn.

The fish finally submitted to the will of the fisher-woman, and a beautiful 34-pound red drum was the reward.  After ample photos were taken, the fish was gently released back into the warm, salty waters of the Gulf of Mexico, to hopefully reproduce for many years to come.

The school of mighty reds continued to feed while gulls dove, snacking on the jumping shrimp for their breakfasts.  It is no exaggeration to say we caught bull reds until we were worn out.  But when Capt. Bill asked us if we were ready to pull up anchor and target the speckled trout, we dug down deep inside and managed to find some reserve energy.  The time?  A mere 7:30 a.m.

We motored to the east, on the Gulf side of the island where the captain chose a productive-looking cove.  He cut the engine and let the wind push us into the cove while he prepared our double rigs, which he baited with plastics–LSU-colored and Cajun-Pepper chub minnows.

With the wind at our backs, we cast toward an eddy flowing around a group of rocks resulting in a steady bite.  We hauled in keeper specks, juvenile specks, and white trout of all sizes, two- a-at-a-time on the chartreuse jig heads.  Chris even caught a blue fish and a black mullet.  We were near a large rookery, home to brown pelicans, terns, gulls and others.  Their incessant squawking kept us company as we fished.  Near the shoreline, brown pelicans dove ungracefully into schools of mullet, swimming in the tepid shallows.

Just as the bite slowed down, Capt. Bill received a radio call from a boat in his fleet saying they had gotten a tip that the birds were diving into vast schools of speckled trout at an island farther east.  Since we were already so far out, we agreed to go for it.  After a choppy 15-minute boat ride, we were greeted with great flocks of hungry gulls, diving for shrimp.

Capt. Wendy with double-rig trout hookup

This time, the waters teemed with spotted sea trout (speckled trout) chasing the jumping shrimp.  Lyle and Chris tried other baits, while I continued with the Cajun Pepper minnow-like plastic.  The bait produced great results for me, sometimes hauling in cookie-cutter trout that quickly hit the box, with an occasional sow trout thrown in.

Capt. Wendy with nice speckled trout

Capt. Bill, an accomplished guide, knew just when to stay put and when to pull up anchor and follow the school.  He kept us on the trout continuously, with each of us putting limits of keeper trout in the box.  With the ice chest bulging, the lid barely closing, we called it a day and headed inland.  The time:  11:00 a.m.

Joe Macalouso (right) interviewing Capt. Bill Lake

Noon-time found us back at the captain’s landing, swapping fish stories and taking more pictures.  Some of the TV guys pulled out their video equipment and filmed segments for upcoming shows.

Capt. Bill Lake and a beautiful red

It was great being on the receiving end of such a successful fishing trip.  Capt. Bill is indeed the fishing guru of  DuLarge, and his twenty years of fishing experience are definitely evident.  He generously passed along some of his tips, which I personally filed away and plan to implement in my own charters.  My fishing hat is off to Capt. Bill, and now I know first hand why he is called The Gu of the Du.

Until next time,


Post Script:  Most of these photos were provided courtesy of Capt. Bill.  He’s a great photographer, as well.

If you live in Louisiana and would like to see footage of the fishing trip and the conference, please watch for future episodes of “Paradise Louisiana” starting this Thursday night.  If you would be so kind. could someone record it for me, please? 

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  1. Spiffy. I am going to third shift next week and can’t wait to hit the water every morning. I got me some yakking to do.

    35 pound reds??? I’ll just watch thank you.

  2. I was impressed with Tar Babies bull till I saw two pictures down. Any bigger and you’ll need a boat winch to land ’em.

    Looks like fun.

    1. I almost needed a winch, Goldie! I think that was the hardest time I’ve ever had hauling in a fish. Way more work than the 30.5 pound black drum I hauled in a couple years ago. It was fun, though. We literally wore ourselves out catching those big fish and throwing them back.

  3. WOW WOW WOW what a trip I’m sooooooo jealous! Glad You had such a great day!!! fine Bull red too! Braggin rights for that one for sure!!!

  4. My gosh! Fifteen or twenty minutes? You rock, girl! What a wonderful day you had. Prepare for more people on your waters, though. There’s not much left over here for fish to live in!

  5. SORRY!!!!!!!!!!!!! My DVD recorder is NOT working! I’ll try again Sunday! I think it will be airing the same show.

    1. So, Blu, you have earned the job of resident IT geek. If DVD is last century, what is VHS? Well, I went to the site. Thanks for thinking to look up their link . . . since Termite keeps stealing my speakers, I never think to look up shows on my computer. Looks like the show will be uploaded to the site after it airs a couple times. That’s good. I can wait to see myself doing the twist at the Friday night social as part of the conference.

  6. That red fishing looks like a lot of fun, we will have to try that again! Jason isn’t coaching football this year so we really are hoping to come back this fall. Bryce will never be able to forget to set the hook to the side as many times as you had to tell him, bless your patience! We haven’t had internet at work or at home lately so I’ve missed out on the site and I feel so lost.

    Thanks again for sending the spices. 🙂

    1. Well, let me clarify that the only time and place to catch these bull reds is in the Gulf when they are schooling. And it took going with someone who knew exactly where they would be and at what time. It’s not something that happens every day. However, there are plenty of reds inland, we just have to hunt for them by trolling the banks (sort of like bass, ya know?) and fishing the cuts. Yep, setting the hook to the side is key! I have missed your presence, but I do see you on FB (done from you phone, no doubt!). You are welcome and it’s great having you catch up here again. BW

  7. Just got back from 5 roasting days in Laughlin, NV. It was good to cool off with your adventure. You know I’m new to your site. I’m just so impressed with your writing. I love it. Thanks for sharing it with me, I mean everybody.

    1. I’m wondering what was so attractive in roasty, toasty NV! Thanks for the compliment, and you are most welcome. I love to write. Wish I had the discipline to type a novel . . . . write a novel . . . . finish a novel . . . .

      1. Wellllll, before we went the attraction was 9 casinos, the Colorado river, and a trip to Hoover Dam/Lake Mead. But, after going…lets just say “We went, we saw, we roasted, we came home with more appreciation for our mountains, greenery, wildlife, and food. Now don’t get me wrong they had a lot of food and it was good, but I missed my vegetables, real vegetables, okra, fresh corn on the cob, homegrown tomatoes, butter beans, turnip greens, egg plant, and all those things that are in season right now in the South. None of he locals even knew what cornbread and pot “licker” were.

        Now as for discipline, I used to have a lot more self discipline than I do now. You need to write 3 lines a day. Just 3 little lines! Then before you know it you’ll be writing a paragraph. Then 2 or 3 paragraphs. You made a mistake of writing a book and now you have people that adore you and want to know more. There are stories out there in our every day life that are funny, sweet, meaningful, hurtful, informative, and just plain interesting and entertaining. Give those people that adore you what they want, no what they need. If you’ll start a book, I’ll tell you a funny story.

        1. Hm. As long as that funny story has nothing to do with me in years gone by . . . . unless of course, you email it to me first and let me put my seal of approval on it, lol! Arkansas sounds divine, G.

  8. Wendy, the paradise louisiana guys are great about posting their entire show video on their website. Here’s the link.

    I like it to send to our parents whenever Chris is on the show.

    Great Article. I will put a link on the Annual Conf tab on the LOWA website. I also have articles from Lyle, Joe and Glynn Harris! Was great getting to spend more time with you this year! Take care. Vicki

    1. Thanks for the link and the kind words, Vicki! It was great getting to spend more time with you also. Sometimes, I’m like the “odd girl out” in this club; but the men are very tolerant of my presence! Where ARE all our female members, anyway? I guess I need to recruit more! Thanks again for all yours and Chris’ hard work to make our 66th LOWA conference a great one!