Before I started this blog in 2007 and long before anyone really ever heard of the Bayou Woman, I spent a lot of time out on the water exploring, sight seeing, photographing, and fishing. My youngest son, appropriately nicknamed Termite the Tenacious, often kept me company; sometimes willingly, but most times he had no choice. He became my fishing buddy, and more often than not, he could out-fish me, as long as we were catching and the activity kept his attention.
I posted very frequently about those trips in the early years of this blog. It’s funny to look back now and see just one or two comments on a fishing post; like this one–my first fishing post ever! He was 11 years old in these photos. Or maybe you’ve been following this blog for a while and might remember the Mother’s Day fishing trip to the marsh that he gifted me in 2009?
Fast forward to this morning. Now a U.S. Coast Guard Tankerman on a big tugboat, he works 14 days on the boat and 7 days home. This morning, as I headed down the steps to the screen room to have my coffee, someone yelled in his best southern accent, “Hey, bud!” Well, lo and behold, it was Termite! He had come home during the night. We sat and talked while drinking our coffee, and then he said the magic words, “Let’s go marsh fishing, Mom!”
My first reaction was, “It’s too hot”, but he persisted, just like a termite, and I conceded. We loaded the ice chest with bottled water, launched the mudboat, stopped at the marina and got a couple sammiches, some fuel, ice, and some spinner baits. Ten minutes later we motored slowly from the man-made canal into the quiet of the Mother Earth Marsh and cut the engine. The pock pock pock of a pileated woodpecker accompanied the soft swishing of the tall reeds along the shore. A big bull gator growled off in the distance to no one in particular.
The rising tide pushed us into the southwest wind, intrinsically holding us in place. Picking up our rods in unison, we cast our bright yellow spinner baits along the edges of the (invasive) water hyacinth and (native) water lilies. Before long, Termite hooked up with his first bass of the morning–not a huge lunker, but definitely big enough to eat.
“How about we fry fish for supper tonight? With white beans and rice?” I asked him as he tossed the first green trout into the box.
“Yeah, now you’re talking!” he replied enthusiastically.
We all know that one bass won’t feed the family, but with only four of us here right now, we only have to catch at least one fish per mouth in order to have enough for supper. Not long after that was determined, he hooked another nice bass, and another, and another, and another.
What the heck was Bayou Woman doing?
Let’s see, her line got tangled. Her lure got hung on a big log on the bottom. Her lure got caught on (invasive) hydrilla, over and over. She got hung up on hyacinth leaves. Her line tangled again.
“What the heck?” I asked no one in particular.
“Oh, Mom, don’t let that bait sink to the bottom!”
“No, duh, son. Do you think I’m trying to do that?”
“Mom, you have that bait tied on wrong!”
“Not me. I’m the Bayou Woman!”
He was right. I was wrong. Retying the lure correctly certainly took care of the tangled line problem but still didn’t do anything about all the grass I continued to catch. Dang! I was fishing like a rookie, into the wind, but after we rounded a curve, putting the wind at our backs, my casting distance improved. Once Termite stopped paddling, the balmy southwest wind pushed us along the deep, narrow trainasses where the fish lay in wait.
In the hot summer months, the fish prefer the deep holes, where the cooler water spells them from the bath-like temps of the surface water. Even though my casting improved with the wind behind us, Termite caught yet another fish–this time a dark orange-colored red drum.
No reds caught anywhere else have this deep coloring. The reds hang out in this marsh, where the bottom is black, and their scales adapt and darken, giving them camouflage. Some fishers might debate me on this, but reds caught in other waters just don’t have this dark, dark coloring.
Measuring in at 18 inches, the red promptly joined the green trout already in the box. With five fish in the ice chest, it’s looking more and more likely that we will have that fish fry tonight. My thoughts focused on the menu while I cast right down the middle of the trainasse, flipping the bail promptly to keep the lure off the grassy bottom. I continued to think about cooking supper, when a feisty fish gulped my spinner bait and peeled off line as it swam away from the boat. Man, what a fight! Nothing fights like a redfish, not even a bass. When it headed under the boat, I thought I’d lost it, but I woman-handled it out from under there and slung it into the boat straight away.
It was another gorgeous inland marsh red drum with the same coloring as the one Termite caught. This, I do believe, proves my theory of the dark coloration of red drum in a brackish marsh.
And has it hit you yet? We’re fishing in a secluded marsh. We’re covering water area by paddling. We’re both using a yellow spinner bait, and we’re not using any other kind of bait or lures. Anything wrong with this picture?
We’re catching largemouth bass and red drum, BOTH, in the SAME water using the SAME bait. What’s the big deal? you might ask.
Well, largemouth bass are a freshwater species, and red drum are a saltwater species.The marshes near Bayou Dularge are situated right in the middle of the Terrebonne side of the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary System. Our estuary is where the freshwater of bayous meets up with the saltwater of the Gulf of Mexico. The mix is a unique eco-system, and it just so happens that this morning, we were fishing in the brackish zone, where freshwater and saltwater species often bite on the same bait in the same waters.
Informational sidebar over.
After about two hours of fishing, the sun was scorching hot and the humidity almost unbearable, so we decided we had enough fish for supper. We returned to Camp Dularge, where Termite cleaned the fish while I unloaded the fishing gear.
Now, there’s nothing left to do but cook up a delectable bayou supper of fried fish, white beans, and rice.
Just 8 years ago, I had to insist that Termite go fishing with me, especially when he didn’t want to go. Today, he insisted that I go fishing with him, even when I didn’t feel like going. My, how the tables have turned; but truth be known, we’ve formed some tight bonds while fishing, and those bonds, obviously, hold fast for a lifetime.
When he was a kid, I taught him all I could about fishing. Today, he returned the favor!
Like I said–like mother, like son, and nothing could please me more.