Sight Towers and Speckled Trout

Strange title but hopefully just strange enough to lure you into reading this little fishing report from last Friday.

Since late October, the trout have been elusive in Lake Decade, and while everyone I talk to has their own theory as to why, none of us really knows why for sure.  Somehow, though, since Thanksgiving, conditions have driven the speckled trout back into the lake, and limits are being caught on a daily basis.

Hearing that was a relief, because I haven’t had any spare time to do any scouting, relying solely on fishing reports from others to know where they are biting, under what conditions, and how to fish them.

While getting ready for Saturday’s charter, Brad White from the HT Redfish Cup series was returning to Houma to retrieve his “tower flats boat” that had broken down on the second day of the tournament.  He had left it in Houma to be repaired, and it was time to come down and pick it up.

He was anxious to get his boat back in the water and see how she performed with the repairs to the engine.  He was also curious to see if maybe we could charm a few of those trout to hop into the boat with us.  Being a die-hard professional redfisherman, he had his doubts as to how much of a challenge it would be to catch trout.  It was my job to show him just how fun it could be hauling in the yellow mouths–Louisiana style.

As fishing fate would have it, around 8 p.m. the night before our trip, I got a call from another charter guide sharing a big trout tip he had just received.  He would not be fishing the next morning and knew I had a charter coming up on Saturday, so he was generous enough to share his valuable knowledge with me.  It was much appreciated, and the plan was laid to leave early next morning and head to the reported hot spot.

During our pre-dawn launch at Falgout Canal Marina, all eyes were on the strange flats boat with the 13-foot tower looming eerily in the pre-dawn haze.  These boats are used for “sight fishing” red drum, and the height of the tower gives the fisherman the advantage of being able to see more of the water’s surface and to actually see fish movement.  This proved handy while fishing trout, we would later learn.

With no console to hide behind on this 45-degree morning, I was not looking forward to the chilly ride out to Lake Decade.  However, it’s even colder up in that tower, so Brad kept the speed down to about 25 mph.

Three or four boats had arrived before us and had marked their territories.  We cut the engine and drifted in, and not long after our lines were in the water, the trout started jumping in the boat.  Well, not literally, but by the time we were finished, that’s the way Brad would tell the story.

The trout were hungry but finicky.  By that I mean they would only bite a light-colored bait, with our best results on the H & H  chartreuse sparkle beetle, on a chartreuse jighead (trout like color coordination, ya know), at the end of a 2-3 foot leader, under a popping cork.  They were so picky that while fishing side by side with Brad (me down in the boat, he up in that tower), he was outfishing me three to one.  The ONLY difference was the color of the jighead.  Once I switched from white to the same color he was using (chartreuse), the battle was on.

In the photo above, you can get some perspective of what it’s like to fish from a tower.  Brad could cast right over me without any interference, which I now call “double-decker fishing”.  It was pretty cool!

At one point, Brad asked if we ever catch red fish in the lake.  When I answered with a solid “SURE”, I’m not sure he believed me until he hauled in a couple fatties of his own from the high tower.  As seen above, he’s getting a little help from his friend, Jim, getting this one in the boat.

Once the trout bite slowed, we were planning to put that tower to use  and target some reds (and Brad was going to let me drive), but Brad had been observing while we fished that the boat seemed to be taking on water.  He had to make the hard call of taking us straight back to the landing to see what might be causing the leakage.

Back on the boat trailer, an estimated 100 gallons of water poured out of the hull.  He later discovered the hose to the self bailer had come loose, letting water seep down into the hull.  It’s a good thing we came back to the landing when we did, or we might have been swimming with the trout!

We ended the morning high and dry in spite of a leak.  Some really nice fish hit the ice, and I left satisfied that there would be a repeat performance for my charter the next morning.

Your windburned,

Bayou Woman

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  1. What a strange craft…while I can appreciate the sightline from up in that tower, what does it do to the stability o’ the boat while driving – or worse yet, catching a fish?!? Seems ye’d be looking to tip right over!

    Clearly had no adverse effect on catching fish..nice haul!

    1. Surprisingly the boat is quite stable. I thought it would feel strange riding in it, but I felt no ill affects from it. I was supposed to drive it, but the taking-on-water issue postponed my little adventure!!! I’m just glad we came in when we did, because that boat already sits very close to the water!!! Hauling in fish from up there was no problem at all for Angler Brad!!!

  2. Hose fixed on the boat already. Can’t wait to get you out redfishing with us Capt..

    Team Budweiser

  3. One of the busiest businesses around here is called “Tops and Towers”. I first heard them called “Tuna Towers”, because they’re often used offshore for that fish. Some of them around here are much taller – like three story buildings. I’m presuming they only head offshore with them when things are placid.

    When I was in the Bahamas, the advantage of height was clear. It’s a lot easier to see coral heads when you’re higher and the angle of the sun is different.

  4. I’m REALLY jealous! Doesn’t look like fishing (other than in our Ms. pond) is going to be a priority this year. We’re trying to get the “camp” built, so we’re there every chance possible. Got back today (Sun.-Wed. noon). It was rainy, cold and very windy up on the hill! ANYWAY………
    That “tower” is a H@** of a lot better and safer than their predecessors! That being a 6′ ladder! The first time I saw a Red fisherman on his ladder, I thought he was nuts! It was windy and the water was very choppy. I just knew he was going to end up going for a swim.
    The way things are going, We’ll have to work up a trade. Fruit Cake for trout or reds (half shell please).

  5. Dang got to redo the medic alert tag and it ain’t here yet.

    I got a strange urge for fruitcake too.