Winds of Change

Wednesday it was near freezing and foggy; the next day the wind blew a gale from the south, and the next we’re barefoot and in shirtsleeves.  But I’m not just talking about the changes in the weather down here in coastal Louisiana.

Looking back over the past year of blogging, it’s evident that my fishing posts were few and far between.  That’s because I didn’t get to do a whole lot of fishing.

Lake Decade Sunrise
Lake Decade Sunrise

However, in November things picked up as I had the opportunity to take family members speckled trout fishing in Lake Decade, which is my very favorite place and time to fish.  My brother-in-law, Ren Red from Shreveport, finally got to try his hand at catching the feisty yellow mouths, and now I do believe he is hooked!  After fishing a couple hours in the afternoon, we headed home with about 20 or so nice trout on ice.  

Well, Bayou Woman forgot her camera, so this poor I-phone photo will have to suffice!

RenRed and his Trout

Then next day I had the great joy of fishing with my second son, Danno, and my favorite daughter-in-law, Britt, who came along as official fish unhooker and comic relief.  We headed out right after lunch to the same spot where Ren Red and I had fished the day before.

The really cool thing about these two trips is that the fish were holding in little pockets between long lines of crab traps.  Visualize this:  The wire crab cage sits on bottom with a basket of bait sitting in the center of it.  Tiny bait fish peck away at the bait, and larger fish, like specks and reds, go after the tiny bait fish.  Makes sense, right?

Typically, Lake Decade is a great lake for drift fishing, but those two days, I decided to throw down the Cajun anchor to hold our spot.  Why?  Because when the trout are holding in and around those crab traps, anchoring is the very best thing to do.  Not only can you be certain you are “on the fish”, but you can also stake out your spot to those who would troll right over the fish, dispersing the school.

There were so many boats out there trolling around, that it was almost impossible to fish without getting in each other’s way.  When on anchor, all one has to do to discourage that is to cast as far as you can, thereby marking the territory in which you are fishing.  If your bait hits the water close to a passerby, I guarantee the guy running the trolling motor will get the message that he’s passing a little bit too close for comfort.

That is exactly what we had to do both days in order to ensure that no knuckleheads came along and scared the fish away. (Go ahead and slap me on the wrist for saying knucklehead. I deserve it!)

As is typical for the wintering trout of Lake Decade, they were very picky about their diet.  Not far from us was a boat with four people fishing, yet only one guy was catching fish consistently.  I watched him as closely as I could to see what bait he was using and was finally able to see that the bait was white.  Straightaway Danno and I both tied on white baits under a popping cork, and that was the ticket to improving our catch rate.

Earlier this week, my friend Lyle Johnson came down to do some fishing and to film an episode of his show, Ascension Outdoors TV.   We fished the same spots I fished in November. but this time I chose not to anchor to test my theory about fish holding among the crab traps.  Although we caught a nice mess of trout, the ratio was not as high as the two days in November when we anchored.

Bayou Woman, Lyle Johnson, Leopard Red Fish

Above Lyle is holding a fish I caught, which we call a “leopard red” because of the multiple “eye spots” on its body.  Some fishing rodeos even have a prize category for the leopard red with the most spots. Catching this fish made me really happy!  Can you tell?

Yesterday I had the honor of taking Doug and Kelly Kelly, a husband and wife travel-writer-photographer-team, on a combo fishing/wetland tour trip.  Since they were more focused on taking photos and gathering information for an article than putting trout in the box, the pressure was off to produce massive quantities of fish.  This also gave me the opportunity to again test the “anchor vs trolling/drifting” theory.  I’m glad to report that it is indeed a myth that you cannot catch trout while on anchor in this particular lake. Next time I find the fish biting in one spot among the crab traps, I will not hesitate to put down the anchor!

Now, I’ve done all this talking about fishing, and I’ve left you wondering why the title about winds of change.

We all know economic times are hard; and it seems tourism is hit first when the purse strings are tight. Most folks just don’t have the dollars to spend on recreation.  That is the main reason I had fewer fishing charters and wetland tours this year.    That is also one of the reasons that that winds of change are starting to blow down this bayou for Bayou Woman, her work, and this blog.

Now don’t go getting all worked up, because it won’t be a drastic change.  It is my hope that each and every one of you continue to visit here, hang out, and chat; meanwhile, I hope you appreciate my candor about what’s to come.

Since the inception of this blog in August of 2007, many of us have become friends over that time, albeit cyber friends; but in this day and age, there’s nothing wrong with that!  Furthermore, this blog continues to attract newcomers from around the globe, and with that growth and expansion comes change.

In its six-year life, though, this blog has not been monetized or commercialized. Even so, I have always tried to approach writing this blog with the same dedication and commitment as if writing for hire.  Yet, this blog hasn’t paid me a dime, which was my choice, until now.

Don’t worry, I don’t intend to flood the pages with flashy distracting ads to annoy you, although the appearance will change somewhat.  I hope you will like the new design and embrace the change with open arms and minds.

The focus, feel, and purpose of this blog will remain the same, except there will be sponsors, offers, and ads of my choosing that you can ignore if you so choose!  My feelings won’t be hurt, as long as you keep coming back to read and chat.

After the new year arrives with all its black-eyed peas, cabbage, and resolutions, I will be able to share more of the changes that are coming in this blog, my work, and in the lives of some of those closest to me.

Meanwhile, I’m wishing you the merriest Christmas ever!


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  1. Knuckleheads? I’d call them a 7 letter word beginning with an “a” and ending in “e”. You say you haven’t been fishing much…It’s so bad around here, tonight I’m actually frying Talapia that was purchased at the grocery store. I’d just finished making the tartar sauce before logging on to read this new post. So, if the fish are bad, at least I know the sauce will be good. Hey, I can eat a tartar sauce “fold over” with my fries. Moving on…
    As long as you don’t have pop up’s, I’m ok with some ads. I’m looking forward to see what you do.

    1. Well, it’s a sad day when you have to buy tilapia. Makes me feel so bad that I want to give you a pack of fillets!!! I was actually thinking about you and your Kenner while I was writing the post and wondering if y’all even still have the boat? And wondering if you take it to Grand Isle when you go? About pop ups, we’re doing our best to avoid that, but if you use Google Chrome as your browser, there is ad “ad blocker” feature you can enable (and maybe on other browsers, too). I’m looking forward to the end result, as well, but I’m not honestly sure exactly when it will be complete. I just wanted y’all to have a heads up and not be shocked when it happens!

      1. Usually when we’re at G.I. we’re using the camper. So, if the Kenner makes a trip down, it’s for a day run or someone camps with us and they pull it. It’s been so long since the boat was in the water…I’m not sure it will still float. LOL
        I’ve got the ad blocker. You know I’ll continue to read. I’ve been here from the start, I’ll be here till the end.

        1. I’m sure Gary knows about outboard engines, but if it hasn’t been cranked regularly, and you crank it up now, it’s going to be bad news! But I’m sure Gary ran the fuel out before he stored it!! And yes, my dear, you have definitely been here from the beginning . . . ever since we met on that now defunct women’s fishing forum.

          1. Hubby hooks the hose up to it regularly and lets it run. It’s not as good as being in the water, but it’s better than nothing. BTW, he gets out the 2 generators and runs them too. (the lawn equipment will be getting the same treatment soon) Talk about noise pollution!

  2. Life is change. I had my share this year. Thought I had a window to blow down bayou next week but it closed quick.

    1. Thank you for those words of commitment, Louise!!! Yes, I’m hoping this will be a good change! I don’t like flashy, busy web pages that are so busy that you don’t know where to go for anything. We’re trying to keep it simple like things are now.

  3. Good for you,put all the advertisements up you want as they will not bother me,my popup blocker works well BTW. 🙂 Winds of change have already blown across N Fla. this year and things are better. We had a great Thanksgiving and I made dressing from the recipe you gave me and it was a hit again. (thank you) Going to make more for Christmas dinner. Merry Christmas BW

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Ronnie, and it is so GREAT to hear from you down in “sunny” Florida! And it does my heart good to know that your gang likes the dressing as much as we do! I’m wondering why we only make it twice a year, though! I guess if we made it more often, it wouldn’t be as special!! Merry Christmas, Ronnie!

  4. My, my…. This is a big step for you and probably a bit nerve wracking, too.

    I’ll still be popping in, ads or no ads, and I wish you well with this next stage of your blogging venture.

    I am a bit puzzled by that Cajun anchor. It’s nothing more than a long metal rod. I’m left wondering how in the world does it anchor anything? I have to assume that it is jammed into the mud below. It still seems like a stiff current or wind pushing the boat would pull it out.

    I need enlightenment! lol

    1. Soooo, let me enlighten you—it’s what I’m here for, right? The Cajun anchor is “spear anchor” that I throw down into the alluvial mud as hard as I can chunk it! It only works in water about 5 feet deep or less. And yes, a stiff wind can dislodge it if it isn’t set deeply enough. But it’s a great invention, because a Danforth anchor is heavy and a pain to chunk for this little old fisherwoman, but I do have to use it when fishing the deep waters when we anchor for bull reds, black drum, etc. Thanks for asking, because I’m sure you’re not the only one wondering! Merry Christmas, Gue`!–fluke/dp/B000HAEGGC/ref=sr_1_2?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1387725301&sr=1-2&keywords=danforth+anchor

      Oh, and the switch is a bit nerve wracking, but I have complete faith in LilSis who is making all this happen for me. She’s way more tech savvy than I!!!

  5. AHA… now I get it. The spear anchor is fine for shallow water and ‘light’ anchoring. Deeper water or stiff winds will require one with the dohickey on the end to really grab in; those are the ones I’m more used to seeing. Other than the ‘block’ anchor that Dad would sometimes use for his jonboat in the swamp, where there really wasn’t a strong current. It was just a line with a square or rectangular solid metal block on the end. Really, any heavy piece of scrap metal would do, as long as it had smooth edges; otherwise, it’d tend get hung up in cypress roots, stumps, waterlogged limbs, etc. Half the time, he’d either tie up or just drift.

  6. Wow I just watched one of those sappy Christmas movies on TV thought I would tell you all to watch if you get a chance. Why? Well its called “Christmas on the Bayou”. Yes its one of those chick flicks with a Christmas setting, oh yeah my normal type movie (that was sarcastic but I couldn’t use my sarcastic fonts for some reason).

    BUT it was really from the bayou with all the right words (even if said incorrectly), all the right characters (even if for the wrong season), but the scenery was spot on. The bonfires, Christmas village, Pa Noel, the bateau pulled by alligators, the whole shooting match. If you get a chance (I am whispering this so lean close to the monitor), it’s on LIfetime. It was pretty good.

    As to the format change, We all come here for different reasons mostly I think we enjoy the memories you bring to the surface of one thing or another. All the other websites are now hosting ads. At first I grumbled mostly at the ones I didn’t care that much for in the first place, of course they were the first with the adds, but I seem to still visit their sites. So a site I like……. really shouldn’t be a problem. Besides tis the season anyway right? You keep writing and we’ll be here I am sure.

    This has been the most unholiday like season I ever remember, maybe I will start making candy tomorrow. That always helps. How can you not be in a good mood with pralines, and brittle, and Chex mix, and whatever else comes to mind.

    1. I’ve been putting off making the pralines during all that humidity. Maybe today, but I’m coming down with something, oh no!! Believe it or not, I saw Bayou Christmas on the channel lineup against the Christmas edition of The Alaskan Frontier, and since I’ve come to love those Swedes so much and their hard working subsistence homestead lives, I opted for it and missed out on Bayou Christmas, which replayed at midnight, but my eyelids shut me down before then. I’ll look at the Lifetime lineup and see when it comes on again, and thanks for the recommendation, but you know Bayou Woman. She was gonna watch it and critique it anyway, and now that you’ve done that already, I can relax. I made spicy oysters crackers, gingerbread cookies, fudge, butterscotch haystackers, and the last thing is the pralines; but I’m writing under deadline for Country Roads Magazine, which took precedence yesterday. YES! I work on the weekends, too, especially when I fish on the weekdays.

      1. I too kept putting off candy last week because everyday the front that came thru yesterday was supposed to be here and humidity does mess with sugar.

        I have a candy question maybe someone can answer. Last couple of years I have been getting little “spider webs” in the pralines, I know I have read somewhere what causes ’em, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it is and last years I searched the web looking for answers. Anyone enlighten me as to what I am doing? It doesn’t effect the taste, doesn’t effect the sugar stability, just doesn’t look right.

        Any of you wisened candy makers know?

          1. No, not really. No crystals forming, nice smooth pralines. I didn’t get to cook again today so I guess I’ll wait till I can cook and see if it happens again.

      2. Hallmark channel is running it too. Set the timer.
        When will the Country Road piece be published? I’ll make sure I pick one up at my choir director’s restaurant.

  7. BW, some times in life we have to do what ever it is we need to do. I know you been there and I have to. But we love your blog and I for another one will be here. Many thanks for all you have done for providing great reads and photos. Bill

  8. That fish with all the spots is a beauty, for sure. Fish and Christmas go together for me – the Swedish side of my family always had it in abundance. Herring, cod, lutefisk (terrible, in my opinion) and oyster stew – I don’t mess with most of it now, but I have to have my oysters and herring.

    It will be interesting to see how you handle the ads. I read a few blogs that have the WP ads, Amazon purchase links, or a tip jar, and those are tolerable. I have no tolerance for sites that are full of glitz – or worst of all, video ads that auto play. If you end up with all that, I guess I’ll just have to learn some tolerance instead of being some old grinch. For you, I’ll make an exception. 😉

    Merry Christmas to you and yours! I’m off to friends in the Hill Country tomorrow, and will be back on Saturday. If Santa wants to be really, really good to me, he can bring me no traffic on I-10!

    1. And off she goes, back to the hill country! Shore, as a guide there are companies always luring me to this guide program and that guide program, and pretty soon I’m spread so thin, nothing turns out profitable. It’s time to centralize everything if at all possible and turn a little income in the process. My take is this: I won’t let my web site look like something I would not want to visit. That’s the bottom line.

      I hope you have a very Merry Christmas in the hill country.

      And friends, if you don’t already follow this brilliant writer, hop over and read her latest post about making room for Christmas.