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.
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!
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.
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!