I’m a creature of habit. I like to get to the ramp about 30 minutes before sunrise so I can take my time getting the boat in the water, arrange my gear, collect my thoughts, and thank God for the marsh and all the life it holds.
In November I typically launch in Fort Bayou at the ramp across from Greyhound Stadium just off Highway 90 in Ocean Springs. From there it’s a short run north or south to prime trout-fishing grounds.
On a recent trip I stayed true to tradition and was idling down Fort Bayou with just enough light to see the marsh grass. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I idled the entire way, sipping coffee and enjoying the cool morning air.
When I got within 100 yards of the canal mouth I wanted to fish, I shut down the big engine and let the slight outgoing tide take me toward my target. I had a little more light and could see baitfish working the submerged grass line, with an occasional swirl of a trout or redfish, along with a momma coon and two little ones walking the edge of the marsh grass looking for breakfast.
It was beautiful.
This was stop No. 1 of what I felt was a great plan based on salinity, tide, wind, solunar tables and dropping surface temperatures.
Let’s just say I’d done my homework.
I stepped up to the front deck and eased my trolling motor into the water to quietly go the remaining distance and cast to the current lines formed by the tide and the submerged grass along the mouth of the canal.
As I was making my way toward the canal, poised to make that first cast, I heard a disturbing sound. It got louder very quickly — and faster than my mother-in-law can snatch the last pork chop, a skiff came flying around the corner, ran full tilt into the mouth of the canal, did an impressive 180-degree pivot followed by an even more-impressive anchor toss off the bow.
My shoulders slumped, my rod dropped to my side and my jaw hit the SeaDek.
I went full mouth breather for about two minutes and just stared.
My tranquil morning with Mother Marsh had been interrupted by a couple of guys in way more of a hurry than I.
Stop No. 1 — a bust.
Thankfully, I have become a frequent reader of Capt. Devin Denman’s Louisiana Fishing Blog, and I had a plan for the day.
Since subscribing to his blog, I’ve started watching weather patterns, checking weather and data buoys, eyeballing the bays and bayous at various locations for water color, and looking at Google Earth for new areas so I’m not stuck fishing community holes and only places that had produced in the past.
Since stop No. 1 was out, I stowed the trolling motor, cranked the big engine and headed to stop No. 2.
Stop No. 2 was an unassuming point that didn’t look that special on the surface, but by looking at different views on Google Earth I could tell it was worth exploring.
A few days earlier, I had checked it out with my depth finder and knew where the channel edge was in relation to the submerged grass. I also knew the inside of the point had a deeper hole about the size of my boat before it jumped up to the same depth as the rest of the flat.
I set up a long cast downcurrent from the point and started working a Heddon Super Spook Jr. where the submerged grass met the channel. I sat in that one location for several minutes, catching one trout after the other on the Spook.
Most of the fish were slightly under the required 14 inches to be tagged for the Gulf Coast Research Lab, but it was fun nonetheless. I even had a few keeper redfish demolish my topwater.
Stop No. 2 paid off — my plan was a success.
Thanks to the aforementioned blog, I’ve learned new techniques and tactics to not only catch fish but to find fish. Heck, I’ve even gone so far as to leave the dock with no other intention but to find new areas.
I’m not going to lie: It has been liberating.
Louisiana Fishing Blog is like a graduate course in fishing the marsh. One of the first things I read on the blog after a particularly frustrating day on the water caught my eye, and the proverbial light bulb went off.
“Maybe you don’t really have a plan when you go fishing, you just go to where you have caught fish or where you think there will be a good bite. Maybe you just want to relax and not worry about anything on your fishing trip. But maybe you are different and have an addiction to catching speckled trout and redfish. If this is you, then continue reading.”
And continue reading I did.
One of the many things I enjoy about Louisiana Fishing Blog is that Capt. Devin tells me not only the how but the why on every subject he covers. I have read the blog front to back numerous times and have been able to apply all of what he’s written in some form or fashion to the areas I fish in Mississippi.
Louisiana Fishing Blog is a jam-up good resource that will definitely make you a better, more well-prepared fisherman. Along with a link to Capt. Devin’s blog, I’ve listed two other blogs that offer sound advice on trout and redfishing.
Each year it seems our waterways get more crowded and once-productive community holes dry up or, at best, become inconsistent. But the fish haven’t left the state; they’ve just found another area to stage or feed during peak traffic hours.
It’s up to you to find those areas.
If you’ll take the time to do some homework and read the blogs I’ve listed, these anglers will help improve your fish-finding abilities, and you will become a better fisherman.
It takes some effort on your part and there will be days when you strike out, but don’t let that deter you. Keep pluggin’, keep reading, and keep studying and spending time on the water.
Things will begin to click and you’ll start noticing things you’ve never seen before.
Trust me, if this ole bass-fishing dog can learn new tricks, I know you can.
• Capt. Devin’s blog: www.lafishblog.com
• Capt. Chris Bush’s blog: trophytrout.blogspot.com
• Kyle Johnson’s blog: www.kylejohnsonfishing.com