Fishing still beats mowing the grass
When you are in the guiding business, there is seldom time for unplanned fishing trips. Last Friday morning, determined to mow a soggy yard after waiting one day too long, my noble intentions appeared doomed by overcast skies. At best, it was going to be a race against the clock with more rain forecast for the afternoon.
I had just begun weed whacking on the run when my next door neighbor, Johnny Breaux, rounded the corner on exactly the same mission. “I’ve got two good ideas,” I yelled across the yard. “You ride the mower, I’ll weed whack and edge, and maybe we can beat the rain.”
Surprised that we finished both yards in a couple of hours, I proposed the second and the better of my two good ideas. “Why don’t we hook up my boat and go fishing as a reward for being so responsible. Less than an hour later, the cloud cover was history, a light north wind had cooled things off, and we were on the water.
Johnny had a tournament to fish on the river the following day so the trip could not have been timelier. He started getting into fishing a little more seriously a few years back, but has focused on chasing bass exclusively from Pinkston all the way to Falcon. It was obvious by the end of a very enjoyable afternoon, however, that he was rethinking a venue closer to home.
Because there was prize money for the largest trout, red, and flounder, we caught some shad very quickly, but could have done just as well without them. They were a good Plan B in the event that the artificial lure bite failed him, but we never hit a spot that we did not catch fish on plastics.
If you have never fished deep structure with plastics, it takes a little getting used to, but Johnny had both reels spooled with braided line and that is a tremendous advantage. In very short order he picked up on the importance of fishing with the tide rather than against it and the rest was simply a matter of me finding a few fish. It didn’t take us long.
On maybe the third or fourth cast, I picked a Texas Roach Sea Shad up off the bottom and felt just the slightest resistance. Before I could set the hook, the line went slack, but was stopped by a much more solid strike before it could drift another foot. “This is a trout,” I told Johnny as the fish powered away with the current at her back. “The only problem is that it may be the one you needed to catch tomorrow.”
I don’t know what it took to win the following day, but that first trout was just a tad over 6 1/2 pounds. “There’s really not too much to this saltwater stuff,” he offered with a smile that betrayed his modest attempt at a joke. “Sometimes Rob and I bass fish all night long and never get bit!”
We hit one or two more spots that produced trout up to four pounds just in case that area failed him before we switched gears to check out a reliable redfish hangout. Johnny offered them one of the live shad, but I pulled a slot red to the surface on a Swim Bait before he could interest one in eating the live bait.
“The flounder is going to be the real challenge and live bait could very well be your best shot,” I pointed out before suggesting that we first fish a long straight stretch of shoreline with Swim Shads. That stretch of bank had two or three submerged indentations in 12 to 15 feet of water that provides a current break and often holds all three species.
I picked up a rat red and two more trout before Johnny rocked back on his rod and announced, “Now, this is a good fish.” I don’t know if the fish elected to fight on the surface all the way to the net or if Johnny had his reel in turbo charge mode, but either way I was shocked when he slammed the big flounder into the side of the boat. It didn’t quite make the four-pound mark on the Boga-grip, but it would win most local tournaments.
We made one last run back to the original spot to be sure that he knew how to fish it and caught another solid trout before calling it a day. It seems like unplanned trips always work out well. I don’t know how Johnny did in his tournament the following day, but he discovered a pretty good fishing hole in his own backyard!