Dalton Kinsley was pushing a shopping cart full of bottled water and small bags of fruit across the parking lot when we paused to chat.“I don’t even want to know how good or bad the fishing is,” said Kinsley through a half smile.“My boat is fine, but I can’t even get it out of the driveway for all of the debris stacked on the curbs in our neighborhood!”

“There would be a divorce on top of everything else anyway if Carol Ann even saw the truck backed up like I might be going fishing.“We had a world of friends and relatives rush into help us that first week, but they have lives to lead and you reach a point where there is not much you can do to speed up the recovery,” added Kinsley.“Even the folks that have been able to dry out their homes will be a long time just waiting on reputable contractors.”

“I never thought I would feel fortunate to sleep on an air mattress on a concrete floor every night,” but we have friends in far worse shape. We at least have a little privacy and I never realized how important that is to maintaining your sanity. Several of my neighbors are driving back and forth to work every day from Jasper and Newton.Their school age kids are living with friends that fared much better.”

The massive bill for folks with no flood insurance that live in areas that required no flood insurance will impact their lives forever.Gary Stelly, the owner and voice of KOGT best defined the initial shock when he said, “One minute we were watching the water creep up in the yard and an hour later we were being rescued by boat with no possessions and no place to go. To make matters even worse, we elected to not renew our flood insurance for the first time in 23 years!”

Every time we have endured a significant weather event in the past, Stelly has stayed the course and kept local folks abreast of what is happening on KOGT.This time the radio station went under water as well only adding to his financial woes.

With area folks jammed into tent cities and hotel rooms still uncertain as to what tomorrow will bring, it is impossible to relate to their mind set when they climb off their cot every morning.No favor or act of kindness is too small……they need your help!”

To say the fishing has been a little strange of late would be a gross understatement.Part of it is very predictable as the reds are always the first to go on a tear following any flooding in the area.Not are only they running the shorelines and stacking up in the mouths of cuts, but schooling in the open lake as well.

The trout, on the other hand, have been on the small side and the best catches have been taking place on the south end of the lake and on the jetties.The flounder bite has just been exceptional for those patient enough to wait on a slower bite, but the best table fare the lake has to offer.

Live finger mullet or fresh dead shrimp have been the most productive options for the flat fish, but small tails rigged on horsehead jigs and three inch Swim baits have worked well also.Now for the strange part!

There was a time, as recent as the early 80’s, when catching bass on everything from small topwaters to Whacky worms required little more than launching the boat.Area bayous, marshes and any cut on the river consistently yielded prolific catches of bass in the 12 to 14 inch class.

Sadly enough, that bite ground to a halt due to saltwater intrusion and other factors and only a handful of local anglers continued to chase bass as their primary target.Then came four consecutive years of flooding and the bass population rebounded like never before.Once again, catching became a part of fishing.

When it was at its best, the maze of bayous and cuts that connected Burton’s Ditch and East Pass were prime areas protected from the strongest of winds.I thought that I would never see it again, but one short afternoon last week, we caught at least thirty bass fishing small topwaters all the way to East Pass.

For those that can fish…..there is a new game in town!