Colburn: Boiled crawfish better than the fishing
“Man, what a week,” and I don’t say that in a positive light. I subjected several reels to countless cranks of the handle without much to show for it. The wind has been miserable, but that is to be expected over the next month or two. The fly in the ointment is 12 months of rain in the past five weeks!
Lord knows we needed the rain, minus the accompanying mosquitoes, and can use even more at less frequent intervals, but the wind is a more significant problem when your alternative fishing holes are both fresh and muddy. That is not altogether unusual for this time of the year, but it happened so quickly that either the fish or the fishermen are having difficulty adjusting.
I have no doubt that the fish will rapidly adapt to the decreasing salinity levels and we will once again establish more productive patterns, but until that happens I would not rule out anything. Over the past week we caught a few trout on Topwaters and suspending baits like the Corky and Maniac Mullet in less than two feet of water as well as a few fish as deep as twenty feet on five-inch tails.
The flounder and redfish have been a little more predictable as salinity is not as big an issue with them. Oddly enough, while we caught far more flounder than expected…the majority of them were on the small side. That was not the case this past year as the average flat fish was easily in the two pound class. It could well be that the smaller fish are just more aggressive right now.
We have been able to find at least a few slot reds most days at every depth, but we have not found them bunched up. Regardless of the water clarity or weather conditions the potential for having a big day on reds always exists. Every red fish and flounder that we cleaned last week was full of tiny shad rather than crabs or small mullet. That fact alone makes shallow water a better place to start your search.
I was over at Daley’s last week picking up a few packs of Gulp in anticipation of fishing with kids on another tough day and a mid-county angler was nice enough to point out something I had never even considered. We were talking about purchasing jig heads that are stocked in open bins and he said that while he prefers to buy them that way, you need to inspect each jig.
Not surprisingly, he had to sort through a dozen or so before he found what he was looking for, but even one in twelve was enough to substantiate his contention that all jigs are not created equal. More specifically, they may be created equally, but the final product doesn’t always reflect it.
When jig heads, not unlike soft plastics are packaged, each item is inspected before it goes to market. When plastics and jig heads are sold individually out of a bin they are sent out in bulk with only a minimal inspection on the part of the manufacturer.
In the case of the jig head, you will occasionally find not only over-pour that was not trimmed off the final product, but keepers on the shaft of the hook that are broken or not perfectly formed. That, however, was not the main reason for sorting through the tangled ball of jig heads.“My biggest concern,” stated the knowledgeable angler, “Is the condition of the hook itself. When they dump them in a bin, the point of the hooks sometime gets dulled or even rolled over and that head is of no use.”
I never gave that a thought and I get almost all of my jigs in bulk. It came as no surprise that I went home and found a few with damaged points!
This doesn’t have a doggone thing to do with fishing other than the fact that I was eating crawfish on a covered deck while watching other fishermen load and unload their trailers at Ancelet’s Marina. What I want to pass along is that I have eaten boiled crawfish since 1963 from Houma, La. to Katy, Texas and I have never eaten crawfish that tasted as good or peeled easier than the ones I ate at Ancelet’s Sunday afternoon.
Tyler Ancelet proudly showed us his huge state-of-the-art boiler and shared the secret to assuring that the meat all but falls out of each tail, but the taste factor is all about the seasoning and that remains a family secret. You can eat them on their covered deck while watching an occasional launching fiasco or call ahead for a take home order starting about four o’clock each afternoon.
I don’t get too excited about eating any more as ninety percent of my meals consist of cereal at 4:30 in the morning and a granola bar on the water during the day, but anyone that likes crawfish has to try these. I will be eating crawfish again Thursday night at the Sabine-Neches CCA banquet, but I am still going back to Ancelet’s this afternoon. Their crawfish are addicting!