From the crack of dawn up until our 10 o'clock return to the dock, my fishing team and I were into raft after raft of redfish this past Thursday in the Delacroix Island marsh, all in spite of a significantly low wind chill factor, temperatures in the thirties, and widespread dirty water in most of the ponds and canals.
“Yeah, but even with all these adverse conditions, Frank,” Ron “Captain Ahab “ Broadus, my TV program guide for all my excursions into Delacroix Island, said, “conditions which will probably repeat themselves again this weekend, you gotta remember that in the end we caught some really nice braggin'-size fish.
“Lemme suggest something to you, though, Frank. When you pass along this information to your TV viewers who might plan a trip to the island Saturday or Sunday, let them know that the trick to catchin’ them without fail is fishing for them smack up against the broken grass islands, especially around pockets and points, and particularly with live shrimp.
“I also believe you’re gonna have to tell them that they need to fish 12 to 14 inches under a popping or chugging cork. And one other factor! They’re gonna have to know that it’s mandatory to scout out and find the cleanest water on the marsh. Because of the stiff winds this week all of Delacroix is muddy and murky, so finding clean water is the key.”
In retrospect, though, I’m confident that if you’re a veteran fisherman you probably already know everything I’ve scripted thusfar. What I think I do need to remind you of is. . .dress appropriately for December Delacroix fishing (or fishing anywhere else in Southeast Louisiana for that matter).
All too often I’ve rendezvoused with some fishing buddies who underestimated just how cold a winter morning on the marsh can really get, especially when you’re “running” from place to place. It’s at these times that I’ve seen grown, hulky men shiver to the bone with teeth chattering because they believed that the single fleece top shirt would be enough to keep them warm.
Well. . .it won’t! In addition to layering, you’re gonna need appropriate “bulk” or “neo-thermal technology” to thwart off the cold. You’ll be surprised just how frosty wind chill and air temps can penetrate outerwear when you’re zipping down the Twin Pipelines at 47 miles per hour. No, wait! Frosty isn’t the right word. Frigid is the right word. Bone-chilling cold is the right phrase!
“Look, Frank,” Capt. Ahab concluded, “fishing saltwater in wintertime is good fishing bordering on great fishing. But what you wear for the gig can’t be makeshift. The right clothes and you’ll concentrate and focus only on catching trout, reds, drum, sheephead, flounder, and freshwater catfish. The wrong clothes and you’ll concentrate only on how long it will take you to get back to the warmth of the marina.
“Sports and outdoor stores, hunting and fishing Internet catalogues, and specialty ski shops have exactly and precisely what you need in stock. Shop and buy there. The equipment they handle is worth every penny you’ll pay for it and it’ll make fishing 365 a real pleasure.
“Oh! Here’s a suggestion! Ask Santa to bring this stuff to you for
Christmas. You gotta remember the man lives at the North Pole and you don’t see him out and about in his sleigh in Bermudas and a T-shirt.
So hopefully having made my point, until next Thursday when I once again sample the goings-on in Lake Pontchartrain with Capt. Kenny Kreeger, y’all be careful and courteous out there. There’s more than enough fish to go around.
Tight lines and good times to ya. . .
Editor’s Note: If you’d like to give yourself (or a fishermen you know) a Christmas present fishin’ trip with Captain Ahab, call him ASAP at 504-914-6063.
Oh, one more thing—there are hordes of young, undersize (juvenile) redfish in the marsh right now. 1—Measure everything that’s questionable for that 16-inch size limit; and 2—When you release ‘em back into the water, do it gently, please! Those little guys constitute next spring’s keeper crop.