Saturday

Well, I’ve been fishing Bason’s since Minamalist except for a weekend at PAC for the Lafayette Slottery Tournament, which was brutal for me. Anyway,  I made 3 hardcore trips to Bason’s and was very successful each time, catching well over a limit.

I got about 6 hours of sleep which is pretty good for me before a tournament.  My wife was out of town so I was able to turn lights on and make my own coffee instead of the gas station swill. Ahhhhhhhhh! Got up at 248, a little before the 3 am alarm and got on the road early.  Met Josh Redd at the bearded lady’s place for a pit stop, more coffee and ice. Josh was one light cycle ahead of me and by the time I came over the levee at Bason’s there was a line at the kayak launch. Lovely.  I backed up to the boat ramp and Squints Vannoy helped me unload the Monsta Banana from it’s elevated position caused by the launch.  Once in the water, Chris Cocheran came over and asked me for a banana,  so I gave him one. We joked about putting them in boats and I thought no more about it.  I walked over to the the kayak launch and razed a few people including Breck Hotard who’d discovered a banana peel on his brand new PA 14, with 5 minute delay homemade anchoring device. He blamed me for the banana and I declined, which amused several bystanders.

Many of us staged in our boats and took off at 530 to 15 mph breeze from the NNE. I’d fished in sandals the week before but was now wearing Royal Shrimp boots , wind pants and a hoodie.  50 degrees was quite a bit cooler than the 70 degree mornings week before. I pedaled a ways with Dan Rodbell but couldn’t keep up with his Outback.  When we got to the first pipeline, a bunch of people went north,  or so I thought.  A few minutes later I discovered I was in the canal that veers off to the southwest,  in the mud. Lovely.  All the lights around me, including my own, had taken away my night vision. Disoriented,  I turned and found another boat and asked where we were. Terry Pham said he had no idea. Fabulous.  We figured it out and he pedaled with me to my first stop, then rolled. I started throwing baits to no avail in a spot where I’d caught beautiful fish. Nada. I fished a little past first light and with the low light conditions,  took off in the wrong direction,  again,  and was totally off my game. I turned in the direction of the area I wanted to target and fished points a cuts, couple dinks but no keepers. I saw a kayak on the left side of a large island and headed for the other end. I launched the topwater at the island and had a blowup about the same time I recognized Breck.  After another cast, I threw the Vuduencork and hooked up on a trout, legal, photographed,  submitted,  ahhhhhh. I fished further and saw a Native come around a point. Tyler Caldwell and I conversed briefly and I asked who was behind him, no other than Benjamin Day and Austin Johnson. When I got a good look, Ben was telling Austin not to come that way, he was in the mud. I giggled and pedaled away. I got to my primary location and fished my way in. Nada. Changed up and fished in an area I’d never fished and finally caught a legal trout on a Lemonheadaujig.  I moved around and switched between Vuduencork and Lemonjighead. Finally I had 5 trout submitted, the largest being 14.75”. Phew! Now time to upgrade. I was only able to do so once, the rest of the day. I fished hard till 258 and started back, 4 miles from the launch,  upwind at 15 plus. Yeah. Got back to the launch around 4. 21st place of 69. Can’t win em all. Congratulations to Squints, winner winner, steak dinner! Special congratulations to Travis Hull and Wade Barbay, first time in the money! Great job fellas! Wade had the distinction of getting his phone wet and not being able to compete Sunday. I met the guy on side the road last year,  told him to check out the club, and now he’s kicking my butt! Gotta love it!

Back at the Luxurious Galliano Inn, guys were hanging out waiting for Eric Stacey delicacies. Sean Rastanis told us someone had put a half eaten banana in his rod holder and when he jammed the rod in it, there was a mess. I’m not sure it had any effect other than maybe him casting his whole rod into the water. He’s digging that cork now! Big John showed up all clean and everything,  looking like a sunburned Qtip as his skull cap prevented his head from burning,  as the rest of his head had. Quite amusing. Chuck Bahan brought his homade boudin to the party and it was quite fine. Breck Hotard drove back from Jefferson parish to retrieve his measuring board he’d left at the launch. Chuck convinced him to split a room and a long deliberation about spooning advanced to a end. Eric’s chicken tortilla soup was fabulous and we finished off the evening by toasting Bain with John’s rum. The evening was the highlight of the brutal day, for most of us. Josh Redd and I had split a room and became unconscious.

 

Sunday

Woke up at 430. Could have used a couple more hours,  but got some coffee and ibuprofen to start my day. Josh rolled off to fish the redfish half of the tournament and I loaded up to go south. Justin Lang met me and we rolled to Leeville.  We launched and pedaled into the wind for a while,  somewhat protected,  in warmer conditions.  We got to a cut and I started throwing topwater,  score. 3 fat trout in the bag pretty quick.  The sun came quickly and the topwater bite suspended, I threw everything else. Caught a dink on jighead and moved. Caught a couple on Vuduencork then a cloud permitted another on topwater.  Sun back, I launched the Vuduencork near an island. It disappeared and shot away from the island, drag screaming.  Too big to be a trout,  figured I had a big red until the ugly beast showed its grotesque head. It wouldn’t be a trip to Leeville without a bull drum, but it was fun. We moved a couple more times and I started throwing Lemonheadaujig at some structure.  Boom, monster trout! It took out drag in two directions and at the net, got off. It was bigger than anything I caught last year. Yes, I cursed and yelled,  a couple times. Regained my composure and caught several nice trout. The wind had gotten brutal so we pedaled into it, hiding behind some islands.  Started casting through my arsenal and a cloud covered us. I cast upcurrent, upwind towards a point, hit and miss. Cast across the point and bingo, nice trout. I anchored immediately and probably caught 20 going back and forth between topwater and Lemonheadaujig . Awesome! They weren’t all legal but the actual was spectacular. The wind was supposed to shift more easterly and diminish. It turned and increased to 11 on the dial. We pedaled around a point and started drifting back towards the launch on the more protected side,  catching a few more along the way.  Justin had the pleasure of hooking his own bull drum but unfortunately, he pulled a Sean and his hook detached from his leader.  Awesome day!

I only caught 6 legal trout Saturday. Conditions changed and all my scouting was for naught.  I made up for it Sunday catching countless trout. Oh well.  Josh called me about noon. I’d beat him by a small margin on Saturday, but he’d caught 4 perfect 26.75” redfish on Sunday,  before anyone else. He was the king of the redfish today and in my little mind, I was the king of the trout. Except he got paid. Congratulations to all the DDD winners and thanks to the club for offering us some excellent  entertainment. Paddlepalooza is coming. I can’t wait!