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I had a business trip to New Orleans this week. Last November, David, a friend in nearby Slidell, told me he had won a guided fishing trip at a CCA banquet, and asked me and another friend from Houston (Mike) to join him. Since Mike was attending the same meeting as me, we agreed to come in a day early and take the trip today.

I have never caught a redfish, and have been seriously trying for the past year. Today I took my third charter trip in Louisiana in 11 months. I have enjoyed each of the trips, but have still not reached my redfish goal.

Today's trip started about 7:00 am on the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain. This is a large salt water embayment just north of New Orleans. We went with Capt. Kenny Kreeger, who guides here. Capt. Kenny is credited with catching an 11.99-lb speckled trout a few years ago. That fish is the second largest speck caught in Louisiana waters. I fished one other time with Capt. Kenny. He clearly knows his local waters. It was a bad omen that Capt. Kenny called us during dinner last night and dropped hints to discourage us from going today. The weather was cold for LA (<30 degrees this morning), very windy, and the tide started low and stayed low all day (tidal range of only 4" today). Being gung-ho fishermen, we ignored the captain's hints and showed up ready to catch fish.

We started the morning with a 15 minute ride at 30 mph into a 20 mph wind. We did not get much spray off of the 24' Blue Wave bay skiff, but it was quite cold. We began fishing a sheltered canal where he hoped to find some redfish. (1st photo) The three of us in the fishing party cast to good looking shorelines while Capt. Kenny moved us slowly along with the trolling motor. We were using 3/8" jig heads and Cocahoe minnows (soft plastic minnow baits with paddle tails -- see http://www.landbigfish.com/tacklestore/showcase.cfm?PID=2906)

After 45 minutes and nary a bite, we moved out into more open water where we blind-casted for speckled trout. The wind was howling, and the trolling motor was not able to make much headway. We did find several small pods of fish, but they were moving and so were we, often in opposite directions. Eventually we anchored up in a promising location where we caught about 20 specks. After 2 hours of this, we left fish to find fish. That proved to be a poor choice.

We motored into an area with new lavish waterfront homes that have been built since hurricane Katrina. (2nd photo) This area has held fish before but they were not biting today. We tried several other sheltered areas with no luck. Later we tried casting along the piliings of a long bridge. This is where I had fished last April with good success. However, today we came up empty there. We did see a group of about 10 dolphin that were working together to feed. (3rd photo) We were able to get within about 50 feet of them and they were not scared by our presence.

We ended the day with sun and wind-burned faces, the only parts of our bodies that had not been bundled up. My back is stiff from hundreds of casts, but the memories of fishing in January and seeing the natural beauty of the area are worth it. My redfish quest continues.
 

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Thanks for posting the pics, John. You can sure see the storm damage on the shoreline from Katrina. Nice looking fish, too.
 

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You didn't do bad considering the cold front.You fished a new area,got to see some new scenery and enjoyed yourselves.I just love fresh seatrout sauteed in butter in a frying pan.
 

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Hey John :) , considering the conditions you you guys were facing ya done real good. That's a nice mess of fish there.;) Your redfish is a pretty good excuse to fish another day too.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey John :) , considering the conditions you you guys were facing ya done real good. That's a nice mess of fish there.;) Your redfish is a pretty good excuse to fish another day too.:)
I agree with you Virgil. My quest to catch a yellow perch last winter forced me out of the house and made me explore new areas and new techniques. When I decided a few years go that I wanted to catch a nice tarpon, it took 5 separate charter trips before I got my quarry. It was a 170-lb fish. Each trip brings back different memories.

Fortunately, my travels bring me to the Gulf coast several times each year. Sooner or later I will get that redfish.
 

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Some nice spec's. Reds move in with some warmer water and Baraterrier Bay is usually a hot spot...any bayou leanding into the bay at falling tide will generally produce reds. Lived on Calcasieu Lake, a bay of the gulf, on the western side below Lake Charles for much of my life. Believe it or not 40# reds were not all that unusual back then.
 

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Try to get out on the Mississippi, Went down to Venice La and went out and caught more Reds than knew what to do with. Was 2 yrs back but still a hot spot to chartr from.
 
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