Even with the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend, it’s doubtful Grand Isle will be busier than it was last weekend.
With 700-plus kayak fishermen, plus a handful more in other paddlecraft, Ride the Bull 10 proved Louisiana is a powerful draw when it comes to attracting redfish anglers, no matter the fishing craft they decide to use.
The Ride the Bull is different than most ventures kayak fishermen tackle. A kayak is a “skinny” water vessel, and one of the reasons this sport has grown exponentially is Louisiana has lots of “skinny” water.
That’s what makes RTB unique: it’s fished in the deepwater run on Grand Isle’s west end — Caminada Pass with its near 50-foot depths and a place in the pass veteran redfish pursuers call “Gorillaville,” because it produces so many bull redfish (hence the name “ride the bull.”)
With storms ringing the island and sending other fishermen near and far back to the safety of launches and camps, weather smiled on this year’s RTB.
But, those storms held part of the blame for a reduced catch from the anglers, some of whom came as far as Australia — 28 states were represented — to compete for the top prize of a really tricked-out Wilderness kayak.
After RTB9’s 100-plus redfish catch, there were 30-something caught Saturday. Note here the fish are taken alive from the angler, placed in a live well on a “chase” boat, transported to the weighstation at nearby Bridge Side Marina, weighed, measured, inspected by a Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist, tagged, then released alive.
It took only a matter of minutes after RTB director Rad Trascher blew the horn to start Saturday’s event when a chase boat returned with a redfish. Maybe 20 minutes. Before 10 a.m. there were 11 redfish weighed and released, and that included the eventual winner, a 26.8-pounder hooked and landed by Erath’s Kevin Schexnaider. So, for the next handful of hours, everyone of the other 600-plus “yakers” were fishing for second place.
More on reds
Mike Gallo is all smiles these days. Why?
“We’ve just had the best August I can remember,” the top man at Angling Adventures of Louisiana said Monday.
“There are a lot of redfish in our area,” he said. “Maybe it’s because there’s so much bait, mullet, pogeys, everything, and it looks like they’ve moved into feed on the algae.”
Gallo fishes from Slidell — really, The Rigolets — and his report decries the world-as-we-know-it-is-over reports about how the algae build-up in Lake Pontchartrain (from the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway) would destroy this year’s fishing action in lakes Pontchartrain, St. Catherine and Borgne.
“And, it’s only going to get better,” Gallo said.
The “other” spillway making news is the Atchafalaya, and if you talk to Jimmy Sylvester and anyone else fishing Saturday’s Turner Industries’ Big Bass Bash, it’s easy to understand why the big Basin’s landings will be filled for the Labor Day weekend.
“My son and his fishing partner told me they caught 81 bass, and there were many others talking about catching 50 more more,” Sylvester said about his son Justin Sylvester and his BBB buddy Justin Obertheir, who finished third in the 70-boat field.
Jimmy said 45 boats weighed a five-fish limit, and most of the top action came from the Atchafalaya side of the levee from tournament HQ at Doiron’s in Stephensville.
The downside of the recent fish-catching explosion came from old friend Jake Donachricha.
His Friday trip into Little Pigeon Bayou and into Cross Bayou was filled with finding boats on every point. Cross Bayou had been a top sac-a-lait producing spot for the past two weeks.
“The water is still a little on the high side,” Jake said. “With all the boats north of Little Pigeon, we decided to hit the Cross Canal (links Little Pigeon to Big Pigeon Bayou) and we couldn’t get through with all the water hyacinth choking the canal.
“We went to the other spot to get into big Piegon and found the same thing. We couldn’t get through, guess there were logs that floated down and blocked the canals,” he said.
Patience, mon ami
Now that the word is out on the Atchafalaya, it’s important to keep your cool at the landings. You likely will be waiting in line to launch most everywhere, and courtesy demands you prepare your boat before you get to the launch area.
While boats are in line to get to the pad, please don’t wait until you get to the back-up spot to unload rods and reels ice chests and other provisions. Do that while you’re in line.
The same is true when taking out: move from the launch area to stow your gear.
And, there will be single fishermen. Give them a hand when you can.
Greg Hackney, the national touring pro bass guy from Gonzales, finished second in the weekend’s Redcrest tournament, the inaugural Major League Fishing’s champions event held in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
It’s difficult to get handle on how these events work this year, but Edwin Evers won $300,000 for his 85-pound-plus catch. From reports, Hackney got close to Evers in Round 2 on the final day, but Evers caught 34 bass in Round 3 to seal the deal.