Thursday, October 19, 2017

BLOG: Bryant - Catching Them In Cajun Country

My teammate, Trey Russo, and I are back to reality after an amazing few days of fishing in southeastern Louisiana.

The second event of the 2010 Redfish Series season was based out of Delacroix, Louisiana - about an hour southeast of New Orleans. Trey and I pre-fished for two weekends leading up to the event and then headed back two days before the tournament to find the the final pieces to our pre-fishing pattern puzzle.

We started off our first day in Venice, La. at Capt. Billy Nicholas' Venice Fishing Lodge. If you ever make it down to Venice (and you should), there's no need to look any further than Venice Fishing Lodge when it comes to a place to stay. Billy knows how to treat his guests. There was breakfast waiting on us when we woke up, lunches packed for our fishing day and a meal fit for kings sizzling on the grill when we got back in. In fact, Billy might want to consider changing his title from Captain to Chef - that dude can cook! I've stayed at dozens of lodges, and I can honestly say that VFL is hands-down one of the best I've ever seen. But enough about the lodge... let's talk about fishing.

I've got one word to describe the redfishing in Venice: INSANE!

If you love to catch redfish, then Venice is your Mecca. You haven't experienced how awesome catching redfish can be until you've driven your boat down the Mississippi River and hooked into one of these delta-dwelling brutes! The fish are big, plentiful and they fight harder than any redfish I've ever come across. I thought our Texas reds could pull, but WOW, those river fish in Venice are flat-out mean!

Trey and I found a couple reliable patterns in Venice that we could duplicate in a few different areas. We were catching consistent 14-pound stringers, and felt pretty good about what we'd learned. We scarfed down one last meal of stuffed pork chops and red beans and rice courtesy of Chef Billy and got on the road to Delacroix to put in a day of prefishing near the launch site to see if we could find a solid bite close by.

I had prefished the Delacroix/Hopedale area two weeks before so I had a pretty good idea of what we needed to be looking for. Trey and I started hitting marsh lakes with tea-colored water and deep mud banks and it wasn't long before we found a solid concentration of fish. We quickly put 13.5 pounds in the boat and decided it'd be smarter of us to stay close to Delacroix and get more fishing time than to make the long haul to Venice for only a couple hours of wet lines.

On tournament morning we made a short 20-minute run to our "A" lake and immediately started getting bites. We were fishing a little different pattern than many of the other teams. While most guys were doing a lot of running and sight-casting in clear water, we were trolling slowly along wind-blown blanks and blind-casting 3/8-ounce chatterbaits rigged with Texas roach BIG MINOs for trailers. We had experienced some high winds leading up to the tournament, so Trey and I didn't want to focus too much on a sight bite just in case we had a big blow on tournament day. We found that our fish actually bit better the harder the wind blew.

In an hour of fishing we'd caught about 7 fish and culled up to 12 pounds in the livewell. About that time the wind started picking up and we were feeling confident that the bigger fish would start actively feeding - but then, disaster struck. We pulled up the trolling motor and fired up the big engine to make a short 200-yard run upwind so we could fish a stretch of bank that had produced for us the day before. I nudged the throttle into gear and went to jump on plane when we felt the boat shake. The RPM gauge maxed out and the motor started whining. At first we thought we'd spun a prop, but when we pulled up the engine we realized we'd hit some underwater debris that did some damage to the lower unit. We wouldn't be able to make it back to the ramp... our fishing day was over.

After a couple phone calls to the tournament directors, the San Bernard Sherriff's department was en route to come tow us back to the launch. In the meantime we kept fishing hoping we could pop a couple of tournament-worthy fish before we had to say "uncle". I stuck one oversize fish and shortly after releasing it, we turned around to hear the rescue boat entering our lake.

We managed a 24th-place finish, which isn't bad considering we only fished for an hour. But it stings knowing that our area had a lot more potential. Had we been able work our area all day I think we could've make a Top-10 finish, but it just wasn't meant to be for us this time.

All-in-all the time we spent fishing in Louisiana was exceptional. We caught a ton of fish and had a blast learning new water. There are hundreds of lakes and miles upon miles of bayous teeming with aggressive redfish, trout and even bass. I can't wait to go back!

See ya' on the water,
Jason Bryant/Team TTF

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