I opened the front door Saturday morning to a very comfortable 59 degrees, calm winds and great expectations for what was about to take place.

Things don’t always work out like we plan sometimes. My Friday at work last weekend was getting exciting. It was the day before opening weekend of squirrel season. I had a cameraman lined up for filming an episode of Ascension Outdoors TV, and the adrenalin was flowing.

That was until about 1 p.m. when my boss came to my office and asked me if I could work a half-day tomorrow (Saturday!) to go through some needed training. I tried not to let my disappointment show while smiling and said, "Sure." That’s not exactly what I was thinking, but I got it out.

I phoned the videographer and cancelled the next morning. After throwing a pity party in my mind for longer than was necessary, I came to realize that this rather large bump in the road might just work out in my favor a lot better than expected. Man was I right!

The forecast for that next day was 74 degrees for the low and a high temperature of around 93. I would have been soaking wet with sweat before I walked to my first spot. Not to mention the mosquitoes would have been very active and hungry.

I quickly looked at the 10-day forecast, and discovered that our first cold front would come through Wednesday night into Thursday morning. That meant the temperature on Saturday morning would be around 59 degrees and would likely keep Hurricane Michael to our east.

As the next week went on, the forecast held true. I opened the front door Saturday morning to a very comfortable 59 degrees, calm winds and great expectations for what was about to take place. After all the gear was loaded up I headed out to meet my videographer and headed to the woods.

At age 65 and many hunts under my belt, you’d think this sort of thing would get old. But it doesn’t. The closer it got to daybreak, the more my adrenaline was flowing and the more my heart raced.

I got a little concerned about 10 minutes after I thought it was light enough for the squirrels to be on the move eating breakfast, and none were to be seen. A few minutes later, the first one made its mistake. After one shot from my trusty Remington 1100 left-handed shotgun, it hit the ground with a thud.

The next squirrel heard or saw us and gave us the slip which was a little disheartening, but not totally unexpected as the bushy-tailed critters can see and hear pretty good. They’re also really good at slipping away, only showing themselves after it’s too late.

Number two took way longer than I expected. Squirrel number three saw us as well, but in trying to give us the slip it stopped for about three seconds. It was just long enough for me to get a shot off.

I thought I took a good shot, but after the blast no squirrel fell. I didn’t see one running off. After about a minute I said to the cameraman, "Man, I thought that shot was dead on. I can’t believe I missed it."

I stood there for four or five minutes not quite knowing what to do. I was in shock from seeing three squirrels and having only one in my hunting sack. Then, all of a sudden a squirrel fell down to the ground dead as a hammer. I turned again to my side-kick and said, "I was just about to leave!"

We stayed in that area longer than we should have. A decision was made to move on. As we closed in on the other spot, we came to a small canal we had to cross. A squirrel was heading our way from the new area. We waited it out and dispatched it with a clean shot.

I was encouraged after seeing that squirrel, so we tried to sneak in the big oak trees. It was the middle of the morning, so I knew it would be a challenge as they would already be feeding and had the advantage.

Sure enough, two squirrels including a really big fox squirrel gave us the slip before we shot our fourth one. Another two or three slipped away before getting number five. That’s the number we ended up with and didn’t see anymore before calling it at 10:45. All in all we had a great day. You can see all the action on EATEL channel 4 or 704 HD during the month of November.

Moreover, every so often I give a "State of the Pier" address. This one is not so great. The water has been above normal levels for about two months. The catfish were not biting great but I was catching some nice ones, actually losing one around 50 lbs.

The east wind blew really hard for about a week before the aforementioned hurricane, and the catfish stopped biting. By the time Michael passed, the water was almost at flood stage in French Settlement. The river was closed to boat traffic. The catfish bite came to an abrupt standstill.

I spend enough time out on the pier. I'm there at all times of the day and night. My wife said she created a monster when we moved there. I’ve seen a lot of strange and unique things, and I’ve caught many different species of fish including saltwater species near the lake.

But this one tops the cake. I headed out to the pier one night to check the lines I keep baited and had what appeared to be a really nice catfish. After a 3 or 4 minute battle, what appeared to be a stingray was on the end of my line.

I picked it up to the deck after getting my wife and her phone for some video and pictures. It turned out to be a skate, which is very similar to a stingray. I caught another one a couple of days later. You just never know. The good thing about all this water coming in is that it's remarkably clear. But the bass, bream, and sac-a-lait are really biting when the water is falling.

Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard, be safe in the outdoors, and may God truly bless you!

Lyle Johnson is a free-lance writer, co-host of Ascension Outdoors TV and Curator of the Louisiana State Fish Records. He can be contacted at reelman@eatel.net.

Outdoor Calendar

EASL Monthly Meeting: 3rd Monday every month, East Ascension Sportsman’s League meeting held at Chef KD’s on Highway 74 starting at 7 p.m. A meal served and special speaker will be in attendance.

Squirrel season: Oct 7-Feb 28, daily bag limit 8, possession 24.

Rabbit season: Oct 7-Feb 28, daily bag limit 8, possession 24.

CCA S.T.A.R. Banquet: Oct 18 @ 5:00 p.m., Live Oak Arabians, 6300 Jefferson Highway, Baton Rouge. Tickets $50 (free for youngsters 12 and younger). Call CCA 225-952-9200.

Delta Waterfowl Banquet: November 2 at Lamar Dixon Expo Center starting at 6 p.m. with dinner starting at 7:30. Contact Kristen Latiolais at 225-315-3023 or email kristen.latiolais@la.gov.

Need an event publicized? Contact Lyle at reelman@eatel.net