Outdoor Corner: On the Road Again

Lyle Johnson
An oddity for sure, our brother-in-law Gerry Nelson caught this flounder on the bridge that had two dark sides. The only white is on the gill plates.

On the road again . . . On the road again . . . I love fishing with my friends, and I can't wait to fish along the road again. I hear the melody of that extremely popular Willie Nelson song as I'm on my way to Grand Isle to meet up with my co-host on Ascension Outdoors TV and brother-in-law, Goosie Guice.

We're on a Guice family trip to the coast as some are coming from Nebraska and North Carolina for a short reunion, some fishing, and of course some good eating. Some of the time has been utilized to catch some crabs for boiling and the rest for fishing, trying to stock up for the fish fry on Friday night.

The patriarch of the family, Sonny Guice brought his boat for the out-of-towners to fish in, but me and Goosie will take all those left over to forage along the roadside for our catch. These tandem methods usually work out to have plenty of fillets available for the fish fry.

The boat will head to the public launch at Fourchon and work their way towards East Timbalier Island. We'll do the shrimp shuffle, trying to get us some live bait before all the bait shops sell out on the "before daylight run."

After the comedy of errors in securing bait, the next priority is to secure a spot to fish. The three bridges on La. 1 between Fourchon and Grand Isle are a great place to catch fish but they are high in demand as well so you have to beat the crowd in order to find a fishable spot.

It's the end of the summer rush to the coast, and the Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo happened the weekend before. The kids are going back to school, and all the vacations have been taken so the Island was not as crowded as usual. But that didn't mean that the "Road Warriors" would not be out in force.

I left Ascension parish early on Friday morning to meet up with Goosie, his daughter Kaitlyn, and her boyfriend Josh as they had claimed a spot on one of the three bridges on La. 1 just outside of Grand Isle.

Part of my mission was to stop at Moran's Marina to pick up some live shrimp to add to the hundred or so they had already bought before daylight. It was about 8 a.m., and I was armed with shrimp so my anticipation level was up there pretty good when I got to the bridge where the gang was.

There was one flounder and one spec already in the box as the bite was a little slow. The bridges can be a great spot to catch fish, but its not random. Just like fishing out of a boat, you have to play the tide.

At daybreak the tide was coming in, and an incoming tide is good to fish. You have to stay with it as about an hour before the tide stops and the hour it starts to fall is usually when it happens. It worked out pretty well for us and the family fish fry.

One downside when using live shrimp is the by catch. You have to wade through plenty of hardhead and gafftop catfish, pinfish, and lots of other bait stealing critters that you never see, but eventually you catch something for the box.

When we got back to Ricky's Motel at the cleaning shed we laid out seven beautiful specs, three nice flounder, a croaker, a sheepshead and a white trout. The crew in the boat had a little better fortune and they had over twenty specs to take care of with the fillet knives.

The fishing is fun but the real deal was the fish fry on the patio. Deborah and I fried about six or seven pounds of filleted speckled trout, french fries, and hush puppies for 12 of us to enjoy. After a great meal, Goosie broke out his guitar for me, him, and our niece Natalie Peterson to play and sing for some great entertainment. Nothing quite like family.

Road warriors are my heroes. It takes lots of time, effort and patience just hanging in there along with not always catching fish. They were out in force last weekend. On our way back home Saturday, there were at least a hundred adults and kids fishing along the roadside.

Now for a dose of reality. In four days the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries took part in search and recovery of three boating fatalities. Enforcement agents are investigating a double fatal boating incident that claimed the life of two people in Morehouse Parish.

The bodies of Margaret Davis, 70, and Michael Davis, 55, both of Monroe, were recovered from the Bartholomew Cutoff shortly after the 12-foot vessel they were in capsized around 1:30 p.m. on July 28.

According to the lone survivor, he and both the Davis' were in a vessel fishing in Bartholomew Cutoff when one of them stood up causing the vessel to tip and eject the three of them in to the water. The survivor was able to make it to the bank with the aid of a floating cooler that was also ejected into the water and contact first responders.

The LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident. None of the occupants in the boat were wearing a personal flotation device at the time of the incident.

Four days later search and rescue crews recovered the body of a missing boater in Terrebonne Parish this morning, Aug. 1. The body of Roy Lebouef, 69, of Montegut, was recovered around 6:30 a.m. in the vicinity of where he fell overboard from his vessel the day before.

The LDWF, Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office, and the U.S. Coast Guard were notified around 1 p.m. on July 31 about an unmanned 16-foot vessel in Bayou Terrebonne just south of Bush Canal. The search crews responded immediately to the area to look for Lebouef.

 It is unknown at this time how Lebouef fell overboard. His body was found without a personal flotation device. The real tragedy was that none of the three victims had life jackets on. Something to think about.

So until next time, remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard, please 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 Gonzales Fire Dept on Orice Roth Rd. starting at 7:00 p.m. A meal served and special speaker will be in attendance.

Wednesday Evening Bass Tourney: Every Wednesday at Canal Bank from 5:00 p.m. until dark. Fee $40/boat, one time registration fee of $40 going toward the Classic Tournament. Weekly event through spring, summer. Call Canal Bank for information. 225-695-9074.

CCA Louisiana S.T.A.R. Fishing Rodeo: May 25 thru Sept 2 summer-long CCA Louisiana saltwater fishing event. Tagged Redfish, Offshore, Inshore, Ladies & Children's divisions. Registration required. Must be CCA member. Website: ccastar.com.

Inaugural Patrick Taylor Fishing Rodeo: Aug. 17—2 p.m. weigh-in, Nick's Marina, Lafitte. Fee $25. Heaviest Fish, Trout, Redfish, Big Bass, 5-bass Stringer, 5-trout Stringer, redfish/most spots. Benefits Patrick Taylor Science & Technology Academy. Call Teyvn Cagins 504-729-0489. Email: tcagins@pftsta.jppss.k12.la.us.

Ascension Area Anglers Open Tournament: August 17 at Doiron's Landing in Stephensville. Pick your partner, entry fee $100 per team, 75 percent payback. Application available at www.fishingfortucker.com. Call Ryan Lavigne for info 225-921-9332.

Ride the Bull Extreme Kayak Redfish Tournament: August 23 & 24 taking place at Bridgeside Marina in Grand Isle. Sponsored by CCA Louisiana. For all the info & registration go to www.ccalouisiana.com.

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