OUTDOOR CORNER: Down in Dularge

Lyle Johnson
Wes is the man; a redfish and nice bass caught on successive casts “Down in Dularge”.

I’m 57 years old, and because of my dad, have been fishing probably since before my memory kicks in. One would think that going on a fishing trip wouldn’t generate much excitement after the hundreds of times I’ve gone through this before, but it’s just not the case and I’m sure that many reading this kinda knows the feeling as well.

It usually starts off sort of innocent, with a question from my son. “Daddy, you got anything planned for this Saturday?” The reply is, “What do you have in mind?” “I’m thinking about taking a fishing trip to Decade on Saturday,” is his answer. “I’m in,” is my quick reply and the process starts.

Wesley and my nephew Taylor made a trip there a couple of weeks ago and had a great trip catching plenty of bass, over ten redfish, a flounder and a speckled trout. This only adds fuel to the fire as thoughts of setting the hook on lots of bass and maybe a redfish or two begin to dance in my mind on a regular basis.

The ritual is pretty much the same; each night in anticipation of the trip, one can see cypress trees full of knees and a hundred places you can pitch a plastic bait and can actually feel the tap of the strike. Then comes the hook set.

You can actually feel the fight until the fish is landed and released. The scenario is repeated until sleep comes.

Usually at least one trip to the tackle shop is in order because someone parted with a secret bait that’s been producing or you ran out of the bait they were biting on last time. Preparation is next and that can last for a long time if you’re not careful.

If you’re going by yourself, the sky is the limit on the amount of tackle you can bring. Usually, like this time I’m going with someone (my son) so I have to be selective about the number of rods and the amount of baits that are loaded into the boat.

A lot of thought goes into which baits you are starting with. One rod will sport a top water bait of some type. We’re heading to Lake Decade, so a spinner bait is a must in case the redfish and bass are in the same spots. Then come the plastics; this is my favorite style of fishing. I love to jerk after feeling the strike, it pumps me up!

I have a new rod to try; an Abu Garcia Vendetta, a 7’ spinning rod with medium action. A matching Abu Garcia 102 reel is spooled with 30# Berkley Trilene Fireline braid. A #1 X-point hook and a 1/8 Baby-Toe tungsten weight(downsizing has been the key for me) is tipped with a watermelon/red brush hog will probably be my go-to weapon of choice for this day. Everything is ready and now I have to try and get some sleep. Good luck with that.

While getting up at 3:30 in the morning is not on the top of my list, when going on a fishing trip one usually wakes up before the alarm goes off. One might have a problem leaving on time for most activities but fishing trips usually start a little ahead of schedule. A prayer is offered and head down the road to Falgout Canal Marina!

Strategy on how to fool the fish is discussed, how much fun we had on the last trip and how bad we are gonna smoke the bass ends up in the mix of discussion as we try to pass the two hours it take to get there. Outdoors with Don Dubuc is on the radio as we pull up to the marina.

Our strategy was to arrive about 15 minutes late so the launch wouldn’t be piled up with boats trying to get out before daylight and it worked perfectly. Although the parking lot is overflowing, there’s no line to launch and we get in the water easily.

The thrill of cranking the motor and leaving the launch at daylight never gets old. Folks are hustling to get under way, pelicans are heading out for the morning feeding and the laughing gulls are making their usual annoying calls; it won’t be long now.

As we head out of Falgout Canal into Lake Decade, I see a handful of boats fishing for speckled trout. The lake is famous for its wintertime trout fishing and things must be getting underway but we have green fish on our minds so we head for our first stop.

Wesley is chunking a spinner bait and I’m pitching the plastics but action is more than a little slow. We can’t quite figure it out as the water is a little low from the cold fronts but it’s clear and the tide is falling. Wesley catches 4 on the spinner bait and I catch a few on the plastic, but we leave the first spot a little discouraged.

Spot #2 produces nothing, nada, not even a strike. Spot #3 is a point with pretty good current and we pick up a small fish every now and then. Still wondering about what’s going on, we decide to leave what we thought would be our best spot for greener pastures, we make another pass down the bank where we’d made hundreds of casts with no luck.

Then it happened; one fish, then another, then another and things were on track. They even got a little bigger. After about an hour and plenty of company, we decided to head back toward the marina and hit one more spot.

When we stopped, Wesley picked up the spinner bait and I chose the plastic. I soon landed a bass, and then Wesley make two consecutive casts and lands a 4 ½ # redfish on one and a really nice bass on the next. “Well done,” was my comment and we headed out. Our tally for the day was over 50 bass and 3 redfish.

That’s the kind of day that keeps you up at night. The Abu Garcia Vendetta spinning rod; it was a hit. It has very good action and hook setting power like I’ve never experienced before. The 1/8 Baby-Toe tungsten weight did the job once again, even in the swift current. The bass seemed to like the slower fall a lighter weight provides.

Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. So until next time have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God bless you.