OUTDOOR CORNER: Living on the Diversion Canal a dream come true

Lyle Johnson
Kimberly Carmouche, 13, poses with her first fish ever! A 13-inch blue cat from the Diversion Canal.

Over the years, I’ve written about fishing off my pier on the Diversion Canal. Well, we finally built our dream home and get to stay there every day. It’s a dream come true for Deborah and me.

This lends itself to lots of fishing and last Sunday was no exception. As I prepared to cut a little grass, I took three fishing poles out and baited them with night crawlers, while preparing to start the weed eater.

As fate would have it, the first one I set had some action and a 12” blue cat came to the pier and into the ice chest. Before I could get anything going as far as grass cutting was concerned, another rod had a fish on it as well.

The action was pretty regular, so I knew if I kept this up much longer; the grass would never get cut. I called by brother, Bret to see if he had any interest in catching some catfish and he was soon on his way.

When he arrived, four more catfish and one gaspergou had been caught and no grass had been cut. I turned the fishing operation over to him and began my yard chore. Out of the corner of my eye, he would be setting the hook pretty regular and removing another catfish to add to the ice chest.

The grass cutting didn’t take too long and about the time I finished, Deborah returned from a short shopping trip and joined us out on the pier to take in some of the very nice weather we’ve been having lately and watch a few more catfish being caught.

A long time friend, Kim Carmouche and fellow graduate of the 1971 class at East Ascension, came over for a visit with his wife, Alma and youngest daughter, Kimberly. We started conversation about family while sitting back and just soaking in the pleasure of being outside and enjoying great company.

The fish were still biting and Bret asked the youngest Carmouche a question, “Would you like to catch one?” She quickly replied, “Sure.” So the quest was on to get this young lady introduced to catching a fish. That was just up my alley as watching a kid or young person catch their first fish is pretty close to the top of my list of cool things to do.

It took a couple of attempts for her to get accustomed to gripping the rod correctly and detecting the bite, but she finally set the hook on her first fish and the fight was on! She reeled in a 13” blue cat and the smile on her face was unmistakable. She posed for a photo that her mother could send to one of her sisters that enjoys fishing to make her just a little jealous.

She repeated that scenario once more a few minutes later and I hope that just may have stirred up something inside her that might get her interested in fishing. Maybe the catfish wasn’t the only one that got hooked that day! Certainly looked like it to me.

We left the catfish biting as we headed to the house to give the Carmouche family a brief tour of the house. The tally of catfish for the day was thirteen; not bad for an impromptu outing on the pier.

Now would be a great time to make a catfishing trip close to home. Just about anywhere in the Blind River/Amite River area would probably result in a pretty successful catch.

The shad have spawned and there are billions of small shad swimming in schools all over the water. I watch them every day, swimming by and getting hammered by small bass and other fish that are taking part in the feeding frenzy. This includes catfish and they are taking advantage of the bounty. That makes them pretty easy to catch.

The best tip I could share would be a trip to Lake Maurepas, either where Blind River or the Amite River flows into the lake. This is a really good time of the year to invest a day on the water and catch a mess of fish for a fish fry.

Night crawlers would be one of my selections of bait to use as they are readily available and last pretty well on the hook. Shad would be my top choice, but you’d need to catch them. The newborns are a little small, but if I couldn’t catch any larger ones, the smaller ones could get you through.

Find a spot with current (shouldn’t be too hard to locate) and put down an anchor. Drifting with the wind or current is OK as well and might help to find a school; then drop your anchor. Tight lining on the bottom is the tried and true method to get to filling up an ice chest.

It’s a great time to be outdoors so 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.