Lake Fausse Point, Louisiana

May 9th, 2005

Vacation Report

Friday a week ago, I got off work at noon a free man for the following nine days.

I was on vacation. I love the word. It's a word that just sounds sorta divine, rather ethereal. My cousin Jim would be arriving Sunday from Ft. Worth, Texas, and by Monday we would begin a week of nearly nonstop fishing. I had a lot to do in the meantime: Cut grass, tidy up, get groceries, tie a few Jitterbees to round out my box, things like that. Sunday morning, I was giving the boat and trailer a good going over, and lubricating the trailer wheel bearings, the engine steering and so forth.

I turned the steering all the way to the right to lube the steering tubes, and it refused to turn back. The cable had kinked or broken somewhere inside its casing. I have a dual-cable system on the boat, so was able to just remove the bad one and go about my business while awaiting a new one, but it wasn't the safest thing to do. They put dual steering on big boats for a reason.

Still, Jim arrived Sunday afternoon with his mom as a surprise visitor, too. That was perfect, for our mothers were able to visit and keep each other company the duration of the trip.

I also picked this week to stop smoking. I knew that for the majority of the week I'd not be around anyone that smoked. Armed with a pack of nicotine lozenges, I smoked my last cigarette Sunday night.

Monday was our first trip of the week, out to Lake Fausse Pointe. The fish were not biting after a cold front came through Saturday night. I was pretty gripey, too, and the day was probably best considered a bust.

Tuesday we tried again, and this time started picking up a few fish here and there as the effects of the cold front dissipated, and the gnawing of the cigarette cravings got a little - I said, a little - easier on me. We found a small canal off an industrial waterway nearby that held beautiful bluegill and a few bass. It was also relatively isolated from the strong winds that have plagued Louisiana all spring.

We fished that canal all day. I cast a black and red Jitterbee under an indicator. The bluegill refused any other combinations, and they preferred but were not adamant about white legs rather than black on the Jitterbees. An eight-and-a-half foot Rapidan rod was probably overkill, but I was thankful for it when the occasional largemouth took my Jitterbee for a wild ride. I gave up fishing anything under eight-foot or less than five-weight around here. Too many large critters lurk these waters, from bowfin to giant catfish to lunker bass.

Near the end of the canal was a barely submerged tree stump full of fish. We pulled quite a few out. One particularly vicious occupant of the stump took Jim's indicator under, he set the hook on it, and the fish took him for a wild, rod-bending voyage under the boat, rushing from fore to aft, plunging like a submarine, racing off like a tarpon, and we were convinced we had a beauty of a bass on the line, but lo, we finally got it to hand and it was the most beautiful goggle-eye (warmouth) I have ever seen. It was dark as midnight with beautiful blue highlights along its fins and gills, truly a majestic creature.

The next day we made unsuccessful trips into the basin which resulted in no bites, so returned to the small canal, where we spent the remainder of the day continuing to get fish. Thursday we went back to the lake, our native waters, and spent a leisurely final day before Jim and his mom left for home on Friday, drifting among the cypress, picking up the medium-sized gills and small bass before turning the bow toward home.

We ended the week with a good stash of fish in the freezer, countless others released, and a good spring vacation. Jim is several years my senior and retired. We uncapped two bottles of Abita beer every night, and took our moms out for supper on Wednesday. A planned fish-fry on Thursday fell through for various reasons, and they left on Friday morning for home. My steering cable was in, so I installed it Friday and set about relaxing for the rest of the weekend before having to return to work. I've been needing this vacation for a long, long time. It was well-spent, with family and on good waters with good fish.

Oh, and I still haven't smoked. I think I got it licked at last. ~ Roger

It's out! And available now! You can be one of the first to own a copy of Roger's book. Native Waters: A Few Moments in a Small Wooden Boat

Order it now from www.iuniverse.com, Amazon.com, or Barnes & Noble.com. Roger will also be giving away three autographed copies to readers. Stay tuned, for an announcement on the Bulletin Board on that soon.


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