Lake Fausse Point, Louisiana

August 16th, 2003

Finally, Cool Weather
By Roger Emile Stouff

Finally, not only did the weather improve, but a near-record breaking cool front settled over the area this week.

Of course, I had to work nearly every evening, just because the weather was so nice.

But I finally got a break on Thursday, and a couple hours before dusk, I threw my tackle into the back of the truck and took off for the nearest pond I could find. Okay, I didn't "throw" it into the back of the truck, but you get the idea.

Arriving at the pond of my choice, I quickly assembled and strung up my five-weight Redington RedFly. In the spring, I usually fish this pond with a four-weight, but by July it has grown heavy with weeds. The fish really aren't large enough here to justify a heavier rod, but the five-weight has just enough backbone to drag a few out of the vegetation.

I had to decide what to put on the leader. After a round of deliberations, I settled on a Jitterbee under a strike indicator. This received only a few half-hearted nibbles. I wanted to work a black bugger around the edge of the weedbeds, but they had grown considerably since I was last at this point and I had little faith in my success.

When the breezes finally succumbed near dusk, I was ready with my all-time favorite popper, the Accardo Spook, and the little bass thanked me by attacking it with enthusiasm. I could barely get the head of the line out. They'd ravish the Spook just off the edge of the bank I stood upon.

It was a great hour or so of fishing. Did wonders to improve my mood after months of daily rain and several weeks of temperatures that kept me stuck inside the house. The little bass, the largest no more than twelve inches, the smallest less than six, were jubilant and invigorated under the cooling air.

I'm told that the goggle-eye and chinquapin are literally jumping into the boat on Grande Lake a couple miles from my home. I plan to get out there this weekend and verify this. By the way, "goggle-eye" are something like warmouth and "chinquapin" are shellcrackers, I believe. Just like "crappie" are called "sac-au-lait" down here in Acadiana. Then there's the "choupique" which is known elsewhere as the bowfin, which I firmly believe is more eel than fish.

We also catch the occasional "gaspergoo," which is a carp of legendary note. From this the Cajuns make "courtboullion," an oily dish served on rice and pronounced "koo-bee-yon." Years ago, when they were much more prolific, we caught "goojahn" in the bayou, the great yellow catfish.

Yes, it gets difficult to know what the heck we're catching. Every manner of panfish, except sac-au-lait, are pretty simply just "perch." Only a few of us make distinction between the species. We catch "barfish" in the rivers, along points where water is rushing fast, though these are more commonly referred to as "white bass."

Anyway, I hope to finally get some serious fishing in this weekend. I have a stash of new Jitterbees ready to go. The boat just returned from the shop after the engine blew a head gasket last weekend on my one failed attempt to go to the lake. I imagine the heat got to it, too. I feel like I'm about to blow a head gasket when it gets that hot. There's nothing more humiliating, too, than getting towed in. Luckily my neighbor was on the lake already, and I called him by cell phone for a tow, so I didn't have to suffer the indignation of being towed by a total stranger, too.

Wish me luck! ~ Roger

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