Lake Fausse Point, Louisiana

November 28th, 2005

Fly Fishing America: The Louisiana Edition, Part 2

(Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of columns on Roger Stouff making the second of two episodes of Fly Fishing America with Black-feet Indian Joe Kipp of Montana.)

It was not quite dawn when I arrived to meet the film crew and Joe Kipp at the Forest Motel in town. From there I led them to a nearby service station and quick-mart to meet our guide and hosts for the day. It was kinda rough having come in late from picking Joe up at the airport and getting up early to head out for fishing, but my excitement kept me driven.

St. Mary Parish Sheriff David Naquin had kindly volunteered months earlier to guide us on a trip to the marshes below Houma, Louisiana, in search of redfish and speckled trout. With the generous help of local anglers Lamon Miller and Carlos Snellgrove we were hopeful that the weather would hold long enough to let us get a few fish on film. A massive cold front was predicted for later in the day.

A few cups of coffee all around then we loaded up the vehicles and headed for Bayou Dularge.

We were all hopeful, but warily. The cold front was coming some time Tuesday evening, and winds were predicted at up to 30 miles per hour with an 80 percent chance of rain. Remarkably, by the time dawn slipped in that morning, the chance of rain had dimished dramatically, the arrival of the cold front pushed back a few hours, and all that really remained was a brutal. gusting wind all day long. You know the old saying: If you don't like the weather in Louisiana, stick around a minute. At few times has it been more true than that Tuesday.

Joe Kipp and I rode to Dularge with the Sheriff and Miller, and everybody seemed to hit it off pretty quick. We talked a lot about redfish and speckled trout fishing, about hurricanes and coastal erosion, about the general health of the fishery here. Turns out Joe had done some red-fishing in Texas once but, like me, had yet to hook into one. We were still cautiously hopeful we would do so that day.

Carlos provided a breakfast of darn good biscuits when we got to the camp in Dularge while the boats were being loaded and readied, then we all headed out into a pounding surf and busting winds. Joe and I were in the sheriff's boat, and the crew in Snellgrove's with he and Miller.

While the theme of both episodes of the show both in Montana and in Louisiana will be "Native Waters" as borrowed from my book title, Dularge actually fits the bill. The Chitimacha Nation, at contact, stretched from beyond Houma to the east to about Lafayette on the west, before giving way to other nations. We also occupied the area from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico.

I can't say how many hours we tried to catch, because it all became a blur, but I can tell you this: My father always claimed the most important truism about fishing is that they were either biting yesterday, or you should come back tomorrow. Those who were not supposed to be making a fly fishing television show were fishing artificial baits and fresh shrimp, but an entire day of fishing these only resulted in the landing of one small redfish, a decent speckled trout, a catfish, and two small black drum. I hooked into one fish and lost it, and Joe came close two or three times as well, but no cigar. You can't blame it on the fly fishing, though: The shrimp-anglers were not doing a whole lot better! Several times Joe had fish chase his fly to the boat then veer off without a take.

We ran all over creation looking for an elusive combination of criteria: Spots with as little wind as possible, and with fish that would bite. It proved to be too tall an order, but as Naquin said - more than once - that's why it's called "fishing" and not called "catching."

Despite the urgency of getting at least a few fish caught on film, it would be impossible to say that we didn't all have a great time. The "fishing experience" was excellent, with lots of good-natured ribbing, mostly at my expense, but hey, I don't mind being the catalyst of good cheer. We broke for a lunch of sandwiches and chips then chased fish around a little longer to no avail. Early in the afternon we called it quits and decided to head for some freshwater ponds back in St. Mary Parish.

We hooked into a couple bass here, lost both at the boat, but decided it was worth coming back for Wednesday with my bigger boat. We knew the temperature would be dropping about 20 degrees and the winds would continue to howl, but the crew was running out of time and we still hadn't enough footage of fishing to make the show work.

That night we all cleaned up and returned for supper at the Forest Restaurant. Joe asked for recommendations and was recommended fried crawfish and etouffee with a stuffed potato, which he enjoyed thoroughly. We were all pretty whipped by then, and retired fairly early. The next day we would return to the freshwater ponds to try again, though conditions would be even more difficult than the day before. ~ 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.


Previous Native Waters Columns

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