Thursday, August 14, 2014

Family vacation and a little fishing - Grand Isle, LA

It's been a crazy busy summer, filled with camps, birthdays, and various other events.  Planning a vacation has been very difficult to say the least.  But in the middle of July my wife and I decided that we wanted to combine a few of our annual trips in to one big trip.  So we hatched a plan to hit Grand Isle, LA...our base camp for 7 days.  This would allow us to get some much needed beach time in with the kids, make a trip to New Orleans and get a little fishing in for me....these are the 3 trips we regularly take each summer.

Super moon

I rented a nice beach house just big enough for us.  The short walk to the beach was much appreciated as I acted the part of a pack mule for the better part of 5 days...carrying the shade canopy, coolers, floaties, chairs, drinks, snacks, and many needed toys.  The beach was just our speed.  Seems we timed it just right b/c school started the Monday after we arrived and the beach was only busy 1 day the entire week.  We had it to ourselves nearly all week...perfect.  The only visitors we had were the constant parade of dolphins, crabs, gulls, and shrimp boats.  We enjoyed beautiful sunsets, rainbow's and a super moon.  We'll be back again for sure...can't recommend GI enough.  It was fantastic.

Dolphins playing

Empty beach just right for us!
I fished from the beach everyday but mostly caught dink specks.  We set a crab trap just for fun b/c our neighbors had boiled about 4 dozen crabs and shared them with us.  So all the crabs I caught were released after a little time in front of the family.

Caught about a dozen in a few hours.  Just for fun all went back into the surf.
These on the other hand were delicious.  Donated from a neighbor....they also donated their traps, boogie boards, net b/c they flew in from KS and couldn't take them back.  Cool with me.

On Friday and Saturday some friends drove down from Dallas with their kayaks.  Friday we got out about 6am.  The tide was rising and I could hear the reds in the grass.  At about 8:45, the weather changed for the worse.  I could see rain to the north of us.  I checked my phone and saw nothing close.  Then I looked behind me and what is best explained as a wall of water was headed straight for us.  So with a few minutes head start I made it back to my car soaked and had the pleasure of watching my buddies get punished by the blinding rain..those ascends REALLY are slow.  Having caught a few fish we waited it out.  After a 1.5 hour rain delay we were back out in the marsh chasing reds.  I caught 2 right away then the bite went dead until about 1pm.  I saw plenty but they were spooked easily.

Friday morning around 7am.  Clear skies. Water high in the grass.

Sight fished this guy before the storms.  ~30" red

Clock shows 9:29 and pouring outside.  Looked like this for over an hour.
Caught this one when the tide started to fall...afternoon delight.

The tide started falling pretty quickly and that's when the best bite happened.  As the reds were forced to flee the grass they were easy to spot cruising the shallows just along the grass line.  I sight fished and caught around 3 limits that day.  Most were caught on spoons, a few on a fluke.  I tried top water but it drew zero interest.  The water was stained and and the wind was light...ok conditions to sight fish.  We decided to pack it in at 5.  It was a full day of fishing with 3 limits of lower slot reds on ice.  I released several in the upper slot and 2 that were over 30"s.  A good day in my book.
Cooler full of reds = good day

So on Saturday the buddies wanted to rest and head out after lunch and meet the falling tide.  I met them in the same location and upon arriving I noticed something very peculiar.  It looked like they were making outriggers out of their kayaks.  I looked closer and sure enough, they had linked their 2 kayaks together.

Engineering masterpiece, but will it fish?

Very stable - yes.  Marsh machine - no

 I asked about it and they said they wanted them to be sight fishing machines...and they were the most stable things I have ever seen...many jumps and a few "toes on the nose" were witnessed.  Unfortunately for them Saturday was much different...muddy water and windy.  I managed to catch 13 reds and spooked about 25, I would spot one, lay the paddle down, and proceed to drift at mock 2 directly over the red.  At this point the red would go crazy and headbutt my cuda.  Catching 13 in 5 hours isn't bad, and I'm not complaining b/c the guys in the marsh machine caught 2, I guess they were wind catching machines.  But watching so many reds practice their hurricane evacuation plan was frustrating.

5 in the slot, most released yak side.

Wish I had gotten more time to fish but that's the compromise I made to vacation in GI and not Gulf Shores.  Sunday was more beach time.  On Monday we made our way to NOLA.  Hit the aquarium as the doors were opening at 10am.  It's a little jewel that we have taken our kids to the last 3 years.  Being a stay at home dad my wife makes a point to stop by the sea horse exhibit (google it and you'll understand)...I believe it's her favorite part of the aquarium.  After a few hours we made our way into the quarter for lunch, followed by a few beers, and then beignets at Cafe-Du-Monde.  At this point everyone was exhausted but we had one last stop.  We always take time to walk the grounds at Tulane (wife is an alumni).  We like to see the changes on campus from 1 year to the next.  Several years ago we noticed that our first apartment on 6440 So. Claiborne wasn't where we left it.  Upon further inspection we noticed that a new baseball field had replaced that old family housing building. A surprise for sure.

The last day was more beach time and surf fishing.  But nothing real interesting to report about the fishing...more dink specks.  This year I missed the RTB tournament by 1 year I'm planning on moving this trip back 1 week.  Excited!!!!


We couldn't have asked for a better place to spend our family vacation.  It ended way too soon.

This was one of those vacations that DIDN'T end with, "I'm sure glad to be home."


  1. Great job! Those crabs look delicious and well done on the Reds. I have only ever caught one but it was a great experience.

    1. Free crabs are always delicious. The reds make you question why you only "VISIT" the marsh. Life changing!!