Friday, November 07, 2008

Another fishing day!

I tell you what. . . fishing is hard work. The worst part is getting up before dawn. Hah. But Captain Gary is determined to find you fish. I don't think he was as happy with the day's efforts as we were. Anytime you can throw your line into the ocean and catch fish is fun, even if they are not keepers.

Yesterday we headed out at 7 a.m. to what Gary calls the redfish rig. It is an oil rig and we anchored close to it and fished into the pilings. The problem was that a barge tied off to the rig had a dive flag down, so we couldn't go into the spot Gary wanted, but that couldn't be helped. We started catching fish like crazy. Gary was a little miffed because they were all catfish and he doesn't like catfish. He said these we caught have flesh the color of liver and they don't taste very good. We would have had our limit if they were good eating. Several times one of us would be waiting to have a critter removed from our hook because he was taking one off another. I think it's safe to say Gary hates catfish. Hah! And to those who are critical of us for not taking our own fish off the hooks, Captain Gary insists. Everything coming out of the ocean will either bite or cut you and he always removes the fish. Even the trout we caught have two fang-like teeth. Other fish we caught have "mouthfuls" of teeth. Gary said they have they best dental plan. We actually did catch a couple other fish at the rig which went into the box. We moved around a lot and caught a couple most places we went. Fortunately we didn't snag into the long dark objects which Gary thought might be drum, but turned out to be sharks about 5 feet long. They looked huge to me, especially the one that swam right by the boat.

We fished in the bay, Timbalier Bay. We fished "at the front" which is the term for fishing right before you would pass into the ocean. A cold front was to be coming in and rain and wind was expected. Seas were to be 2-3 feet and Gary said you always add 1 foot, so the possibility of 4-foot seas kept us in the Bay. No matter. The bay is huge and we actually lost sight of land all around. Gary, however, would point out landmarks which we didn't recognize, but he did.

Gary drove us by Pelican Island which is a rookery for Pelicans. He talked about the changes since Gustav and Ike came through and the island is much smaller as a result of the storms. In the spring there are many more birds than we saw today, but we still saw thousands.

We eventually came in and had some lunch, then went back out and fished the other side of the marsh in some canals. Brandon caught his biggest fish back there and I was fortunately to catch it on video. We continued to catch fish and we ended up with our freezer full and a large cooler for Brandon to take back to Florida.

On the way out in the evening, we passed by the bridges being built. The old bridge next to Gary and Jo's cabin is being replaced by a new bridge that really takes you completely over the marsh and eventually out to Grand Isle. It is a huge project, not unlike the bridges at the Florida Keys. The bridge at the camp now has a lift section for the big boats and the horn sounds 5 times whenever the bridge goes up and then down. In addition, the steel deck is very noisy every time trucks drive over it. The new bridge will be high enough it will not move and it will be much quieter here in the camp.

Just across the canal from the camp are some unusual items that are out of the water. They are actual crypts from a graveyard. One is solid concrete and not opened, so one must presume the remains are still intact. The others are brick and are broken open. They have been there for years. There is a lot of speculation as to where the cemetary was located and Captain Gary has taken many news teams (even the NY Times) over to the site to try to learn something of the crypts.

Some of you may wonder about how the hurricanes have effected Leeville and this area. They are devastating. Katrina did a lot of damage here and the camp was entirely flooded. Gary's building was not here then. Gustav pummeled it with 104 mph winds for 10 hours and his cabin almost looks untouched. The camp was covered with 8 feet of water and the travel trailers left in the camp rolled over on their sides and slid down the rows, knocking out the power and water pedastals. It is safe to say most of the camp was destroyed. However, most of the docks remain and houses on stilts made it through for the most part. A lot of cabins out in the marsh were destroyed, however. The tenants are moving back into the camp. We are not on an actual campsite as the ones which have services are back in service with their regular tenants. No other sites were available to us with services, so we are boondocking off to the side. Last night Brandon was watching TV as Terry and I were checking email on our computers with the Datastorm. The air was on. Brandon said, "So this is boondocking?" Yep, our style of boondocking anyway!

If any of you are looking for fishing and fun, Captain Gary promises and delivers both. He is very patient and very good at finding and catching fish. He is a former teacher and principal and is an excellent teacher who will gently instruct you in how to catch fish. His jokes keep you laughing and it is a most enjoyable experience. He has both a bay boat, which he uses in the bay and marshes and a Boston Whaler with twin outboards which will take you miles out into the ocean. He is licensed and certified and knows what he is doing. You are safe with him and the trip will be a memorable one!

Till next time. . .


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