In recent days I have finally made it home and had a chance to get back to the water. The plan started out innocently enough out of a need to upgrade my trout and flounder for the Cajun Grand Slam Tournament going on right now. I'd convinced a buddy of mine to play hooky from his morning gig and promised to have him back to the house by 4pm and be on time for his evening job. The weather seemed nice enough to make a trip to West Cove before it's shut down for the next six months. The plan was to make it to some reefs for sunrise and be clicking topwaters over slick calm conditions only to be interrupted by angry trout.
We were unloading and rigging kayaks an hour before sunrise in the midst of a mosquito swarm that I can only describe as horrendous. I've encountered a fair share of bugs in my travels but this morning was up there with the worst. In a half hurried panic, assisted by the headlights of my car, we threw everything in the boats and hoped to out-pedal the bugs by getting to open water. We kicked into open water and found absolutely no relief in the cove. The cloud of bugs around us were now hitchhikers. We made the 30 minute trip to our spot constantly swatting bugs and just praying for the wind to pick up to welcome some relief.
When we arrived at the spot, the bugs were still feasting on us, but it was only half forgotten as I landed a few respectable sized trout that attempted to eat a pink/chrome she-dog. There were a few extra swats but only about six trout in the cooler in an hours time. A few of the redfish shorelines didn't pan out. The current was rolling at the point the wind picked up a few mph and we both agreed it was time to try and find some flounder.
We didn't make it 100 feet before a small island looked too nice not to throw at. We were both met with immediate redfish smashing our top waters. The territory was familiar and we were rolling right along picking up reds anywhere we saw shrimp jumping. Alden managed to pick up a nice 20"+ marsh trout in the process. Things were looking up when we realized we only had about an hour to make it back to the car to be home on time. We were about two miles away from the launch so we decided to start fishing our way back.
The winds were set up nicely to blow us back in when we turned a corner into an open bay, and saw a front of clouds that looked angry. We really hadn't noticed the ominous front simply because of how fast it was moving. All day alden had joked that he had forgot his rain gear, and we now joked about it as we figured we may get a little wet. My attention was averted from the jokes when I say a swirl near a bank and landed another nice fat redfish. We immediately made the decision to head back because we realized the black clouds were rolling in quick.
We hadn't made it another 100 yards when Alden yelled out "LOOK! To your left!". I didn't see anything but he came around me and told me to throw where he was. His she-dog barely had time on the water before it was engulfed by another redfish. I threw into the same spot with the same result. This is where the day took a turn for the worse.
In the time it takes to fight and land these fish the front was upon us. There was a wall of wind that came down the marsh and immediately started blowing 30+mph and kicking up a two foot chop. My fish was in my net resting on my lap. The wind had tangled the line around my hat and the treble hooks were hooked in the net, the fish, and my pants. Getting blown sideways I was thankful for the stability of the Slayer Propel. In a moments time I'd heard Alden let out a "whoop" and seen himself and his kayak turtling over.
I couldn't contain my laughter as he stood up and started collecting everything that wasn't strapped down to the boat. He was calling out for help but I was useless given the fish in my boat situation. I cut my line and threw the fish in my cooler. I grabbed his tackle bag that had been floating towards me and when he got back in his boat we both agreed that our fishing day was over.
At this point we had a howling headwind about a mile and a half to go before we were safe. We made the remark that, "at least it's not raining", all too soon. We were laughing and pedaling as hard as we can into the chop and barely making headway. Alden's voice took a grave turn when he said "I think my boat is sinking, there is defenitely more water in the hull". Something he had mentioned, but shrugged off earlier in the morning. We pulled over the the marsh grass, jumped right in and pulled the boats up. There was no less than ten gallons of water inside the hull of the Hobie. We went about bailing it out in the driving rain that had now moved over us.
To sweeten our deal, we got halted up about 200 yards from a previous accident on I-10 that had slowed traffic. They decided to STOP thru-traffic once the HAZMAT team arrived on the scene. We sat in the car, stuck on the highway for the better part of three hours. Alden never made it to work like i'd promised. But as we both know, when him and I get together, nothing works out as planned. We joked once again that fishing trips are all about making memories. This is a day neither of us will soon forget. I've rushed the writing on this story because of other obligations and sheer inattention. But this one had to be at least be summarized lest I forget the finer details down the road. Til next time...