Thank goodness for teal. We have not found a serious concentration of grey ducks yet. Last week I had an awesome hunt with Team Wild Wings. They are the leading trainers and breeders of British Labs in our part of the country. They brought their dog Solo along and we smashed blue wings and a few divers. He retrieved all 18 with no problem. http://teamwildwings.com
Saturday I went on a long boat ride looking for unpressured grey ducks. The Gator Tail zipped down the bayou at 30mph for 45 mins no problem till we found our spot. http://gator-tail.com/boats/extreme-series/
I found a lot more greys than we were used to seeing in the freshwater marshes of Caernarvon. I can't seem to figure out why they prefer the saltier marshes better in our area. Alas we still got to knock a few down.
I don't expect the hunting to get bad for the rest of the split. It should actually finish strong with the upcoming front this week.
Happy Shooting to All.
We are experiencing one of our best seasons in a long time in St.Bernard and Plaquemines parishes. Opening weekend was hot the first day and slow the second. Last week I checked some new properties and found mixed results. The biggest concentration of birds seems to be around Spanish Lake. Unfortunately Caernarvon is a dead zone right now. Not sure what the deal is. We started shooting some teal in the am and then waiting to see what big ducks fly. 8am-10am has been the best times for grey ducks. I love when they have a drought up the flyway! Always our best years.
So this Optima battery I have seems to have gone bad after less than a year. The charger says it is 97 percent charged but shows only 6 volts. The multimeter shows a little over 7 volts. Any idea what could be the problem? I have hear that these types of AGM batteries need a special charger. What has been your experience with Optima batteries or other similar AGM's? Do you think Optimas are worth the price tag?
Teal Season is so close we can taste it. Since my cousin will be busy this week, we wanted to get out to our property in Caernarvon and get his blind brushed up and of course see if any speedy bluewingers were around. We got out right after sunrise and the tide was way higher than normal. Stupid high.
I didn't see very many teal on the ride to our property. Black-Bellied Whistling ducks were out by the gazillion and alligator lines were set all along the main canals. When we arrived to the property we checked all of our spots and unfortunately not many teal were there. There is a possibility there were some teal in the area but they were sitting comfortably in flooded marsh grass and avoiding the ponds. From past experience, you have to get very close to them for them to jump up when they are down in that flooded grass, so there could have been some that we never saw simply because they were hiding in the grass.
We brushed the blind with some thick mung bushes and called it a wrap. I decided to forego brushing mine so that the vegetation doesn't turn brown before the opener. I will go later in the week.
We watched some alligator hunters smoke a 7-footer and went after redfish in Lake Lery. I caught I caught a big one, about 29 inches on a shallow shell bank. We thought after that it would be on but it wasn't. We fished a bunch more and did some running around to no avail. We tried fishing what little grass mats we could but the fish were not holding in the milfoil and wigeon grass patches.
I decided to head to a favorite spot but ran the lake shore along the way. At one point the water started to turn very clear so that you could see the bottom. I shut down and decided to fish. I do this often- just keep running my Gator Tail till I find clear water. I'm not a stained water fisherman. I don't have the patience for it. I like to hunt down and catch fish when I see them.
As soon as we shut down we saw a big red. A few minutes later we hooked one and proceeded to hook one every 5 minutes or so while trolling this particular shoreline. We made another pass through and only came up with one more.
I headed to my original destination- a small drain emptying out into the lake. It was a falling tide and the water was clean but the heat was really starting to take the fun out of it. What happened next was totally unexpected.
Just as we were about to call it a day, a huge school of redfish came swimming up to the boat. 20-30 fish just cruising up to us in full-on feeding mode. I pitched a Rage Craw to them. One missed it but his buddy clobbered the bait. I put the Power Pole down and told my cousin and his son that we were gonna work on this school till we had the limit.
We did just that and it was a damn good time. It was amazing that the school never really swam away. They just kept working up and down the drain munching on schools of baitfish that swam by.
It really didn't matter what bait you threw. As lures got broke off or got torn up, I'd just grab what was laying around and tie it on to keep the action going. My cousin's son Anthony had the time of his life fighting those big beefy red goobers and we filled the box to feed our families.
What worked for us was to find clean water with a hard bottom with white shells and very little vegetation. That's where the fish wanted to be.
Not many teal, but a hell of a lot of redfish. I'll take it.
For the last 4 weeks the action in and around the MRGO has been hot. I am finding fish staged up on flats near deep water (8ft or more). They tend to come up shallow for the first part of the morning and then start heading back to deeper, cooler water around 11am.
If you were to be fishing with dead shrimp I think getting a limit of redfish would not be hard to do. I have not been fishing with dead shrimp lately because honestly I have not been in the mood for it. I have enjoyed putting the trolling motor down on the Gator Tail and getting into as much shallow, skinny water as I can.
Today I fished with none other than Louisiana Sportsman's own Mark Hilzim and Gary Abernathy from LIVETarget Lures. Mark has been a tremendous help to me in keeping Sportsman TV a well oiled machine.
We beat the banks pretty hard and we did not spend much time in an area that was not producing. Personally, I'm all about the marsh bass (I kind of look at them like summer time speckled trout for folks who don't want to go far from the launch). The bass were all over the place and ready to eat and I'm pretty sure it is because the water temps were a tad bit cooler than they have been. Biggest producer for bass was the Johnson gold spoon.
Reds were doing their usual thing- moving on and off the flats. Biggest producer was the LIVETarget Baitball Popper- a phenomenal topwater bait with a very unique design.
No specks were caught and no shrimp were seen but like every body else I am highly anticipating their return to the interior marsh.
Producer, Sportsman TV
Finally got the new GTR 37 HP EFI put on the back of my Gator Tail Extreme Series. I've been taking advantage of it ever since. That sucker purrs like a lion and is noticeably better than the carbureated system with cold starts at the boat launch. I've even added a few MPH to my max speed from the 35 hp.
Friday night we lit up the Marita Joe area at Delacroix Island. I hit up all my usual clean water holes. A stiff west wind put a mean ripple on the surface and lack of tide had the fish hunkered down for the night. We shot a big garfish and a huge sheepshead then went looking for redfish. I tried Lost Lake and Lery but water was filthy. I came back to Marita Joe and we found some clean water pouring out of a bayou. We worked on it and shot at a bunch of redfish but shooting left a lot to be desired. Finished with 4 reds, a sheep, and the gar.
This morning me and Uncle Wimpy left out of Caernarvon. West winds were cranking and tide was super low- worse than a Northwester during big duck season. Thank God for the Gator Tail. I shot across mudflats and grass mats till I found clean water. We would drift across the clean water pockets chucking Johnson gold spoons and Strike King Rage Blades and picked a few reds and green trout up each drift. They were feisty. Winds were howling but we made the best of it.
Tide should stay low next couple days. All about finding that clean water. Remember: The grass is your friend. Love it. Cherish it. Fish it relentlessly.
Producer, Sportsman TV
Still can't believe it but I tagged out on turkeys in Louisiana this year. I shot my first bird on the second day of the season. He played the game and came in just like they do on TV. He was ready, responsive, and I even got to watch him strut before I shot him.
Since then however, the turkeys have got the best of me. Had two gobblers come in and must have seen me press record on my camera, had another one make a big circle and come in behind me and bust me, and then another who was too interested in the hens he already had. Also had a couple days of complete strike outs, and I must have covered at least 10 miles on foot since the season began.
It all came to a magnificent close yesterday afternoon, when it seemed like I would be going home empty handed. I set up in the dark and had one gobbling first 30 minutes of daylight at 300 yards away. He hung up and then got quiet so I jumped in my truck and tried to figure out a way to go around and get closer to him. It didn't work so I continued to run and gun looking for other birds. At 12pm I made my way back to the first spot. The bird was gobbling as soon as I got out the truck. I got set and made calls. He answered back. We did this for about 20 minutes but he didn't seem to be closing the distance. I started calling really aggressively with plenty of cutting and then I went quiet for a while. I made one call about 10 minutes later and he answered back much closer than before. I went quiet again, but I heard him about 10 minutes later 200 yards or so to my left. He made a big semi circle and wouldn't come in to where I was. This is when I really started to lose hope, and figured he had hens with him. I made one last ditch effort to ease up to where I heard him last. Over the three years I've been hunting I've learned this is usually a good way to get busted but I it would be my last hunt in Louisiana anyway. I eased up and every five or six steps I would look through my binoculars real good. Just when I was fixing to hit the clearing where I heard him last, I saw his little head poking up out of some tall grass. I thought he had busted me but he was actually looking for the hen he was hearing. I eased into some brush and made a call. He answered back at about 100 yards. He didn't come right in so I took a gamble and set the gun down to make another call. He answered back at 50 yards so I eased my gun up. I shot and killed him 2 minutes later. I honestly thought it would not happen, but the range of emotions I felt when I slapped my second tag on that bird can't be put into words.
I am using the Meopta MeoPro 8x32 binoculars. They are incredibly clear and get great distance for not nearly the price of
other optics. There is no way I would have killed that bird without them. He would have busted me if I had gotten any closer. I haven't mastered the mouth call yet so I am using slate calls for now. The one I used on this bird is the Sure Shot Game Calls Imperial Slate. I literally got it in the mail on Tuesday and used it to call the bird on Wednesday.
I'm def not an expert, just a guy who fell in love with turkey hunting. I feel so grateful to have tagged out and wish all the hunters the same luck.
Producer, Sportsman TV
Headed up to the new turkey lease in Bogalusa, LA for opening weekend with a secret weapon in tow. Having never been there and since this is my third season as a turkey hunter, I enlisted the help of Mr. Shane Johnson, a man so mad at the turkeys he might need therapy. I filmed an episode of Sportsman TV with Shane two years ago. We didn't kill a bird and we've been plotting revenge ever since.
We started out by looking over the Google map real good. There were some big pastures just off the border of the lease so we decided to start there. We scouted the fields Friday afternoon but didn't see or hear anything.
Saturday morning was unusually cold for the recent weather and we started near the fields but the only two gobbles we heard were coming way north of us near some creek bottoms. We didn't want to disturb the other hunters so we drove to multiple other spots trying to strike a gobble. At one point while driving we saw a gobbler run across the road onto my lease. We didn't try to chase him down but instead made a mental note of where he went. The weather warmed up nice but we didn't get on anything that afternoon.
Sunday morning was a good bit warmer but we still started in the dark with jackets on. Shortly after light broke we heard a gobble some distance to the west where we saw the turkey cross the road. We got back in the truck and drove closer to it. Shane lives by a code of parking the truck and walking so we didn't even enter the gate as to not spook the bird.
We got him to answer back a good bit and headed right to him. When we got within 400 yards the woods were pretty open so we made the decision to hunker down and try to draw him closer to us.
The next 30 minutes were some of the coolest of my life. Shane proceeded to put on a clinic on how to call in a lonely gobbler. He did a lot of cutting and yelping but once the bird got closer he toned it down. We were at the top of the hill and within 5 minutes of his last gobble I saw the red on his head start to flash through the brush.
He never saw our decoy and it looked like he was going to start leaving so I put a bead on him and fired. He dropped like a sandbag at 34 yards and we had officially closed the deal.
I am shooting the Stoeger M3020 Semi auto 20 gauge with a Hevi Shot Turkey Choke and Winchester Double X turkey loads. I went down to a 20 gauge to save weight for all the long walking I am doing in the style of turkey hunting I am learning. I was worried it wouldn't pack enough knockdown power, but so far so good. I also invested in a pair of Gator Outfitters Swamp Series knee boots because they are rubber boots with a sole more like a hiking boot...and they are a Louisiana company.
To learn more about Shane's style of turkey hunting watch our episode or read this article.
Producer, Sportsman TV
Very blessed weekend with my main dudes to kick off my final days as a bachelor. As an Outdoor TV Producer I get to do some pretty cool stuff but having a group of my very best friends and family on a 2 day fishing trip now takes a top spot on my list of hunting and fishing memories.
We rented out a camp at Da Island from Capt. Jimmy Corley with Waterfowl Specialist Guide Service. Camp was clean, awesome, had all the amenities including gas grill, boat slips, and backdown ramp. It was just right for the crew of knuckleheads that resided in it this weekend. http://www.reelshotwaterfowl.com
We spent most of Friday in Grand Lake. Most places at Da Island was dirty water but we worked hard to find some. Fish were caught on Matrix Shad Green Hornet on Goldeneye 1/8th ounce jigheads and the Strike King Rage Blade in chartreuse and white. We found them in patches of clean water near the shore line.
We got back to camp and cleaned the fish up, then had a dinner of ribeye steaks and fried shrimp. It was far from terrible.
We made a quick bow fishing trip but dirty shallow water and lotta wind sent us back with just one freshwater catfish.
Saturday we hit Lake Lery and caught them on weedless rigged Matrix Green Hornet and Strike King Rage Blade. We found them in 3-4 feet of clean water in milfoil beds. Bass, reds, trout, and freshwater cats were all mixed together.
We left the fish on ice and dined on BBQ Chicken, sweet potato casserole, redfish on the half shell, and a slow cooked wild piglet that my cousin hit with his truck on the ride down to the camp. Road kill goodness. Food comas were raging.
Couldn't have asked for better weather, the camp was perfect and the hooligans who I spent it with have my back through thick and thin. Seems like the fishing is only gonna get better as we get closer to summer too.
Producer, Louisiana Sportsman TV
It's still hunting season and I'm trying to squeeze every last inch out of it. Had a great airboat ride this past Sunday that resulted in some hog population control. I shot this big toothed nasty one that I plan on getting mounted. Good to get a few of these suckers out of the marsh and onto the dinner table.
Producer, Sportsman TV
I've been hunting the teal pretty hard since opening day. My best luck until today came down at Cajun Fishing Adventures in Buras, LA. CFA usually has the best teal population in Southeast Louisiana and this year proved to be no different. We got in after daylight on Tuesday and used their duck barges to pull into a roseau cane blind. Teal were working from the moment we got there. A little sloppy shooting at the beginning but we found our rhythm had a 2 man limit by 8am. The guides at CFA like to focus heavily on flight paths. They do their scouting and watch patterns in the way that the birds fly. Then, they build their blinds on one of those flight paths. Their technique works and I'd highly recommend taking a trip with them to see how they do things. www.cajunfishingadventures.com
When I got back to my home marsh in Caernarvon it was a big let down. We shot 3 teal on Thursday and 0 in my blind on Friday. However, my cousin's blind 300 yards away shot 13. Go figure.
What we learned from that experience is that the teal are really spot specific this year and the spots they seem to prefer are small pockets somewhere along a ridge with lots of heavy cover so they feel protected. I looked at the Google map of my property and found one such spot. I went and scouted it Friday afternoon and there were about 20 teal and 100 whistlers in it. Honestly, I was nervous my mud boat might get stuck- that's how shallow they are holding.
We went back this morning and had a 2 man limit by 6:45 am. The mojo played a major role in getting them to work in. What I learned is that you can't hunt the same blind every time when the teal are thin. Look for the small pockets, small ponds, and heavy cover such as mung bushes and roseau cane. That's what the teal seem to be preferring. Hopefully I can use what I learned this morning to stay on them the rest of the season.
Producer, Sportsman TV
We saw about 100 teal while building blinds in the Caernarvon area on Friday so I went into the opener with some hopes on Saturday morning. It was all in vain as we had a repeat of last year's cruddy opening day. We had 6 hunters and 6 teal were killed in our group.
I hope a late blue wing migration does not become the norm. I look forward to teal season all Spring and Summer and I never think twice about the mosquitoes and the heat. It's just good to be shooting at ducks.
Last year I was still shooting limits of blue wings close to Christmas and as of now it looks like this year will be the same.
On a positive note, the gallinule are thick as thieves and you can add plenty tasty meat to a lack of teal in your bag. I like to motor around my property until I see where they are hanging out. They will typically go hide in the grass so I just shut off the motor and wait for them to come back out, then we blast them. The meat is very mild- kind of like pheasant and can be prepared just about any way you would cook chicken. Gallinule can sometimes come out a little tough so just try to cook it on high heat really quickly or on a lower heat for a longer time.
Producer, Sportsman TV
Made a Labor Day trip to Da Island today. I spent most of the summer fishing Lake Lery but over the years I've learned that the fish tend to move back towards the middle of the basin around teal season so I decided to head away from the lake today.
One thing I learned in my days as a kayak fisherman is that fish do not know where the boat launch is. Meaning- MOST of the time you can find fish very close to a local marina without having to go far and burn gas. That held true today as we were always within sight of Da Island the whole time.
I left the artificials home and opted for the old school dead shrimp. My Isleno predecessors would be proud. Tide was coming up hard all morning so we focused on points and islands. Bite seemed to die off around 10:30am which was just about the time a squall moved in. We packed the flat boat up and headed in to Serignes with a nice haul.
No wet butt. Hardly no gas burned. Plenty redfish. Done deal.
Producer, Sportsman TV
Between the raise in fishing license fees and the mismanagement of reef fish like the red snapper, I'm getting tired of the MAN putting us anglers down. So, we decided to take advantage of Louisiana's state season on red snapper on a beautiful, calm Sunday.
We left out of Shell Beach and ran approximately 40 miles to the Main Pass area. We fished on a rig in about 50 feet of water. We dropped 2 oz weights to the bottom with cut pogie and blasted snapper after snapper. A couple guys on board knew what they were doing but I've only been on 3 other snapper trips and most of the time I was filming.
Let me tell you, the snapper are so thick, you don't need much skill. Snapper are so abundant and easy to catch, this would be a great sport for beginners. On a fairly calm day you can run a bay boat to the area we fished.
We limited out on snapper and also caught some lagniappe bull reds and gag grouper. They went back in the Gulf though.
It was an awesome day on the water and I hope someone else gets to do it too. Time for the MAN to start getting things right so people can enjoy red snapper fishing year round.
Producer, Sportsman TV
We've had a pack of hog dogs for about a year now. It's been a doggone adventure trying to learn the nuances of the hog dogging sport but we are coming a long way. Our dogs love to hunt and they do a pretty good job each weekend of getting on a hog. Our main problem is that the hog hardly ever wants to bay and will run the dogs round and round across our lease. So when we finally get a hog to bay and get one caught it's a big accomplishment.
This past weekend was no different. We hosted a group of hunters from Oaklahoma. They brought their pack of blackmouth curs down to see what they could do in the Bayou State. Their dogs are used to riding on the hood of a truck until they scent a hog. We typically put our dogs out on fresh sign and let them start tracking through thick briars and brush.
It wound up being two gruelling days of covering many miles but right at the end of day two, the dogs got a decent hog to bay. The hunters rushed in and helped the dogs seal the deal.
Hog dogging down here will negate any need you might have for a gym membership and it's a lot of fun and good fellowship. And of course at the end of a successful hunt you get to take home fresh pork tastier than anything found at a grocery store.
Producer, Sportsman TV
It\'s never a good thing when you got no sac a lait fillets in your freezer. They are by far my favorite fish to eat and when I realized that I am down to none I called my buddy Mr. Murphy to set up a crappie catching trip.
We picked the Henderson area and set the date for ASAP. I gotta give it to this winter - it has some serious determination. A cold front came through here in late March and dropped the temps enough to make it feel like duck season.
Winds were high but water was fairly clean. None of that worried me because I was fishing with a pro. We shot a show with Mr. Murphy last year and it was clear then that this guy lives and breathes sac a lait fishing.
He worked the shallow flats and we bounced jigs under corks around cypress trees. Around 9 am the bite really turned on. Naturally, Mr. Murphy schooled me and caught double the fish I did. I was just happy to be filling an ice chest and spending time with my friend I made through Sportsman TV.
He dropped me back off at the landing around 11am so I could run over to Gator Tail Outboard\'s facility in Loreuville. I asked him if he was going to pick up or keep fishing. Of course he kept fishing. What champ.
Check out the video above for some tips on his crappie techniques.
Producer, Sportsman TV
David White with Arctic Ice is a cool dude and a sponsor of Sportsman TV. He was in town this weekend for the Louisiana Sportsman Show in Gonzales. We had never met in person so we made plans for a fishing trip on Monday after the show was wrapped.
And of course... a cold front came through on Sunday night and ruined all plans for sight fishing in the shallow ponds.
Still it was David's first time in the marsh and if you've never been out there before, it's easy to enjoy the scenes if the fish ain't biting. He kept assuring us that he was enjoying the experience but I really wish he could have hooked a big red for the first time.
We did plenty boat riding and fighting the wind in the Gator Tail. We finally settled on Oak River for the clean water and wind protection. We wrapped up the day with a filming session about Arctic Ice and what they can do to regulate temps in your cooler. That segment will be shown on Sportsman TV sometime in the near future.
We managed to send David home with enough for a South Louisiana appetizer. Good thing he had some Arctic Ice to put in his cooler for the 8 hour drive back to Tennessee. You can check out the rugged ice packs at http://www.arctic-ice.com/
Producer, Sportsman TV
Me and Hackney went to The Basin last month to film this episode of Sportsman TV. The fish were moving into dead end canals and they were holding on the edge of grass lines. We caught them on the Strike King red Eye Shad lipless crank bait and on the Hack Attack jig. Watch the full episode for details.
We decided to forego parades and make a bow fishing trip at Da Island. I knew of some clean water ponds from sight fishing in the summer time but I had never bow fished in them. The cool thing about Delacroix is that you can almost always find clean water because of all the submerged aquatics.
Sure enough we showed up to my first pond and water was clean but only a few fish. We made a little run to my favorite ponds and it was game on from there. Plenty of missed shots, but lots of fun. It's hard to want to ever pick up a fishing pole again.
Redfish and blue cats were holding in the same areas. It was usually spots where the grass was not thick and they would all be grouped together in a 30 yard radius, so once you found them you could just work in circles till they were gone or in the ice chest.
If you\'ve never been bow fishing you need to try it. There are a lot of good charter guides out there and Louisiana is the place to do it.
Producer, Sportsman TV