Talkin' Outdoors

“Dang”, I said to myself. “We’ve come all the way out here, the wind is blowing hard and nobody is catching fish. I’d have done better going on the spouse’s tour with Kay and the ladies.”

My attitude changed in a big hurry when Captain Ted DeAgano pulled up anchor in Eloi Bay and zipped across to the calm placid waters of Lake Athanasio and stabbed an anchor in the muddy bottom.

As we motored to a stop, several dolphins surfaced in the area and this brought a smile to DeAgano’s face. “The dolphins are not here by accident; there are fish here so you guys get after it,” he said.
My fishing partners were friends John Flores and Gary Rispone who had joined me for the annual conference of the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association (LOWA) in Chalmette.     

The boat had scarcely come to a halt when Flores’ rod bowed and he was into fighting a fish. Rispone quickly followed suit as did I.

It was like sitting on a D’Arbonne bream bed because as soon as the live shrimp or plastic fake skewered on a hook hit the water, the popping cork disappeared. After a couple of hours, we had our limits having released as many as we kept. The beauty of it was we left them biting as an approaching thunder storm brought an end to a morning of flat-out fun.

Seeking shelter back at the landing, I sat down with Captain DeAgano to learn more about what we had just experienced and why the fishing was so fantastic on this day.

“During the full moon we just had, trout have a spawning period and we caught it at just the right time; the females had spawned and the males were in there fertilizing and protecting the eggs. The males expend a lot of energy during the spawn and they’ll aggressively feed,” DeAgano explained.

The popping corks on all our rods were equipped with a rattle and when the cork is popped, the clicking sound made mimics a fish feeding on shrimp. According to our guide, that sound puts the fish into a feeding frenzy.

We started out using live shrimp (DeAgano calls them “sea crickets”) but one shrimp equaled one trout. As fast as the action was, we were kept busy baiting up after every fish.

Two sponsors of LOWA attending the conference gave us bags of plastic lures that worked as well as the live shrimp and we often brought a dozen fish to the boat without having to put on a new plastic. Kudos to Berkeley’s Gulp Mantis and the Egret Cajun Pepper lures for making the fishing easier.

One thing that was just a bit gratifying occurred when we returned to the hotel and heard other groups talk about their difficulty in locating fish. Thanks to our knowledgeable guide, we easily caught our limits in a couple of hours.

Got a few days of vacation ahead and wondering how you might best spend them? My suggestion is to head to your computer and log onto or pick up and phone and call Captain Ted DeAgano at 504.BIG.FISH. Book a trip and head on down to one of the most spectacular areas, not only in our state but in the whole country.

If you go and bring some of those fine filets home with you, give this recipe a try.

6-8 filets
2 eggs
1 pack Zatarain’s or Louisiana fish fry
Canola or peanut oil

Heat oil in skillet, dip filets in egg, then in batter and drop in hot oil and cook until golden brown.
Bon appétit!