Born on the Bayou

Contributed by Dustin Schouest10599669_342898509244059_7238249155520471936_n

Let me start this with a story from my past….
I grew up beside a bayou in Pointe Aux Chenes, up until I was three. I remember watching alligators and turtles on the bank from the sanctity of my front door. Then when I was three we moved to Bourg, only ten minutes away.

Bisecting the town was a former tributary of the Mississippi, Bayou Terrebonne. When we were kids, we used to ride our bikes to the front of Rural Dr, cross over Lower Country Dr, and fish off the bank of the mighty Bayou Terrebonne. I remember catching my first two bass there, on a Strike King crankbait in fire tiger and a Strike King willow leaf spinnerbait in brown respectively. We also used to tear up the bream there, catching hundreds a weekend, releasing all of them of course.

Over the decade from ages 13 to 23, I had fished there sporadically. With nothing to show for it. The old willow tree that ate so much of my allowance money had been broken in half and been taken during one of our many tropical events. The hydrilla that lined the bank slowly wilted and disappeared as salt water seemed to take over. I honestly thought freshwater fishing there was done.

Maybe in the last two years, I’d seen more boats floating the bayou and a few tributaries of it. I began to wonder….were they ever catching fish? Did I give up to soon on my home water?
There was only one way to find out.

I got up a bit late, 6:30, and got in my truck thirty minutes later loaded with two rods rigged with a crankbait and spinner (just like old times), and my TFO glass. That I had tipped with a popping bug. I left my house, and two minutes later, I was at my launch point. A spot off the bank across from a business I frequent. I knew the truck would be fine there. I got the Ride 115 off the trailer, loaded her up, rigged the Lowrance Elite 4, and got on the water.
The bream bite was slower than I expected. Compared to my other usual bream spots, I had only a few bites, and three good hard bites. But, these bluegill were bigger on average than I figured. The three big ones went right into the cooler, while the next two small ones were put right back into the drink.

10671318_343296172537626_8610995862139495317_nAccording to my graph, the bottom of the bayou was covered in weeds, to the point that both the crankbait and the spinner were hanging up regularly. Weedless lures would be key. That’s why I was focusing more with the fly rod.
There was a submerged branch along the bank, flanked on both sides by some weeds. I placed the popping bug near the weeds, working it toward the branch, when it dissapeared in a slirp. I figured I had a big bull bream on, until I saw Her jump. Big green sides, powerful tail walking on the surface. Three big jumps she gave me before submitting to the TFO glass.

This was my biggest bass ever, and what a beauty she was. She had scarring on both flanks, probably from the resident gar fish that come into the waters regularly. And the fight was hard on her: it took two good minutes to get her revived. But, she swam off quickly back to her bed.

Not long after another angler drove passed me in a bass boat. We chatted for a bit, him saying he had caught seven bass on weedless weightless Senkos. I was shocked at the kindness of the angler, as so many stink potters have treated us kayak anglers like crap over the years. He told me how to rig them, engaged his monstrous Mercury, and suprisingly obeyed the no-wake zone sign and put putted back towards his launch site.

I felt happy. I felt like my childhod stomping grounds hadnt changed one bit. Like I would still be able to fish where I once learned how to throw bass baits. And now, Id have the addage of a buggy whip for the bream we used to catch.


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