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By Capt. Chuck Uzzle
For the Record 

It's always the right time to explore new water


Last updated 4/30/2024 at 4:58pm

The launch was uncrowded and the temperatures were already starting to climb as Ron Begnaud and I prepared to head out in search of some willing redfsih in the marsh. Begnaud, who lives in Lafayette Louisiana, is about as hard core a marsh fisherman as I know. Many of our conversations begin and end with thoughts of new and unexplored regions of the marshes that border Sabine and Calcasieu as well as other areas farther east. Finding a prime redfish pond that has no fishing pressure is like finding the Hope diamond in a gumball machine, it probably won’t happen but look out if it does.

Armed with aerial maps, topographical charts fly rods and other associated gear we set out in search of parts unknown, at least unknown to us. Our quest to find some unpressured water was soon rewarded as the skiff came down off plane and settled into the dark clear water of a large marsh pond. In an instant we could see the wakes of cruising fish as well as the tails of some feeding reds. This place was full of potential and void of any traffic, we had found a jewel.

After a coin flip to decide who would take the poling platform first I got the honors of casting to the first fish. A small group of redfish were gathered up and feeding intently as Ron pushed the skiff into range. At first I didn’t know if I wanted to cast or take a picture, the redfish had their tails high above the water and they were backlit by the sun in an amazing display of red and copper. Much to my dismay I had left my big camera behind so I made due with my phone. Without the big camera option I was “forced” to go ahead and cast. The 7 weight fly rod loaded up and sent one of Begnaud’s “Ron’s Red Chaser” flies directly at the feeding fish. The cast was accurate and the redfish were receptive, the strike was almost immediate. The big redfish took plenty of line as the other fish scattered and muddied up the shallow water. The fight lasted ten minutes or so until the big red finally gave up. As Begnaud slipped the Boga Grip into the fish’s mouth we both were amazed at the size of this bruiser. The Boga registered 14 pounds and the fish taped out at 35 inches, an extremely nice fish for the marsh.

The day continued to be good as both Ron and I landed more redfish in our own private little pond. The plan had worked perfectly and we were rewarded with great fishing and no pressure from any other boats. As a matter of fact we never saw another boat anywhere close to our area, truly amazing by todays standards. The effort we put forth to get away from the crowd is work that most folks are not willing to do. That little extra effort can mean the difference between fishing and great fishing.

In almost every saltwater venue on the coast there are some out of the way places that receive little or no pressure, these places are the hidden treasures that many folks dream about. They are there for those who are willing to find them. The day ended with a bang as Ron landed the final redfish and we headed for the dock. The endless maze of marsh grass lined canals promised more fishing in the near future. Even though we had found a great new place to fish both Ron and I knew that surely there must be others in the same area. Over the hum of the Yamaha outboard in the background we both agreed that we would go back soon but not before we consulted more information in the form of satellite imagery.

Easily one of the most incredibly helpful tools any fisherman or outdoorsman can use is the internet, more specifically the sites that offer up satellite imagery. Google Earth, On X, and other apps like them offer up some ridiculously detailed photos and mapping options that enable you to do some quality scouting from just about anywhere. I know I have personally used these sites hundreds of times to help me out both fishing and hunting. My son Hunter and I have made our way in the dark to plenty of ponds that we had never hunted using the satellite map function on my IPhone. It's just incredible what we as outdoorsmen have at our disposal now, just mind boggling. The days of running areas and learning through "the school of hard knocks" are for the most part a thing of the past. I can remember running small bayous in the marsh believing there had to be a "magic pond" at the end only to spend a couple of hours of digging and pushing to get my boat un-stuck when the bayou abruptly came to an end. Not anymore, I consult the satellite photos before I ever take off on a re-con mission because I'm too old and fat to get caught out there high and dry by myself. Like Clint Eastwood said "a man has got to know his limitations".

Just locating a quality area is a big part of the equation but there is still plenty of work to do to ensure success and that has to be done the old fashioned way, you have to go out there and physically do the work. Understanding how an area lays out, how it's affected by the tides, and other factors cannot be gauged with any certainty unless you actually go check that area out. Spending time just observing or investigating potential areas is where anglers often separate themselves in to the groups who are consistently successful and those that occasionally do well. The tiny nuances such as types of vegetation and actual depth can only be verified first hand so you actually have to put in the time to do just that.

We all wish there was a "magic option" that would allow us to just go out and catch fish without effort but unfortunately that option does not exist. In todays world where everything seems smaller and there are no secret spots anymore it's critical to your success as an angler to do some investigating in order to find that overlooked area that could prove to be special. Those places you find are to be held close and guarded with the utmost care. The feeling of going from search to discovery to success is extremely gratifying and makes all the effort worthwhile. If you are willing to take the time to do some digging you are already ahead of most anglers and well on your way to success.


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