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Fishing Trips

Captain China and daughters Hannah & Halle

Times Picayune/Bob Marshall Fishing Story

The following are excerpts from an article about a fishing trip led by Sid Bourgeois of Joe’s Landing. Titled “Drums Bite Back“, the article was written by sports writer Bob Marshall and appeared in The Times Picayune newspaper of New Orleans on 8 November 2000.

The Virginia angler was thrilled. He had just enjoyed great sport, testing tackle, skill and stamina in a 15-minute slugfest with a bull of a fish, a fight that had ended in victory.

 

Sidney Bourgeois and his 4 grand daughters!

Steckel… was counting on Sidney Bourgeois of Lafitte to lead him to the kind of Louisiana fishing excitement he can’t find in the Blue Ridge Mountains. So, when last Tuesday arrived showing little tidal range, the promise of high winds and some patchy fog, Bourgeois had a suggestion.

“If all you want is a real good fight, then we won’t have to run far,” said Bourgeois, as the pair left Joe’s Landing, the marina he manages with his father, Joe. “There’s been schools of black drum all over Bayou Perot, and that’s just 10 minutes away.”

What about reds? Specks?

“Well, we can go looking for them,” Bourgeois said. “But if you really want a fight – a sure thing – we can’t do better than the drums.”

The black drum is the first cousin to the red drum, better known as the redfish, arguably the most sought prize among inshore anglers from Texas to North Carolina. Reds are bullet shaped fish with bronze scales and one or more coal-black spots on their tails. Anglers worship reds, hanging them on their walls as prized trophies, singling them out as the subject of books, countless magazine articles and even documentaries. When Redfish populations began to dip in the 1980’s, anglers went to war, mounting the largest political campaign in the history of coastal fishing, eventually banning commercial competitors.

Ten minutes later, Bourgeois eased into a cove along Bayou Perot and cut the engines on his 25-foot bay boat. As the water settled, he pointed to a grassy bank just 25 yards ahead where the slick surface was being cut by long waves of boiling water. As they watched, the disturbance moved parallel to the shoreline, pushing a boat-sized wake as it headed east, stopping, then heading west.

“Drums,” Bourgeois said. “There’s a school of them right there feeding. Must be a couple of dozen fish.”

Within two minutes Bourgeois and Steckel had threaded fresh shrimp on quarter-ounce jig heads and cast the bait into the school of drum. Less than a minute later, both were leaning back on their spinning rods, grunting with the exertion of trying to keep the tackle from being ripped out of their hands.

The next 10 minutes were a montage of classic light-tackle sport fishing scenes, the kinds of moments anglers wax poetic about: The fish took off on long, line-burning runs, making the drag systems on the reels cry; the rods were bent double; the anglers were literally dragged around the boat by the power of the fish, ducking under each other, passing rods from hand to hand; the fish came to the surface thrashing and splashing, then running some more.

“That was incredible,” Steckel said, looking at the prize lying on the deck … This thing was beating me up.”

Bourgeois had more praise.

“(Drums) fight great, and they’re always willing. If you can find them, you can have a lot of fun.” With that reminder, the anglers located another school of drums boiling near the surface and within a minute were tied up with two more drums.

“You can find them year-round, but in the fall, they school up like this and move along the shorelines,” Bourgeois said.

Back at the marina, as Bourgeois cleaned their limits, another angler walked up.

“What’d you get?” he asked.

“Limits of reds,” Bourgeois said, laughing.

For more information about chartering a guided fishing trip through Joe’s Landing including fishing trip pricing and what’s included, visit our inland fishing page.