Redfish and Kayaks

After a brief safety meeting, organizer Danny Wray’s horn sounded and the majority of 523 registered kayak and similar non-motorized watercrafts launched from Bridgeside Marina in Grand Isle. “To Ride the Bull”, bull redfish that is. It’s the largest number of kayakers ever enter into a fishing rodeo. This one for catch and release of redfish. Red was not only the shade as the palate of boat paints were likened to a giant box of colored pencils rolling across a tabletop.
#130817_0023.  The horn sounds and boats head into the Bay.
I stood atop the Grand Isle Bridge holding an umbrella over my camera looking across Caminada Bay as the fishermen paddled and peddled to their favorite fishing spots. It rained, misted and occasionally stopped all morning. The wet hardly bothered most of the tough fisherman.  Hook up! I saw the fishing pole bend on a boat below.  The kayak which was tied to another was quickly released.  The lucky person rode the bull, the big fish pulling the kayak. After reeling in in, photographs were taken, and she released it without getting it weighed for the tournament. Perhaps she didn’t think it was big enough, or maybe she was not a competitive person. The winner was Jeff Gleason of Folsom, Louisiana with a fish weighing 32.96 pounds.

#130817_0086 Catching and releasing a red fish.
Just after noon the tide was moving out through Caminada Pass to the Gulf. Those paddlers who were near the mouth of the bay struggled against this current. Strange, August in Grand Isle and shivering cold boaters were returning to the pier, some dead tired.

Michael Mathews and The Backpacker of Baton Rouge crew were there with kayaks and GoPro cameras.  They were title sponsors. Friday night there was a GoPro Red fishing Film Festival.  Films were self-portraits of Kayakers catching fish.

Life is good.  Life has changed from cane pole fishing on a ten foot bateau with maybe a Kodak Brownie Camera of yesteryear.  To a lime green peddle powered fishing kayak with a shockproof, waterproof miniature video camera that can be shot remotely from a smartphone. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just get outdoors.


Rafting Westwater Canyon

#130717-0136 Great camp at Black Rock 

Water, rivers and rapids.  I love it all and I just got back from a rowing trip through Horsethief, Ruby and Westwater Canyons on the Colorado River between Grand Junction and Moab. Ten friends in six different boats joined Sue and I for a five-day adventure. In the first two canyons, the river runs slowly with walls of slick rock sandstone except for a short section of black metamorphic rock where we camped the second night. The campsite is appropriately named Black Rocks #8. Day three when you hit Westwater, life changes drastically for five miles of rocking and rolling white water with named rapids such as Funnel Falls, Sock-It-To-Me and Skull.

#130719-0254   Macon Roland in Sock-It-To-Me

Skull had me worried a bit, for in the October of 2000 I was on the maiden voyage in my white-water dory. I christened it the Atchafalaya.  It is a beautiful wooden boat.  Skull has a fang rock that I bumped slightly and put a dent my new boat.  No worry for on this trip for I was in a fourteen-foot rowing raft which you cannot dent. I had a perfect run.  All six boats came out un-scared, except for one lost oar. In the desert heat, our rapid day was enjoyed with cool splashes and exciting rapid runs.

#130718-0199   Golden Eagle taking a bath

Our camps and camp cooking were awesome.  First night was at Rattlesnake Camp where we did not see a rattler, but had a drenching hard rain. It was a good wildlife trip, eagles everywhere. Coming around a bend in the river we saw a Golden Eagle bathing on the right bank. After shaking its wings it flew across the river just above eight wild Turkey and landed in a cottonwood. The Turkeys seemed to show no fear. Looking up and down the river we saw within 100 yards another Golden Eagle and two Bald Eagles perched in trees.  Many other bird species were seen as well as otter, beaver, lizards and snakes.  I am now looking forward to going back on October 2 to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains for my Fall Colors Workshop