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I like to break down the types of fishable public waterways in our area into three groups: bodies of water that can be fished by kayak, bodies of water that should be fished by kayak, and those rare specimens, bodies of water that can only be fished by kayak. If you spend enough time poring over satellite images on google earth, you may just come across the third, and it is by far my favorite type; tucked away discreetly throughout the state, there are a few calm, clear, scenic gems that seem as though they were created solely for the enjoyment of those who paddle or pedal around in little plastic boats chasing bass. I'd like to talk about one of those rarities that for me, holds some vivid and inspiring memories.
I was a bit spoiled in the beginning. Bayou Sara was where I cut my teeth in the sport of kayak fishing. Unknowingly, I chose a great time of year and location. It was during a dry summer - the river was at a great stage for two months and the water maintained that semi-clear dark shade that will get any Louisiana bass fisherman excited.
After a few weeks of local success I decided to branch out and search for some new water. To the flat side I went; in particular, the Morganza spillway. All I had was a kayak hastily strapped to the top of a Nissan Altima, a few rods, and a fuzzy memory of a place where my uncle had taken me fishing for bream as a kid. After making my way down a series of gravel potholes that would have trouble passing for a road even in New Orleans, I came to a bridge - a hint of recollection stirred in my memory. I looked underneath the bridge and sure enough, there was water, which was at that time my only requirement to try and catch what swam in it.
Fast forward a couple of hours and I had paddled two miles or so down what I still consider to be one of the prettiest waterways in the state, and caught bass until my arms hurt. The water was a pristine greenish hue, and cypress trees both standing and fallen lined the banks. It seemed that each one was home to a brute - healthy largemouth that wanted nothing more than a clumsily cast crankbait to swim its way.
For the rest of that summer and through the fall and winter I honed my skills on this awesome little canal without seeing another boat. There were a few people who fished it from land for catfish and choupicque, but nobody was doing what I was.
That little bayou doesn't have a name. It's just a discharge from the main body of the Old River ox-bow, so when the Mississippi is high, it floods. Well, this eventually happened and I had to give it up the following spring. When I returned the next year I found a large rock pile blocking the gravel path that led to kayak paradise. I asked around and heard that the land had been closed to the public. Years went by, and of course I stuck to the larger lakes and learned that they can be great too, but just not the same.
On a hunch just last week, instead of taking a left turn onto the old Levee road that leads to the main boat launch on Old River, I turned right. Heading towards my old stomping grounds all the while expecting to hit some kind of barrier - that never happened, and I was able to relive some of those early days. I'm happy to report that the little canal looks just like it did the first day I saw it, and the fishing seems to be just as good. Needless to say I'll be going back soon, and would love to bring some friends. I Will be organizing a day trip this October...stay tuned for the date! ... See MoreSee Less