The date I had picked for our Eccentric Charters fishing trip had finally arrived. Eccentric Charters is a fishing guide service owned by Captain John Pounders that operates a fishing lodge and three charter boats out of Lafitte, Louisiana. Captain John has been guiding professionals, serious fishermen and the curios for over twenty years. He and his two licensed guides operate the 21ft Resurrection, a 24ft Triton Bay boat and the 27ft Restitution in the waters of the Barataria Basin. Even if you have never fished before the Eccentric Charter guides will have you casting and fishing in no time at all. The town of Jean Lafitte, named after the notorious pirate Jean Lafitte, is a historic fishing village on the banks of Bayou Barataria and is located about 35 miles south of New Orleans. The Barataria Basin is a fisherman’s paradise that extends from the bayous and pipeline canals around Lafitte down through Barataria Bay to the beaches of Grand Isle. In the Basin you will find miles of shorelines, bays, bayous and ponds teeming with fish of many species. On any given day an angler might catch redfish, speckled trout, flounder, Black Drum and green trout (largemouth bass) on a single trip.
On Captain John’s recommendation, due to the weather, we arrived at the Eccentric Fishing Lodge and landing at 8am. Conditions for fishing were at best a long shot but Captain John assured us that we would give it our best shot. This February morning was overcast, the winds were out of the north at a blustery 20mph, the temperature was in the low 40’s and the tide was lower than had been seen in some time. When we arrived at the lodge we were greeted with an enthusiastic warm welcome from Captain John that seemed to take the chill out of the morning air and add fuel to our excitement. While we loaded our personal gear, drinks and snacks Captain John was busy finishing with the details in preparing the 27ft fishing boat “Restitution” that would take us to the fishing grounds. Once we were comfortable and cozy in our custom bean bag chairs behind the full windshield of the Restitution Captain John cranked up the 250hp Mercury outboard and idled the boat out of the marina.
Our fishing trip was now officially underway and we all looked forward to hooking up with some hard fighting Redfish. Due to the low winter tide the route taking us to the first fishing spot was through Bayou Rigolettes which by all standards is a long lake. With the blustery winds the lake was rough yet the 27-foot Restitution handled the waves well and the ride was quite comfortable. After a scenic boat ride through the bayous and marsh we arrived at our first fishing spot. Immediately Captain John had the boat situated, baited our hooks and in moments we were enjoying the morning while casting along the shoreline of a dead in canal. This time of year with the cold weather and water temperatures you have to watch your cork closely. The Redfish don’t always pull it under, many times they will take the bait lightly and your only indication that you have a fish is your cork moving ever so slowly to the left or right. When you see this; set the hook!
The key to catching fish year round, especially in the winter months of December through February, is knowing where to go and what techniques to use based on the conditions. This is where having a knowledgeable fishing guide like Captain John will increase your chances of catching fish. Fishing guides are on the water almost daily so they are better able to know where the fish will be holding and their fishing experience teaches them to read the tide, the wind, the temperature and water conditions like a treasure map leading to the fish. The equipment we used on this morning was custom 8-foot rods, spinning reels, lead jig heads under a cork on braided line with market shrimp.
Not long after working the shoreline of this dead in canal our corks began to stir and we began intermittently catching and releasing several undersized Redfish. Despite the cold water temperature these young Redfish fought like stallions. Periodically Captain John moved us along the bank with the Restitutions 36-volt trolling motor searching for the spot that would put fish into the ice chest. My oldest son was the first to catch a nice sized keeper Redfish which was soon followed by another. I, after a few missed opportunities, once again noticed my cork slightly moving against the wind, set the hook and pulled in my first keeper Redfish. After the action in this canal slowed and stopped Captain John fired up the Mercury and navigated us through the marsh to several other spots. Between the remaining spots we were all able to catch a few more fish for the ice chest and practice catch and release with several rat Reds.
Between fishing, boat riding and enjoying the Louisiana marsh the day went too quickly. Before we knew it, the time had come to return to the marina. To our disappointment we all made our final cast, stowed the gear and Captain John turned the Restitutions bow towards Lafitte. Once back at the Eccentric Fishing Lodge and Landing Captain John was quickly to the task of cleaning and bagging our catch for us to take home. While he cleaned the fish we enjoyed watching the pelicans as they gathered and put on a show in hopes of dining on some scraps from Captain Johns fish cleaning. In no time at all Captain John handed us our bags of Redfish fillets and we were on our way home.
Thank you Captain John for such an enjoyable and memorable day of fishing with my son, his wife and you. To our delight we all enjoyed a half dozen delicious fish dinners in the evenings that followed.
For more information about Eccentric Fishing Charters call (504) 382-2268