This year's Bolivar "Hilton" trip would better be called "Meathaul Madness". It was one of the most memorable and productive of the seven Bolivar trips I've led.
Friday morning looked like yet another typical PACK trip with 25 to 30 mph. north winds along with the passing front. Bruce was already in the marsh by daybreak, followed shortly after by Bill Berry. President Ron and his friend Tim waited at the Stingeree Marina, debating whether or not to fight the wind and the white caps, when Bill called to report that he caught a 24" red on his first cast. The temptation was more than they could take, and they were off to join the others at the "golf cart" in the marsh . Against my better judgement, I also attempted to join them.
To make a long story short, it was a meathaul! Bill caught a very nice red and flounder, and the other three all caught limits of beautiful reds and flounder, and one large trout! The flounder were so aggressive that Ron caught one on a flyrod! (And the next day he caught ANOTHER!) The paddle back to the marina taxed everyone to their limit, especially me in my Native kayak, which is basically a canoe. It took every bit of my strength to get back, as my boat took on more and more water in the waves.
In the nine years I've been taking PACK photos, I've never shot a more impressive display of fish, ESPECIALLY the 15 fat flounder. Just like that, we had more than enough for Saturday night's fish fry. And on top of all that, IT WAS TIM'S VERY FIRST KAYAK FISHING EXPERIENCE! I hope he didn't think this was a normal fishing trip.
Friday night's brisket dinner was delicious and enjoyed by all. Because there's so many of us under one roof, common sense dictates that everyone contribute something to our community meals, instead of every man making dinner for himself. Master Brewer Mike Harris contributed much appreciated St. Arnold's beer AND bacon and jalapeno wrapped dove breasts that we grilled Sat. night, in addition to the fish. Delicious breakfasts were also prepared Sat. and Sun. morning by Joel and Chris Arceneaux.
Saturday morning we awoke to the most gorgeous day imaginable, and the fishing was great! Everyone who wet a line caught fish. Chris Aceneaux caught a HUGE black drum in the marsh. Buzz and I limited out on solid slot reds several times on live shrimp in the morning. Then we went to the marina restaurant for a lunch of shrimp po-boys and gumbo. Buzz then returned to the beach house for his nappy and I returned to the MUCH drained-out marsh with Geoffery Morales, who caught his first keeper red on a plastic! I caught another 6 or so reds and a number of nice sized drum and sand trout. The water in the marsh was extremely low, but this also forced the fish to congregate in the deeper channels. It was honey hole heaven!
Some of the guys fished in the marsh to the right of the marina and also did very well. With almost no wind, casting a fly was easy. On Sunday, Mike Emshoff finally arrived and also had an outstanding day. He claims he's never cleaned so many fish in his life.
And then, as usual, Sat. night we had a terrific pot-luck dinner with wonderfully prepared fried fish compliments of Bruce and Ron, and Mike's grilled dove breasts, Ron Moore's Caesar salad, Buzz' vegetable casserole, and Bill's cold slaw .
And last, but not least, at the end of the day, there was a hot shower, a real toilet, and a real bed to sleep in. It just doesn't get much better. Thanks to all who participated and made the weekend memorable.