Nicknamed “a sportsman’s paradise,” Louisiana lures all manner of outdoor enthusiasts, not the least of which are fishermen – or, in my case, fisherwomen. Despite the incredible loss of wetlands – due to hurricanes, oil and gas production in the gulf, and dams along the Mississippi River – the waters of southeastern Louisiana still boast an abundant supply of seafood, including speckled trout and redfish (my family's catch of choice).
So today, my father – an avid fisherman – invited me and Dan to join him on a fishing excursion in the marshes near the Pearl River, which separates Louisiana from Mississippi. According to the local weather report, it was supposed to be an ideal day for fishing: sunny and mild, with low wind. But, if I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that meteorology is an inexact science – fraught with percentages that can lean just as easily to rain as to sunshine.
Needless to say, the weather reports were less than accurate. Although the day began promisingly enough – cold but clear at six a.m., when we arrived at Dad’s house – we knew we were in trouble by the time we hit open water. The sun hid behind gray clouds for much of the day, and the wind was stronger than predicted, creating choppy seas and muddy waters that chased the fish away. In fact, it was the least productive fishing trip that I’ve ever experienced with my dad. He and Dan each caught a redfish too small to keep (per statewide size restrictions), while I caught nothing more than weeds. By the fourth time I’d snagged the marsh, my dear father and hubby started calling me “Weed Woman,” and Dad even told my stepmother (via cell phone), “Laura keeps throwing in the weeds. Guess she’s trying to catch an alligator.” Very funny, Dad.
But, seriously, despite the nonexistent yield, the scary waves at one point, and the fact that I was dressed for winter most of the time, all three of us enjoyed being out on the water, where peace and relative quiet reigned. As the old saying goes, “A bad day fishing beats a good day working,” and while Dad – who is accustomed to fruitful fishing trips (and has a freezer full of fish to prove it) – doesn’t agree with the saying, I happen to think it’s true. Even with the gray clouds and biting wind, it was a lovely, relaxing day, spent with two of my favorite people in all the world. And, hey, at least the gnats were as elusive as the fish.
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