We were in Mobile last week and as part of my birthday celebration I had requested a morning on the water, redfishing over in Mississippi. Due to an abundance of Friday night birthday fun involving rich food, red wine, and decadent birthday cake, we were a little slower than planned out of the gate Saturday morning. But we made our way over to the marsh where we promptly met this gator at the boat ramp.
I think he looks huge! Someone suggested that you can measure the inches from his eyes to his nose and the number of inches equals the number of feet of the total gator. Is that true? The Professor maintains this one wasn’t that big. I didn’t stick around to prove either one of us right or wrong.
It was a beautiful day with all the makings for perfect redfishing, save the murky water. It was all churned up and difficult to see any fish until we were right on top of them and then they spooked. Apparently the after-effects of Isaac are still playing out in the marsh as the water clarity was null. I commented that the water tasted saltier than usual, to which the Professor questioned why I was drinking the water. Defensively I explained that it just gets on your hands from the wet rod, or the line or the push pole and it really tasted salty to me, something I’d never noticed out there before.
We saw spooked tons of activity and life, which was a promising sign. Mullet galore, flounder, a few small reds. But we weren’t able to sight cast to anything so it turned out to be more of a joy ride than fishing trip. Hey, when it’s on it’s on and when it’s not…it’s still really fun.
The highlight was seeing a few dolphin feeding and rolling around – something I’d never seen before in this marsh system. My brother-in-law later said that must mean there was a lot of salt water backed up in there. Ahem, not to gloat but indeed a point I had made earlier, n’est pas? Apparently my powerful skills of observation hadn’t been dulled by turning 42 the night before.
By then we sensed the dolphin were probably going to be the pinnacle of our time on the water so we motored back for an afternoon beer on the back deck of this fabulous spot, Brown’s Bait Shop.
The Professor loves that the Bud Light is really really cold and only costs a buck fifty. I loved the charming gentlemen gathered around the picnic table on the deck overlooking the water. They were very welcoming and invited us to join them in their conversation that wove back and forth effortlessly between Alabama football, fishing in the marsh, last night’s high school football scores, all the rain from Isaac, what it’s going to be like with Missouri and A&M in the SEC, and where to find all the redfish and how we need to get over there earlier in the morning.
They were so generous with information that the Professor went to the truck to grab his topo map of the marsh to see if we could identify some of the bayous they were talking about. They were immediately impressed with his map which he explained was custom spliced together by a local mapmaker. Apparently the corp of engineers used to do maps of this area for fisherman but you would have to ask specifically for a map of ‘The Creole Quadrant’ which was the corp’s nickname for this area back in the day. Now the corp of engineers outsources their maps…ironically to the same local mapmaker we used.
It was the most delightful afternoon you could imagine, I could have stayed on that back deck with our new friends and chatted the entire day away (if only maybe we could have added a little music.) But some of them peeled off to a less laidback venue to watch the Alabama-Arkansas game. Apparently they needed a spot where they could “yell and scream and throw their hat on the floor.” In exchange for all their hospitality we promised to return to Brown’s with an extra map of ‘The Creole Quadrant’ that they could post up on the wall.
And with that we moseyed down the road for our post-redfishing tradition: a few hotdogs at Papa Rocks.
And that wrapped up our first day of the season back in The Creole Quadrant. Look forward to more in October…