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Hunting & Fishing Ground >> Jacks In Da 'Hood

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9/1/04 5:09 PM
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Edited: 01-Sep-04
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 2228
I ran into some old friends over the weekend who I hadn't seen for years. When we were teenagers, we used to fish Lake Ponchartrain, a huge brakish lake(@50 x 25 miles) that borders the city of New Orleans.The lake is a 2 minute run from my house, so it's really convenient. We would catch jack crevalle, black drum, sheepshead, and reds and speckled trout during certain times of the year. You could pull your car right up to the seawall and cast out. Unfortunately, the effects of urban runoff, saltwater intrusion, and shell dredging took its toll, and the fishery virtually collapsed. It just wasn't worth fishing anymore. Well, that's changed. My old friends got me out there yesterday morning at 5 am, and I was shocked to see the enormous schools of pogies(menhaden) in the pre-dawn. Some of us were using treble hooks to snag them, and I tried a castnet on them. On my first cast, I thought I had snagged the rocks on the bottom(dammit, a brand new 10 ft net!), but it was was actually that full of bait. It took three of us to haul it ashore. There was no need to snag anymore pogies, and some actually complained that now they didn't have anything to do until the jacks started running after sunrise. Ungrateful bastids. Anyway, I was a little worried because we had no livewell, and I didn't look forward to continually climbing up and down the rocks to refresh the bait water. As it turns out, it wasn't necessary. Twenty years ago, we believed that jacks would only hit live bait near the surface, or a really fast-moving artificial, but we've found that they'll take a dead pogie off the bottom, as long as it's fresh. Makes for a lot less tangles on a crowded seawall. I used spinning rods with 30 lb test, one with the pogies, and one with a 6 in silver spoon. I did get a bit of the stinkeye from everybody else when I broke out the spoon; it seems like proper protocol at that location is to throw out your bait, and go sit your ass down on your truck bed and wait.:) There were several guys using dead shrimp to catch some really fat gafftopsail catfish. They're actually pretty good to eat, if you can get somebody else to clean them. The amount of slime that they produce is just unbelievable: think Ghostbusters, and you'd be pretty close.:) Finally, about 8 o'clock, the jacks moved in, and a lot of us hooked up. I caught 2 nice ones; the largest was 24 pounds, the other @ 20 lbs. Took me about ten minutes a piece to get them in, and that was pretty fast. The consensus was that I had horsed them in. Everbody's a fucking critic. If you've never caught a jack, you'd be amazed at its strength and endurance. There are few fish in the world that can match it pound for pound. If they jumped, they would be absolutely perfect, but I can't be picky. After all, I'm catching one of the top gamefish in the world virtually right down the street.
9/2/04 8:25 AM
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Edited: 02-Sep-04
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 1192
I hate jacks. Great fighters though..

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