9 Year Old Cody On First Kayak Trip Lands 51.8 lb Black Drum E-mail
Sunday, 25 July 2010 16:56

BP Oil Spill and Closed Fishing Doesn’t Keep 9 Year Old From Stretching The Limits

Black Drum caught kayak fishing 

The clock went off at 3 AM Saturday morning, July 10, 2010.  I got out of bed, went to the kitchen to make coffee and then to wake my grandson, 9 year old Cody Louviere. We got dressed and then loaded the truck with 2 kayaks (my Native Watercraft 14.5 and Cody’s 10 foot Pelican Pursuit) and our fishing gear.  By 3:30 AM we were on the road for a 2 ½ hour drive to Leeville, Louisiana for some saltwater kayak fishing.  Cody had fished with me many times in the power boat, but this would be Cody’s first fishing trip in the kayak and would prove to be one of the most memorable fishing trips of his life. 

Due to the BP oil spill, the fishing was closed on the east side of Hwy 1 but was still open for fishing on the west side of Hwy 1, which is where we chose to fish.

By 6:00 AM we were at Gail’s Bait Shop buying 2 pounds of dead bait shrimp.  By 6:30, we had unloaded the kayaks and fishing gear at Watt’s Landing and headed out to begin our day.

The water was unusually high this day and rose even higher as the day progressed.

We paddled to the west and followed the new Hwy 1 bridge until I spotted a small pond that was about 18” deep.  We anchored in the pond and begin fishing for reds.  We were fishing a kahle hook with bait shrimp under a popping cork.  Within 30 minutes or so, I picked up 2 nice reds and Cody lost one.  I tried a gold spoon and a few plastics, but got no results.  We fished there for about 45 more minutes and I decided to pull a little further down and try another pond.  The next pond had several nice cuts.  I pulled in the first one and directed Cody to the next one.  Within 15 minutes, I picked up another nice red on the bait shrimp. Again, I tried the gold spoon and several plastics with no results. We continued to fish for another 45 minutes or so, then I pulled down to the next cut passed Cody.  Cody got two strikes but lost both fish.  Cody got another strike and pulled in a rat red which we set free for another day.  About 10 minutes later Cody caught a small black drum that was a keeper.  In another 10 minutes or so, I picked up my fourth and final red.  Another 10 to fifteen minutes passed and Cody picked up a keeper redfish.  For the next 45 minutes or so, we continued to fish the area.  There was plenty of redfish activity, but no strikes. 

Around 12 or 12:30, Cody got the strike that he would never forget.  He set the hook and held the rod high and began to reel him in.  Within a few seconds, he stopped reeling, held the rod high with both hands and began yelling, “Help me pawpaw, I need help!”  He had a look of shear panic on his face.  However, Cody had done this before in the power boat and I would always tell him to get it in on his own.  Today was no different and I yelled back, “No, Cody, you can do it!”  Within a few seconds the fish rolled to the top of the water and Cody and I both realized that he had caught no ordinary fish. Instead, he had a monster on the end of his line!  Cody’s initial response was not repeatable (and not acceptable to me) but my response was “Oh, my God! I’m coming, Cody, I’m coming!”  I knew that the fish was at least as big as Cody and initially thought it was a grouper.  As I paddled closer to Cody’s kayak, the fish panicked and began to run.  I told Cody to pull him back and as the fish got closer, I could see that the fish was a hugh black drum, the biggest that I had ever seen and I have been fishing saltwater all my life.  I began to wonder how I was going to land this monster with only a small dip net and no gaff hook.  I instructed Cody to keep the rod up and I used the small dip net to come under the fish and over his head.  I rolled the dip net and raised the Black Drum’s tail out of the water.  Although the tail was thrashing wildly and getting me and Cody wet, he was going nowhere.

Once I was sure the drum was not going to get away, I took a few pictures of Cody holding the fish in the net.  Now, how was I going to get this monster in the kayak without capsizing?  Cody’s kayak was not big enough for him and the fish, so Cody and I began hoisting the fish in my kayak. Both kayaks were very close to taking on water, but we finally got him in and laid the fish between my legs and moved a small ice chest to Cody’s kayak.

I thought surly Cody had some kind of record here so all I could think of was heading back to Gail’s Bait Shop to weigh the fish. We paddled furiously and headed back to the landing. When we reached the boat launch, an elderly gentleman that maintains the landing was there and I called him over to see the fish.  He said that he used to fish black drum commercially and that was the biggest black drum that he had ever seen.  He estimated the weight at 50 pounds.

Cody and I hurriedly loaded the kayaks and fishing gear into the truck and rushed back to Gail’s.  Once at Gail’s, I went in and asked for a gaff hook to unload the fish.  A gentleman came out with me and helped me get the fish back inside.  The drum was too big for the scale and we had to put it in a basket to weigh it. The black drum weighed 51.8 pounds and was over 49 inches long.  Gail said that it was the biggest black drum that she had ever seen and was totally blown away when she heard it was caught by 9 year old Cody in a 10 foot kayak.  Gail took several pictures and said she was going to put them on her wall for all to see. Cody was extremely proud and excited.  And I was so proud of him that I was beaming.

On the way home, Cody called everyone – mom, dad, maw maw, and all the aunts and uncles.  We arrived home about 4:00 PM and you would have thought we were having a family reunion.  Everyone was there and cameras were flashing all over the place.

We had one happy and proud little boy here.  It was surely Cody’s day – his first kayak fishing trip and maybe the biggest fish he would ever catch.

Oh, I almost forgot.  We caught a total of 5 redfish and 2 black drums, including the monster.  And this proved to be pawpaw’s most memorable fishing trip ever also!

The BP oil spill has devastated the economy in South Louisiana due to closed fishing areas.  We sportsmen can’t do much for the commercial fishing industry, but we can help the sport fishing industry and the local bait shops, hotels, restaurants and other businesses by continuing to fish and patronize where fishing is still opened.  As a saltwater angler, I and my grandson, Cody, continue to fish the Leeville and Golden Meadow areas where fishing is, at the time of this writing, still open.  I encourage all sports fishermen everywhere to NOT let this oil spill beat us and cause our friends and local businesses to close forever.  Come down, fish and let’s keep South Louisiana open and productive.  If Cody can do it, so can you.

 

(Cody is 9 years old and lives with his mom and dad, Shelton and Dawn Louviere, and twin sisters, Elizabeth and Emily, in St. Amant, Louisiana.  He is in the fourth grade and is home schooled.  His grandfather, David Kittrell, lives with his wife, Patti, in Prairieville, Louisiana.  David and Patti own and operate Gulf South Battery Doctors on Hwy 44 in Gonzales, Louisiana.  Cody caught the black drum on a Penn 4500SS reel with 12 lb test monofilament line mounted on a 6 ½ foot Zebco Rhino rod.  Cody, David, and Shelton are all members of Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club in Louisiana.)

 

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