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Keith John Paul Horcasitas

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Fishing and Catching
By Keith John Paul Horcasitas
Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Outdoor fun noted through family adventures in fishing.

Pic: Andrew catching a Choupic in Baton Rouge

Yesterday, me and the boys went fishing at a neighbor's pond and had a lot of fun! As they say, it sure helps when fishing turns into “catching,” as we have had some of those days on outings when nothing seemed to bite – except the mosquitoes! I caught a few brim but the boys outdid dad and landed some nice sized catfish in addition to the smaller ones! It seems that those huge “Canadian night-crawler” worms and “chicken-blood” baits really did the trick, as well as with using a treble or three headed hook piece.

On the way home from the outing, the boys were wondering when the Hunting and Fishing Day was coming up, and I knew it was usually held in September. As I was reading today's Advocate Sports' “Outdoors” section and checking Joe Macaluso's “Wild Side” column and Calendar, there it was - “Outdoor Festival” scheduled for September 22.

We've been to many previous Hunting and Fishing days in the past and they are so fun and educational! While I'm not an active hunter, it is neat to be able to safely shoot some rifles and other guns per the exhibits that they have at the Waddill Wildlife Refuge. We've also loved some neat exhibits that provide demonstrations of fly casting hawks flying to and fro!

The fishing opportunities at their ponds are great, and they also have contests for the kids. When the boys were younger, they really enjoyed other neat activities like the canoeing and archery. My favorite thing to enjoy there are the free Louisiana Game and Seafood samples! I usually get to partake some neat new tastes of alligator and nutria meals!

We have done a lot of fishing lately at other venues, such as on our Labor Day vacation, right after Hurricane Isaac, to the KOA Park in Lillian Alabama – right next to Pensacola Beach on Highway 98. We used to always tent at Fr. Pickens in Pensacola, but haven't been able to since Hurricane Ivan had severely damaged that area in 2004, before Katrina. It was also neat back then to take the tours of the old caves in the fort where the Apache Geronimo was imprisoned for a while in the late 1800s.

So in 2005, we found this neat KOA “Gulf Shores Pensacola West” that has log-house like Kabins that are simple and air conditioned right on the beach of Perdido Bay. Sure, it is hard to go back to roughing it more with tenting, but we really enjoy being out so close to the water. What is so great about some of the Kabins is that you don't have to walk that far to go out on a pier to fish.

This past vacation, we had so much fun catching all kinds of fish! And some other KOA campers shared their baits and tips with us, as well as one guy actually letting Andrew use his casting net that he hadn't used in years! It was neat to see some close calls, like this guy that nearly landed a big flounder out on the pier. We miss the Fr. Pickens pier, which is where we used to see many other neat fish getting caught, such as the hammerhead sharks – they are really freaky looking!

On the July 4th Holiday, we went fishing at Alligator Bayou and caught a lot of brim and catfish but the neatest catch was a gar fish. It took a lot of unsuccessful tries with regular hooks till Andrew, our oldest son, realized that the treble type of hook would be needed to get that long alligator like mouth to attach on. Sure enough, after making the change, he threw in the line and we actually saw the gar first go after the bopper and then smack onto the hooks.

I ran and got the long net and went below the pier, so as to scoop up the gar before it broke the line. It wiggled so much that I had a hard time getting it into the net but finally succeeded. Andrew had to carefully use some pliers to remove the hooks as the gar's razor sharp teeth are dangerous. We could have kept the fish, but decided to let it go – boy, did it swim away fast!

Another neat fishing story goes back about 7 years at the Highland BREC Baseball Park, which has a Bayou Fountain creek running adjacent to it. While John Paul, our youngest son, was playing T-Ball and I was watching and helping assistant coach the game, Andrew went to fish at the creek. About midway through the game, he came walking across the field back to us as the innings were changing and holding a large fat Choupic fish in his hands that he'd caught! Everyone in the stands, both sides, gave a resounding applause! Talk about a grand slam!

So while the Hunting and Fishing day has come and gone, it is time to get out and go fishing whenever you can – no batteries are required and you can still feel on-line! And hunting season is under way with more types opening up soon. No wonder Louisiana is still known as the Sportman's Paradise, as used to be depicted on license plates! Get outdoors!

Keith John Paul Horcasitas, LCSW, MHA, 1133 Knollhaven Drive, BRLA 70810,, September 16, 2012.

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