This boot has lots of canals just like the other one but no gondoliers. Although you can hire some of the world's best fishing guides that will carry you to those many canals, usually fishing or hunting. But I don't know how many of them can sing very well.

When speaking about "The Boot" and travel, sometimes the conversation heads to Europe and Italy. Then the conversation might turn to Venice along with all its water and canals, which means romantic rides in a gondola with a gondolier that sings like Dean Martin. "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie . . . that's amore."

Well this trip was none of that. The crew of Ascension Outdoors TV that included me and Goosie was invited to accompany the crew of River Parish Foods (better known for Veron's sausage) to their camp in Venice, La. which is known as a boot as well. Their crew consisted of Cade and Blaine Sheets, Braxton Templet, and Tim Taylor. No not Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor, although he was pretty handy with the tools needed to secure the pirogues to the boat for transportation.

This boot has lots of canals just like the other one but no gondoliers. Although you can hire some of the world's best fishing guides that will carry you to those many canals, usually fishing or hunting. But I don't know how many of them can sing very well. Not many I suspect, because I've never had any of them sing to me.

Last Saturday was the opening day of the teal hunting season. The plan was to head down the Mississippi River to do some looking around to see if there were any ducks. The reports were not very promising but hey, duck hunters are an optimistic bunch, so off we went.

We saw a few birds on the ride but not enough to get very excited about. The first couple of spots had so much grass and water hyacinths in them there was no way to get in. This was due to the length of time the river was so high this year.

We pulled in to a spot that Kade and Tim usually hunt in the Delta National Refuge to see if the ponds were open. There were a couple of them open enough, but there were some water hyacinths to paddle through to get to them. This is called a primitive area, so boats with engines are not allowed. You have to paddle in.

We then pulled into a nearby canal where the view in the marsh was easy to see around, but there would probably be lots of hunters entering there. We saw about twenty or so teal get up and fly so the decision was made to enter from the other spot because there would not be any company heading in that way.

With the duck scouting all done it was time for some bass fishing. High tide had come to an end so the water began to slowly move out. We kind of figured that it would take a while for the fish to start biting, and we were right as we fished in the Delta Duck area for a couple of hours without catching a fish.

Our next stop was a cut right off the river. As we turned in there were two other boats fishing on the right bank. We chose the left bank and started pitching plastics. I thought that we might have stumbled on the fish with two other boats in there, but one left and I heard them tell the other boat they didn't get a bite. We stuck with it and managed to catch a few and miss a few as well.

We headed back closer to home base to give it one more try. We fished for a couple more hours and added a few more fish to the box. Our fishing day ended with eleven bass and one flounder that Goosie caught. Kade caught the big bass of the day.

Blaine decided to get a guide for Saturday to try and catch some redfish. My decision was to join him. The rest of the gang got ready for the duck hunt. They loaded four pirogues and got all the gear ready as Blaine fried some fish and grilled some duck bombs (bacon wrapped duck breast stuffed with bell pepper, onion, and cream cheese) for our supper.

We woke to lightning and thunder the next morning, but the weather mostly stayed south of us, We got a small window until about 10:30 to do our hunting and fishing. There weren't too many birds flying the next morning in the area we picked, so that group came back empty handed.

Blaine and I had much better fortune. We got to fish with Jamie Taylor of Taylor's Guide Service. He's an Ascension Parish and East Ascension alumni, so that was an unexpected treat to be fishing with a home-boy.

As it turned out we ended up fishing near the same area as the duck hunting group, and we didn't hear many shots so we figured they had a tough morning. Our tactic for the day was fishing live shrimp under a popping cork.

We pulled up to a point on a cove off of the gulf, put the power poles down, and started popping those corks. "We'll be fishing the "school bus" pattern today," stated Jamie. "We'll pick up one or two on this stop, move a little, and pick up one or two more."

He was right. It didn't take too long before a very nice redfish pulled my cork under. It put up a valiant effort before coming to the net. We moved around for the next couple of hours and added a fish or two here and there. Blaine had the fish of the day as he landed a thirty pound drum after a long fight. The weather ran us in, but we finished the morning with six redfish, four speckled trout, one drum around eight pounds, and a sheepshead to stink up the box a little. We had a good morning with the weather we faced.

The trip wasn't quite as productive as we anticipated, but the outcome of our fishing and hunting didn't really factor in to the success of the whole outing. There's just something special about spending time at "the camp" with great people. The atmosphere, comradery, and enjoying each other's company is something that can't quite be measured.

Blaine and his two boys, Garret and Cade, have built a successful business with River Parish Foods and Veron Sausage because of their hard work and love of the people they serve with their product. This trip was one for the memory books. Can't wait to do it again. So until next time, remember to keep the slack out, and set the hook hard. Be safe in the outdoors, and may God truly bless you!

Lyle Johnson is a free-lance writer, co-host of Ascension Outdoors TV and Curator of the Louisiana State Fish Records. He can be contacted at reelman@eatel.net.

Outdoor Calendar

EASL Monthly Meeting: 3rd Monday every month, East Ascension Sportsman's League meeting held at Gonzales Fire Dept on Orice Roth Rd. starting at 7:00 p.m. A meal served and special speaker will be in attendance.

CCA Ascension Chapter Banquet: Sept. 19—5:30 p.m., Lamar Dixon Expo Center, South St. Landry Rd., Gonzales. Tickets $74, $35 spouses, $25 youths, $650 tables. Call Nolan Reynerson 225-952-9200.

Ducks Unlimited East Ascension Banquet: Sept. 26 at 5:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. at the Gonzales Civic Center, 219 S. Irma Blvd. $60 in advance /$75 at the door, Couple: $100 in advance / $115 at the door, Greenwing/Youth: $25 in advance / $30 at the door, Sponsor: $285 in advance / $325 at the door. Call Paul Matherne 504-481-0878, or Alden Gautreau at 225-235–1062.

National Hunting & Fishing Day: September 28 at Waddill Outdoor Education Center at 4142 North Flannery Rd Baton Rouge, LA 70814 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. For more information about this national event, visit NHFday.org or call 225-765-2927.

Rumble On The River Kayak Tourney: Sept. 28--Boundaries in St. Bernard & Plaquemines Parish. Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club event. Open to public. Entry fee $25. Redfish, speckled trout, and bass. BCKFC members Angler of the Year points event. Website: bckfc.org.

Need an event publicized? Contact Lyle at reelman@eatel.net