Fishing in Paradise
Tasha Lowe-Newsome Interviews Charles Abbyad of the Chimes
It’s been many years since my childhood family fishing trips. I remember them as lazy days on the lake, punctuated with the excitement of a wildly bouncing bobber or the slack line going taut as a fish raced away with the bait and hook. The best days ended with a delicious meal, but even no catch days were fun. Lately I’ve been thinking about revisiting the sport. New Orleans is an ideal place to begin.
One of the little known perks of The Chimes is that Charles is a master fisherman. His specialty is inshore marsh fishing. And he’s usually happy to share his expertise or swap fish stories.
I started by asking him about why he prefers inshore marsh fishing to the myriad of other local options. He opined,” I prefer inshore fishing mainly because it’s not as big an expense as offshore fishing. There are no salt lakes in our area. Shore fishing is very limited in our area and it is a two hour drive.”
I used to fish in California. I remember catching a lot of catfish, large and small mouth bass and the occasional blue gill. I was curious about what the New Orleans inshore marshes have to offer. Charles recommends, “I mostly target redfish, black drum, speckled sea trout, flounder and sheepshead. My favorite catch is trout because it tastes the best.” Since I’m not familiar with all of these varieties I was glad he had some photos.
In California fishing was a year round activity. Charles prefers to fish in the fall, winter and spring, but will occasionally do super early morning trips to avoid the summer heat.
As to his favorite spots and how he gets there, “I own a center console18ft Cape Horn with a 150 horsepower Evinrude E-TEC engine which I launch out of my boat shed in Myrtle Grove Marina. On a map you can identify my area as being the Barataria Basin.”
Some of his other particulars were way beyond my limited knowledge, but for those with additional expertise it might be helpful to know that he uses a spinning rod and reel, as opposed to a bait caster. “I fish either under a cork which means a cork followed by a swivel followed by a leader and finished with a hook. Or I use a Carolina rig. That’s a barrel weight followed by a swivel, a leader and a hook. I fish with live bait, dead bait and plastic lures.”
As a kid I remember the rules were that we should not throw anything into the water, not make too much noise and not wonder to far off when we were on shore. Charles hasn’t taken kids out of a few years so his rules a little different. “The three things a person should never do when on my boat are: throw liter in the water, drink too much alcohol, keep undersized fish.” Which seems like good advice no matter where you are fishing.
Of course everyone has stories about their biggest catch, or the time they thought it was going to be a record-breaking fish when it turned out to be some piece of flotsam. My most unusual catch was a broken fishing reel that someone must have discarded a fit of frustration.
“I caught a tagged fish once. The redfish was 18 inches long. I had no idea I caught a tagged fish until I was back at the dock cleaning. It had a number on it. I misplaced the tag so I never called it in. There goes my new boat prize down the drain.”