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4th Quarter 2023 Newsletter Thumbnail

4th Quarter 2023 Newsletter

It was 8am when we motored away from Jug’s Landing, the thermometer approaching 40 degrees and rising, not bad for December 11.   We would pass slowly through the canal until reaching the massive iron flood gates that could close solid in a hurricane.  A mix of levees, sea walls, and flood gates have been built to keep the sea out of the communities of Theriot, Bayou Dularge and all of Terrebonne Parish in the Louisiana bayou, an hour or so south of New Orleans.  It was mid-December and the tropical storm season had passed, at least for another year.  Living 10 feet above sea level is a precarious existence when the seas rage and the winds blow, but even an outsider can respect the risks taken by locals to call this piece of paradise home.

Now was the time to hunt Bull Redfish and Black Drum as they moved northerly from the Gulf of Mexico to the temperate waters where the Gulf meets the Louisiana bayou.  Robert and I have been fishing these waters with Steve and Kevin for 7 or 8 years straight, barring the year or two Covid kept us at bay, longing for the sea air and for the mild temps of the bayou.  Others have joined us in past pursuits but this year it was us two hoping to land fish exceeding 20 pounds.  

This day I was fishing with Steve in his Hells Bay boat, a fiberglass shallow water skiff operational in 4 or 5 inches of water and powered by a 70hp Yamaha which moves the boat at speeds up to 35 mph.   Once past the flood gates, I nodded to Steve as he powered up for our 45-minute ride through the canals and lakes and estuary in our attempt to locate our prey.  This day we had sun, bright yet low on the horizon, the winter solstice just two weeks off.  Moving through the water at high speeds wakes up your senses and Steve’s mastery of the water is fully evident.  Water is everywhere you look creating a labyrinth designed to keep the casual visitor perpetually lost in its intricate maze of unending passages leading who knows where.  Left to my own devices, I’d be forever wandering through this wilderness of water.

As usual we’d be sight fishing along the banks of the grassland cays that are everywhere in the bayou.  Steve in the rear of the boat on the poling platform moving us gracefully through the water without making a sound hunting fish that are feeding in the food rich waters.   I am in the front of the boat awaiting Steves orders of where to place the fly.   To locate the fish, we watch for gulls hovering over an area of water, or for a pod of dolphins pushing bait fish to shore for an easy meal, or simply disturbances on the water’s surface giving the water an appearance of nervousness.  All of these are telltale signs of baitfish congregating in an area and if there are baitfish, feeding Redfish and Drum may be nearby.  

The water is silted brown as the bayou is part of the Mississippi River delta emptying half a continent’s rainwater, along with it soil into the sea.  Often, we will have only a few inches of visibility into which to locate our target.   Steve will peruse the water in an attempt to locate a feeding fish.  Most of the time, the fish will be sighted a few short feet from the bow of the boat.   My job to cast the fly into the fish’s feeding lane, about one foot in front of the feeding fish.  Placing the fly anywhere else will not entice a bite and may spook the fish.  Although it sounds like it should be the easiest cast, short casts are in fact the hardest.  They must be quick, before the fish spots the boat, and accurate.  Two things as directly opposed as north is to south.  Most often the cast is late, or inaccurate, or the fish simply spots us before getting the fly to the water.  The opportunity is lost.

We move along a creek like piece of water flowing between two small cays.  The water is clearer here as the tide is rising, bringing clear Gulf waters into the estuary.   Steve sights a Bull Redfish one hundred feet out moving toward the boat.  He poles us nearer the fish.  At fifty feet, I also sight the fish.  The fly line is cast into the air.  One false cast and the fly is laid onto the water one foot in front of the feeding fish, perfect cast.  Slowly I strip the line, allowing the fly to fall back to the bottom on each retrieve.   The Redfish inhales the fly, I set the hook, the battle begins.  Minutes later the  20+ pound fish is coaxed to the side of the boat and lifted aboard for the obligatory picture before being released back into the water giving this fisherman a few minutes of added excitement to the hunt.

The days are short at this time of year and soon after landing the Redfish we are again moving at a rapid clip through the waters, back to the landing.  This time we are not alone in chasing the sun’s rays as we pass Shrimp boats, Crabbers, and Oystermen also moving inland after a full day’s work in the bayou.  The Louisiana bayou is paradise and home to so many.

Just as the shortest cast is the most difficult, the simplest things in investing can create the most problems.  Overthinking the markets and moving away from the investment plan due to market volatility are two such examples.  We continue to believe that a diversified portfolio, invested in accordance with one’s personal risk tolerances and objectives, and following a well thought out Investment Policy Statement is the best way of achieving one’s goals.

As always, we thank you for your business and for your continued trust.


Jack P. Cannata