You had to have heard the call.
Those winds out of the north in the early mornings for the past two weeks set the stage. The surf is doing the calling.
And, fishing buddies Felton Dunnehoo and Don Hebert have answered.
They’ve headed south to the Gulf and have caught some mighty big bull reds in recent weeks, an indication that it’s getting to be that time of the year when the surf settles down with a steady north wind and the redfish come in closer to shore to feed.
“Anytime you catch a bull red in the surf it’s a thrill,” said Dunnehoo, who is retired and lives in Moss Bluff but grew up in Reeves.
“I probably fished about every body of water around there,” he said of his younger days. “Fished all the creeks and the ponds for bass and perch.”
He and Hebert hooked up many years ago and began by fishing the river, the industrial canal (LNG) and Big Lake. It was only a few years ago that they started making steady trips to the Gulf for surf fishing.
“He got me hooked on surf fishing,” Dunnehoo said of Hebert. “I think I remember catching three or four reds about 8 or 9 pounds each that first day and I was ready to go again.
“We usually make a day of it,” Dunnehoo said, adding that they will get there by eight in the morning and leave at three or four in the afternoon. At times they will also pull a trailer down and use it when there is a break in the action.
He said his fishing gear is nothing fancy.
“I’ve got two rods and reels, a Penn casting reel and a Shakespeare alpha spinning reel. Both have 20-pound test line and I use a steel leader with about 3 ounces of weight or more, depending on the surf and a 3.0 hook,” he added.
He’ll also bring with him a couple of lengths of PVC pile which he will hammer several feet into the sand, these to be holders for his rods after casting the line out into the surf.
The bait they use they catch just off the beach with a cast net.
It’s mullet and they will cut the mullet into chunks.
“Early on we tried taking shrimp down but they didn’t work as good as the mullet,” Dunnehoo said.
Now, for the fishing site. It’s west of Holly Beach, but not all the way to Johnson Bayou.
What they have found is a trough that has been made with the shoreline on the north and a sand bar on the south. This is where the reds will come in to feed.
Dunnehoo said the sand bar is about 100 yards out into the Gulf and runs about 300 to 400 yards long.
The largest red he has caught in the surf is 24 pounds while Hebert has landed a 28-pounder.
All of the bull reds they catch they return to the water.
“It took me 20 minutes to land that 24-pounder,” Dunnehoo said, adding that his second largest was 22 pounds.
He’s also caught gafftop catfish, a lot of hardhead catfish and shark (small hammerhead and black tips).
“You really never know what might get on your line,” he said.
As for his next trip?
It could be as early as in the next few days or as late as later in the week.
Whenever it is, he said he was ready.
Then he’ll sink his PVC pipes, wade knee deep into the water, fly his line out into the Gulf, toss the butt end of his rod into a pipe, take a seat on a folding chair and watch his line.
Life is good.