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  • Writer's pictureMark A. Cartwright

Teach an old dog new tricks.

You have heard the old cliche' that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Well you can! And I was the old dog.

My buddy Ronnie Champlin, invited me to his camp that he has in Point Fourchon for the weekend and the conditions were perfect for fishing. Ronnie is a Title Attorney and his company's name is Champlin Title. He is also a rabid LSU baseball fan. We met while Alden was playing baseball for the tigers. The camp and setting were tremendous. Louisiana is truly a Sportsman's Paradise.

His neighbor is quite a character and treats everyone like they're her grand kids. She fed us the whole time we were there. She even had an LSU cookie cake for the ballgame. If the Tigers would have beat Alabama it would have been a top 5 weekend for sure.

And she has a Gravois!

We caught fish all weekend long. We boated over 200 fish for sure. A lot of throw backs. When you catch that many a Catcher's Mitt sure does come in handy.

So how did this old dog learn a new trick? The last trip we took was on Sunday morning. One of Ronnie's neighbor's, Kevin, had caught some really nice trout on top water the evening before and he was going out at first light to try them again and we were going there too.

I had my favorite top water tied on. Frankly I always have it on. A Bomber Long A, silver flash with a chartreuse back. I catch fish with it all the time........well not all the time. The water has to be pretty. How pretty you ask? I would call it at least a four. I have to be able to see the trolling motor foot or the big motors propeller in the water for me to throw it exclusively.

When we get to the spot, Kevin is already there and has put a few in the boat. Time change got us. I used to have a system for when the time changed to not miss the fishing or hunting trips. I used to ignore the time change and just not change the clocks or alarm until I got home. Cell phones ruined that.

Kevin is using a Baby Zara Spook, I think it's real name is Zara Puppy. Ronnie has one tied on too. I am throwing the Long A.

We are on a shallow flat and I set the hook. Strike one, it's the bottom. I hate it when that happens! Ronnie gets one to knock his Puppy out of the water. Over the next 30 minutes he puts several in the boat and I haven't had a bite. I am even working the Long A like a top water bait and not ripping it like I usually do because we are so shallow. I'm worried that some of the trout might have fleas we are so shallow.

I have another fishing pole so I tie on a Spook. A Super Spook. None of that puppy love for me. Ronnie says, "I have another Zara Puppy just like this one". I told him I would give this one a whirl and see what happens.

After numerous Olympic distance casts, I finally catch a fish. A solid two pounder but nothing special. And not as big as some of the ones that Ronnie is catching. And he is catching another one! So I throw it a little more and have the realization that the fish don't want a big bait.

I have an idea. I'll try a Bomber Badonk-A-Donk, in bone. It's smaller and Theophile Bourgeios favorite top water bait. And that boy can fish.

Guup guup guup guup....... Medium, fast, slow.......crickets. Nothing, nada, not even a whiff. Ronnie is on the front of the boat casting to the shoreline. He is catching fish. Hey Ronnie I was waiting on you to hit me in the head with one of those 2x4s, but I guess you are too busy catching fish. Can I use that Puppy now?

So I tie it on while he is catching another fish. I make another long cast. Guup, guup, guup, guup......and another, and another. Ronnie is on the front deck casting to the bank. We had surmised that the fish were real shallow to get away from the sharks and dolphins.

I run up to the front and start casting shallow. He catches another one. I make about five casts without getting a bite. He casts out and bingo. He catches another %%##**%$ fish. WTheck. RONNIE what are you doing? He says, "I'm walking the dog, ............................................................but I'm stopping to let him pee". WHAT? You're stopping the walk the dog cadence? blasphemy. You can't break the rhythm.

"Yep. That's what I'm doing. Just pausing it a little bit". And he proceeds to make four casts and catches one on every cast!

Well you know the rest of the story. This old dog learned a new trick. When you're walking the dog, sometimes you need to let him stop to pee.

wheew. I need to take a rest from catching all these fish.

The Catcher's Mitt is a godsend when you are using top waters and catching them fast.

I did manage to catch the big one of the day. A 20 incher on a Zara Puppy with a new trick.

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