30 Years Of Commercial Fishing

  I started out commercial fishing for catfish on White Lake in 1972 after leaving the job that four years of college had prepared me for. It goes from feeling blessed to wondering if you are cursed. On paper the numbers never really add up and the economics of it all don’t work, but yet we survive. I attribute it to Divine providence and the special feeling that Jesus has for fishermen. His earthly life was full of doing favors for them. He gave them miraculous catches and calmed the seas when they were sure that they were doomed. He even got them new carriers when they didn’t even know that a job change was what was needed. This is where I seem to be now. On the beach getting the boat in order and waiting for a call to a new direction.

  While I started in White Lake, my trips take me all over Southwest Louisiana in search of “my daily bread” which comes in the form of catfish. With a trailer rig I have been in just about every Bayou from Lake Charles to Morgan City. The boat is a twenty feet long welded aluminum boat with a 90hp Mercury on the back. It’s a one man show with lots of solitary confinement or monastic joy depending on the day.

All of our fishing was done with hoop nets that were set with no float for a marker. We counted on natural landmarks if they were nearby or used a GPS in open water. A GPS is a wonderful thing and highly accurate. Just watch the numbers, drop the grab, and boom there they are. When we started they were expensive, but now they are relatively cheap. Garmin makes a good quality GPS.

White Lake is located in Vermilion Parish almost on the Gulf Coast. If the erosion keeps up it will be part of the Gulf in another 100 years. Oil production is ongoing in the Northwestern and Southeastern sections of the lake and sportsmen are rarely seen. Maximum depth is about seven feet and it gets rough as a cob. My father-in-law, the late Harry Rich, used to say that “White Lake makes it’s own weather”. The main commercial catches are catfish, crabs, and shrimp. The nearest community is Pecan Island on the Southeast shore.

For more information on the area the Vermilion Parish Tourist Commission is a great source.

1983 Gravois Aluminum Boat For Sale

Sold

This is a boat we bought for commercial cat-fishing back in 1983 from Gravois boats. That was back in the time when they where just getting a foothold in the custom aluminum boat business.

They went on to become famous for their big v-bottom bay boats built for sport fishermen. I was over to their shop a few months ago and was blown away at their growth. They don’t do any more one of a kind boats. It’s all strictly big contract work now and they operate under the name Metal Shark.
The Quick Details:

  • 20 feet long with 5 feet flat bottom
  • Heavy welded marine aluminum
  • Center console/hydraulic steering
  • VHF marine radio and Furuno GPS
  • Fuel- 23 gal bolted down aluminum tank
  • Storage under forward deck
  • Large storage that was fish hold
  • Seating on top of fish hold
  • 90HP Mercury 8.5 years old
  • Double axle trailer – solid but looks bad
  • Tires – 3 new and one iffy.

My price is $6,890 and that’s down a little from when I first listed it.  I have never been without a boat and don’t feel anxious to be that way now. I just don’t seem to get around to using it and hate seeing it going to waste.

We ran the boat from Abbeville to Intracoastal City on June 25th and everything seemed to be in good order. Some of the pictures in the gallery below are from that trip.  I really should be giving boat tours instead of selling it. :)

Update From Trapper80

A while back an armadillo trapping visitor who called herself Trapper80 sent us this report. Today I received an update that I am posting with permission. The trap we are discussing can be bought at Shopping Warehouse.

I was in contact with you several years ago when I first started trapping armadillos. I am the woman in Central Florida that had, at that time, caught and killed around 18-20. It’s going on 4 years this August and my count is now up to 81. I mark each capture on my calendar. The best week ever was when I caught 4. It’s been kinda slow lately but I know it’ll pick up. I do have 2 traps set at all times.

It isn’t necessary to bait the trap in any way. When  I catch one sometime during the night I usually leave it in the trap most of the day and it leaves a good strong scent that attracts others.  I have some really funny stories, like when I chased one across my front lawn, it ran across my driveway and along some shrubbery where it dead ended at the trap. It ran right into the trap. Slam….gotta love that sound.

The armadillos follow along straight lines, around garden edging, foundations and in my case, I kinda funnel the critter into the trap by using garden fencing. Once they enter inside the fence line, they just follow it which leads right into the trap.

I happened to turn on the tv the other day and it was Marty something from Wild Kingdom and the show was about “The amazing armadillo”. They were showing the armadillos right here in Central Florida. They made them out to be harmless and cute, even showing one escaping a gator attack.
I was hoping the gator would win.

Havahart Armadillo Trap Maintenance

If you are trying to trap armadillos with the Havahart model we use here is a tip. Make sure to check the trigger as it gets older. Ours is 4 years old now and I have seen catch fall off only to find that it need a drop of oil or a tweak now and then.

The damage was getting extra bad and I was wondering why no catch only to find that the trigger was stiff. Testing it with a stick tells the story. You don’ t want a roach to set it off, but neither require an elephant either. Test it and think armadillo. The hinges get stiff and I use a little 30w motor oil and put a drop on the trigger also. I try not to get too messy with the oil so as not to repel my guests. 🙂

Finally Got To Go Geocaching

Today my oldest grandson and I went geocaching and found seven. My first trip, but he had been a couple of times with his parents. It’s easy to see why it’s a growing outdoor hobby for all ages.

We had the standard hand held GPS, but also used my iPhone with the new Geocaching app to provide the cache information. We where doing a little friendly competition to see if the iPhone GPS could hunt with the Garmin hand held. The iPhone was pretty darn close, but not quite as good as the Garmin.

I’m sure there are many caches that you could find with the iPhone though. I have created a little .mobi mobile web site thinking that there might be a tie in here somewhere.

It’s not much yet but you can check geocashe.mobi and comment either here or via it’s contact form.