Saturday, January 2, 2016

December to Remember

While fall fishing took a little longer than usual to kick in this year, the recent string of cold fronts have definitely had the trout on the move and their transition into our interior marshes is now in full force.  While they have been showing up in low numbers in their usual winter spots, the fall areas have been on fire throughout the gulf areas of the state, it seems every person I talk to is slinging limits of yellow mouths over the gunnels every day.
This month I had the opportunity to get on the water with some local superstars, in their own minds of course, and pick their brains about different topics that they are passionate about.  As I arrived at Rigolets Marina an hour before the sun was set to rise, I was met by Ranger Pro and local guide of In & Out Charters, Capt. Bubby Lamy, and General Manager, third generation owner of Double D Meat Co, Josh Stogner.   These are two individuals that want nothing more than to succeed in everything they do, whether it’s putting fish over the rail for clients, or making sure that your family is getting the best country smoked sausage there is, these guys are not only good at what they do, but they are proud of it.
Capt. Bubby is a native of south Louisiana, a family man, a father of three, an inspiration to many, and a captain that strives to make sure you’re smiling the entire day on the water.  With over 30 years of experience fishing the waters of Louisiana mixed with a personality so entertaining it’s contagious, you can’t help but have a good time.
Josh is also a native a south Louisiana, a family man, a father of two, and a provider to many of us throughout the country when it comes to the best smoked sausage around.  With more years of experience in the processing industry than he wants to admit, being the third generation of the family owned Double D Meat Co., Josh has worked long and hard to perfect their meats and grow their business into a national sensation to taste buds, all while carrying on the family traditions and values that his previous generations started nearly 50 years ago.
With the sky still black and the wind beginning to blow, Capt. Bubby pointed the bow of his Ranger Bay 2510 south and let loose on the 300 Yamaha horses and we were on our way.  The throttle stayed steady until we made it to our first destination, “the wall”.  As we arrived at the large locks, it was a sunrise of great proportions, the sun was shining on the tugs pushing the barges along the ICW, the tips of the Paris Rd Bridge or “green monster” were shining, and for a minute it seemed that everything stood still.  But just as I was attempting to take a few pictures I was reminded by the comical captain that it’s now fishing time.  We made our way to the back corner section south of the gates and nosed our way slowly closer to the wall, Bubby and I were jigging Matrix shad in Lemon Head and Limbo Slice, while Josh was Carolina rigging live shrimp.  Within minutes Josh was hooked up and it didn’t take us long to figure out it wasn’t a trout as the drag was screaming off the reel.  Josh hooked into a gorgeous redfish that did everything he could in his attempt to elude the net, he made runs around several crab pot buoys, of which we had to unwrap by hand while Josh continued to fight the beast, and after what seemed like 10 minutes, we finally had the first fish in the boat.  During this time a couple other boats had pulled up and started working the back corner of the area.  As we high fived and took a few pictures, we were quick to get back to the task at hand.  Within minutes there were trout flying into the boat from every direction.  After 10 or 15 yellow mouths in the box, Capt Bubby decided to make a move, his sights weren’t set on just catching trout, he wanted to catch big trout, and so with that in mind, we cranked up and moved to another section of the wall about a mile or two away.
As we arrived at location number two, there wasn’t a boat in sight. Bubby positioned the boat along the wall in an effort to set us all up working a small ledge in 27 feet of water, and as expected, the trout began flooding the floor of the Ranger Bay.   These trout were all keepers and a little bigger, but still not what Bubby was looking for.  After about 30 minutes and another 20 trout bubby decided it was time to move again, but this time he gave us options.  Bubby looked at Josh and asked him if he had ever sight fished reds, and with as straight a face as one can have, Josh simply said. “Nope, but I’m open for anything.”
That’s all it took, you could see the excitement on Bubby’s face, he was like a kid on Christmas morning, and I just knew what lied ahead for Josh was going to be an experience he would never forget. 
As we arrived in the middle of nowhere, all you could see was crystal clear water and marsh grass for miles.  Bubby and Josh got in the front of the boat and I climbed up the T top and was perched like a bald eagle searching for his next meal.  Bubby knew these waters well and was able to almost point out the fish before we could even see them.  With matrix shad hooked up to spinner blades, the flash and thump was too much for these reds to resist.  First it was one red here and one red there, and then it was schools of reds cornered in the back of ponds.  Once Josh got his bearings and understood what to look for and where in the column the reds were swimming, it didn’t take him long to get in on the action landing his first sight fished redfish.  Within a couple of hours there were three limits of quality redfish on ice and I’m pretty sure some of the stories throughout the day will be recalled and shared for years to come.
Running a business is never easy and running a family business can have added consequences and pressures being you’re becoming part of something that is bigger than you, and the last person you ever want to let down is your own family.  So with that in mind, I asked Josh how he became involved in the family run Double D Meat Co, when did he know he wanted to continue the family tradition, and what keeps him motivated? Without hesitation, Josh quickly responded, “As a teenager I worked at the plant during my summer and Christmas breaks from school, so I knew at that time I wanted to stay in the family business when I graduated. I’ve learned a lot from my Dad Mike and Uncle Tillman, two of the greatest all around men I know, who trust me to run the family business just as Grandpa Dutch trusted them. We strive every day to continue to produce a high quality product that our loyal customers love and we continue to treat our customers as friends. Whether we are called D&D, Two D’s or Double D it gives us a sense of pride when we hear customers say they grew up eating our sausage and in their eyes there is no other. We’ve been blessed and try to help the community whenever we are able.”
Double D has been serving our community for 48 years strong and has always had a family atmosphere over the last 30 plus years I’ve been going there.  They can ship to anywhere in the U.S. by request and can be found at all of your local and major food chains.  As for their processing operations of wild game, I don’t drop my deer of anywhere except DD in Bogalusa, and now when you drop off your venison you can even enter your deer by weight into their big buck competition to win a wide array of high end prizes.
I did an article earlier this year on Double D Meat Co and the myth of whether or not you get your own meat back after you drop it off.  Well we already dispelled that myth, and getting to know Josh and seeing who he is as a person says a lot about the family touch that is put into their products, and based on the success of their company, the quality of their meat, taste of their meat, and the instilled family values that Josh portrays, there is no question why they have they have been dubbed, “Home of Country Smoked Sausage.” 

Josh, what did you think about the trip? “It was a great day of fishing; Sight fishing from an elevated position was a 1st for me but won’t be the last. Any day on the water fishing with good people is a good day but putting fish in the boat makes it a great day. “

Capt Bubby, what did know about DD Meats? “Double D is my favorite smoke sausage, I’ve tried the rest now I eat the best, Double D Smoked Sausage.”

Capt Bubby, what is it that draws you to chartering and to fishing in general? “Although fishing is about catching fish for most people, it’s not everything. It’s the friendships and the enjoyment you have trying to catch them that’s everything.”