Pac attack is back
Sometimes a tournament is remembered for the fish (big yellow mouth trout), or the weather (lightning storms), and sometimes controversy. Although the heat was definitely a factor with temps hitting 100 plus, this year's PAC Attack will be remembered for its host, PAC Kayak Rentals, and the incredible job they did hosting this great event.
The Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club returned to Pointe Aux Chenes ("PAC"), for the PAC Attack after a brief hiatus. This tournament, which was held over Labor Day weekend, had a great showing despite the many challenges facing it considering the recent flooding in Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes. For some anglers it provided a moment of normalcy and escape from dealing with the realities of the flooding. For the hosts, it provided a great opportunity to showcase their commitment to the kayak community. For me it provided a great opportunity to fish a completely new area and to get back to kayak fishing after a long summer absence from the sport.
I have heard the term PAC thrown around in the fishing community. Just a few years ago, I asked a friend what PAC meant, never knowing that it was short for Pointe Aux Chenes. Having never fished the area before, and not aware of what type of conditions I would face, i.e, heavy grass, shallow water, etc., I went up Friday afternoon to scout for the tournament. I had the pleasure of running into a few other anglers who also decided to do a little scouting before the tournament. If you have never been, Pointe Aux Chenes is located just southeast of Houma and is about an hour and fifteen minutes from New Orleans. It's a very small fishing community with little to offer in the way of lodging or food, although PAC Kayak Rentals and PAC Marina across the bayou do offer a few rooms to rent. However, what it lacks in those comforts it more than makes up for in fishing. PAC does not get as much pressure as other popular fishing destinations such as Delacroix or Shell Beach. As a result, there is great fishing for reds and specks literally within feet of the marina. And with miles of marsh to explore, the possibilities are endless.
As with most scouting trips before a tournament, my first stop was the weigh in location at PAC Kayak Rentals to see what information I could gather about the area and fishing tactics. PAC Kayak Rentals is a fairly new venture run by Eddie and his wife, Lisa. If there are two more hospitable people in south Louisiana, I haven't met them. The marina offers kayak rentals, including Jackson kayaks and a Hobie Outback. Additionally, there is no shortage of live bait including shrimp, crabs and minnows, dead bait and ice. The marina does not currently offer food or drinks for sale, but that is in the works. The facility caters almost exclusively to kayakers, although boaters will pull up for bait. Additionally, the marina offers a mother ship for kayakers looking to be put "on the fish".
With its focus on kayakers, PAC Kayak Rentals has launches specifically designed for launching kayaks. Anglers are able to back their vehicle directly to the launch, unload their kayak and gear and when they're ready, gently glide their fully loaded kayak into the water via rollers. And if you need any help loading or unloading, Eddie and Lisa are always willing to lend you a hand.
After getting a nice tutorial from Eddie and fellow residents about the area, I launched my Outback and headed out into the PAC marsh. Fishing within a few hundred yards of the launch, I was able to land a few reds within an hour. The heat finally drove me in where I spent the rest of the afternoon under The Palm at PAC Kayak Rentals drinking a beer with the locals and learning about the area. Pointe Aux Chenes is home to the Pointe au Chien Indian tribe. According to some sources, the tribe claims to be descended from the Chitimacha. Other sources indicate that the tribe is descended from the Acolapissa, Atakapas and Biloxi Indians. As we sat under the Palm, Eddie related stories recounted to him by members of the tribe about their influence in the area, and how their ancestors hand dug many canals in PAC so the tribe could access more fertile fishing grounds. That influence is still felt today with the numerous waterways cut through the marsh. Many members of the tribe continue to rely on this bountiful marsh as a way of life.
As the evening approached and the stories winded down, we made our way down to Chauvin for some pizza and supplies. Then it was back to the room for an early night sleep. The morning of the tournament arrived and everyone was off to their launch spots. My buddy decided to launch a mile up the road based on some advice given to him by a local. Along with a number of other anglers, I opted to launch at PAC Kayak Rentals. Based on my prior day's experience, I felt confident I would catch some fish.
The goal for PAC Attack is to weigh in the heaviest three slot redfish. For me, it turned out to be one of those days where the best ones got away. Still I figured out the pattern in my area and managed to land seven reds and lost another three. A few trout were thrown in the mix with a bonus flounder. On any other day this would be a great trip. However, for this tournament I couldn't quite find the size I needed to be competitive. By 11:30 the heat became unbearable (and unsafe) and I headed back to the comfort of the marina.
When I arrived, the weigh in had already begun. People were seated comfortably in the shade under a tent provided by PAC Kayak Rentals. In the background, volunteers from the community had arrived to cook jambalaya, white beans and salad for the participants. Some of the girls from the community had also pitched in and made cupcakes and brownies. There were coolers full of ice cold water, Gatorade and quite a few adult beverages. I quickly began to wonder why I waited so long to return to the dock. This was an oasis in the middle of the marsh.
As usual with this group, some big fish were brought in, including a few too big. Some familiar faces were at the top of the leaderboard: Denis Soigner, who is currently sitting in first place in the Bayou Coast Angler of the Year series, took 1st place with a three fish stringer totaling 19.32 pounds; Josh Reppel finished 2nd with an 18.18 pound stringer; and 3rd place went to Bill Crawford at 17.67. Wrapping up the top five was Kalon Johnson at 16.84 pounds in 4th and Aaron Clay at 16.54 pounds. As for me, let's just say that I finished in the top 1/3. Not what I was hoping for, but I left with some great memories and also made a few new friends.
If you want more information on PAC Kayak Rentals check them out on Facebook or give them a call at (225) 573-4085.
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