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The Camp
It was November 2006. Lower Plaquemines Parish was still a devastated mess. All of the communities between the levies were crushed by Katrina and left under water for days following the storm. Out on Happy Jack, however, the land is built up to sea level and the camps elevated as much as 12 feet or more. Some of the camps took heavy damage.

Many that were not elevated above 8 feet or so were totally destroyed by the wind and waves. Fortunately, the camps belonging to our friends survived the storm. My brother-in-law Larry spent a couple of weeks in September and October 2005 helping clean up and repair out on Happy Jack. There was no power or running water. He stayed in a camp that had been gutted out following the storm. He worked long days volunteering for our friends in Happy Jack, and of course he made a little time to wet a line. Without a boat, Larry woke up early and simply walked the canal near its opening into the marsh throwing a sparkle beetle or a plastic cacahoe with a slow erratic retrieve.

Larry caught his limit of real nice speckled trout almost every morning he was down there in September and October. We planned a serious fishing trip for November. The last week in November we drove down for 4 days of fishing. We stayed in a gutted camp and cooked out on a camp stove. We had beautiful weather and good tides. We woke up early on the first morning and made our way to "Tennessee Pipeline Canal," which is within clear view of the camp - so close you don't even need an outboard motor. We trolled the canal casting artificial baits with a slow retrieve hoping the speckled trout had backed up in the dead-end canal. You could practically walk across the bait fish pushing in the canal. The slick on the water and the diving gulls told us it would be a good day.

Within an hour we caught our boat limit of 50 nice speckled trout, nothing close to the 12 inch minimum. I figured out that morning that the marshes had not only recovered from Katrina, the marshes were thriving and the fish were enjoying the near total absence of recreational and commercial fisherman. With our limit of speckled trout, we left the canal and trolled the shorelines of Bay Wanee and the small ponds and pockets off of it. I had never seen so many reds patrolling the shorelines. On one stretch of bank, within sight of the camps, over the course of just a few minutes I caught 7 redfish all in the 28 to 31 inch range.

The reds were working the grass line and shallow oyster beds and the water was crystal clear. I casted at wakes, fins protruding from the calm water, and in some instances I saw the fish clearly rooting on the bottom or swimming idly by. We went in with our boat limit by about 9:00 a.m. We had run the outboard for only about 5 minutes total and we never left sight of the camps. Fishing trips like these to Happy Jack and the fine people down there led me to acquire and restore the old Gainey Camp.
The camp, located at 723 Martin Lane, Port Sulphur, LA 70083, is 1,500 square feet with about 1,200 square feet of climate controlled living space.  There are 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a large common living/dining area.  All linens, towels, cookware, and utensils are provided.  The windows offer a nice view of the marshes and great breeze in the Spring and Fall.  There is a boat launch and a slip on site.  Welcome!

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