Storm surge takes TV trip to exciting new places
BY DALE BOWMAN For Sun-Times Media February 1, 2014 12:04AM
Eric Patrick caught redfish while kayak fishing inland in Louisiana and yellowfin tuna and cobia while deep-sea fishing off the coast of Louisiana for a segment of Sportsman Channel’s “Brotherhood Outdoors.” | For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 3, 2014 5:33PM
From dodging Hurricane Karen to a flight delay leading to some unexpected slicing of fresh yellowfin tuna, Eric Patrick had a lifetime of adventures in October in Louisiana.
Step back to August. Julie McQueen, a co-host on ‘‘Brotherhood Outdoors,’’ asked Patrick for ideas. The show is a union show, and Patrick is a union guy. He’s a lineman (think outside electrical work) who advanced to become the business manager for IBEW Local 196 in Batavia in 2009.
Patrick, who grew up hunting and fishing near Rochelle, pulled together a list of suggestions, from dove hunting in Argentina to fishing in Louisiana.
‘‘She called me a month later for a Louisiana trip. It was a sneaky way to ask me for a trip,’’ he said.
It turned into a lifetime trip.
Karen had a big X on Venice, La., his destination, but the hurricane made a hard right just before Patrick’s arrival on Monday, Oct. 7. Even so, the storm surge pushed him and co-hosts McQueen and Daniel Lee Martin far upriver to Port Sulphur for the Tuesday filming of kayak fishing for redfish and speckled trout.
That was a new experience all around. It was Patrick’s first time using the pedal Hobie kayaks, and the fishing was different.
Mornings, they first tried topwaters. But more unique was using mud minnows on popping corks. The storm surge brought the mud minnows out of the mud. The guides gathered them, then stored them in 500-gallon aerated tanks.
The minnow was hooked through the lip at the end of a 3-foot leader with swivels, brass and a big cork bobber. The rig was cast along the weeds, then snapped to pop the cork against the brass. The noise drew the redfish and trout to the mud minnows. Sounds pretty cool.
It’s no accident that Patrick was invited to such a cool project. He organized a conservation project with the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s Work Boots on the Ground. He got a contractor to donate use of bucket trucks, then organized union volunteers to trim dead wood from the trees over the campground at the Illinois Conservation Foundation’s Torstenson Youth Conservation Education Center in Pecatonica.
The second day was a trip off shore for yellowfin tuna, red snapper and cobia (lemon fish). He caught three yellowfin, the biggest topping 60 pounds. The biggest cobia topped 50 pounds.
‘‘It hit like a tank and ran like a missile,’’ Patrick said.
The third day was more kayak fishing, this time near Buras, La. His big redfish went 28 1/2 inches, and he caught a bonus flounder.
The trip fits Patrick’s style. He has fished walleye on Lake Erie and bass and crappie from a buddy’s camper along the Mississippi River in Iowa and up in a friend’s place in Canada.
‘‘I will fish for whatever is biting,’’ Patrick said. ‘‘I just love being out on the water with a pole in my hand.’’
The adventure was not over. His flight home was delayed and he ended up in Dallas, where he visited his brother.
‘‘I was still carrying around a cooler of fish,’’ he said. ‘‘I just started slicing it off, made some sushi and other things. It could not have been a better way to finish the trip.’’
Patrick’s show aired in mid-January but likely will repeat. ‘‘Brotherhood Outdoors’’ airs at 10 a.m. Sundays on Sportsman Channel with rebroadcasts on Mondays and Tuesdays.