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RedfishSTRAVAGANZA!

I owe you folks an apology.  I’ve been so caught up in the happenings of the past few weeks that I’ve completely neglected knocking out this trip report from the Big Easy.  I’ve told and retold the stories to friends and family countless times, so it’s time to share with the rest of you.

With that said, I’d been looking forward to this trip for quite some time.  I’m originally from southwest Louisiana, so that automatically means I’m Cajun, except for the people that know better  Honestly, my hometown is about 20 minutes from the Texas border, so I’m closer to Texan than Cajun, but I always crack a smile when I mention where I’m from and people jump to that conclusion.

Regardless of the exact logistics, a return to The Motherland was originally planned by my wife and I as a one-year anniversary trip, but due to a change in job, she wasn’t able to make it this go-around.  I decided to make the best of it, and planned to drive over and spend some time with my little brother, who’s currently a junior in the architecture program over at LSU.

I drove the 9 hours or so east on I10, which happens to be one of my favorite drives in the country.  Once you get right east of Lafayette or so, you end up over the Atchafalaya Basin, which is the largest swamp in the country.

Plus, you get to drive over places with cool names.

If this bay was made of whiskey, would you drink it?

Little bro and I arrived in town right smack during rush hour, which was surprisingly tame compared to local traffic here in Austin.  We checked in to our room, headed out for some fresh seafood, and called it an early evening, as we both knew what awaited us the next day.

Our guide, Captain Greg Dini, picked us up before daybreak the next morning.  Captain Greg is considered to be one of the best redfish guides in the area, and has been getting some great exposure recently with some of the filmwork he’s done.  You may have seen his video Riding High from the Drake 5 Minute Films back at IFTD in August.  He was a fantastic guide, and we really enjoyed spending the day with him out in the Venice Marsh.

Redfish Ninja Greg

This was Kyle and I’s first time fishing out of a skiff, so we only had a vague idea of what to expect.  What I personally didn’t expect is how fast things happened.  As soon as we poled into the first area, we had two 30+ pound fish cruising right at us on top.  By the time I picked my jaw up off the casting platform, those jokers were well out of casting range.

Now, the weather was supposed to be ideal.  Supposed to be, being the key phrase there.  The forecast called for mostly sunny skies, but it ended up being overcast for the majority of the day with a pretty stout wind.  This made it really tough to spot fish, even in the crystal clear 4′ of water they were in.  We spooked a ton of fish with the boat that we just couldn’t see until it was too late.

Finally, after a few unproductive hours, we were cutting through cane-surrounded inlet, and  I spotted a fish right in front of the boat.

Showtime.

I don’t remember casting.  I don’t remember setting the hook.  All I remember is my reel screaming like a stuck pig as the beast of a fish cut right through the cane into the open water beyond.

“You probably shouldn’t let him get in the cane,” my brother advised.

Probably not.

Thankfully, I was able to get my line untangled from the cane as Greg poled us back out into the open water.  I was halfway into my backing at this point, as Mr. Redfish headed out towards the horizon.  As I finally was able to put the rod to him, I realized this was the first time ever I felt under gunned gear-wise.  Luckily, the whoopin’ stick held out, even though I was sure it was going to break.

After an epic battle that left my little girl arms convulsing, I finally had my first redfish.  And oh what a redfish she was!

I love the spots on these fish.  Each fish is different and unique in the way they’re spotted.  I think that’s really cool.

After a bit of celebration, it was Kyle’s turn on the casting deck, and it wasn’t long before he got his first as well.

Pretty sure mine was bigger. Just sayin'

We continued to swap back and forth, each catching a few more fish.  I lost another bruiser right at the boat, and had another “small” 8-lber, while Kyle ended up a with a couple more as well.  The conditions made it tough, and my casting certainly wasn’t up to snuff, but we’d get a few shots every time the sun would peak out from the clouds for a few seconds.

I’m pretty sure the last fish of the day will be something that will live on in my head forever.  Coming around a corner, Greg spotted a nice fish a ways out.  I made a terrible cast that was short by quite a few feet.  I was about to pick up and recast, when the fish barreled over so fast, it pushed a rooster-tail wake of water out behind it.  It crushed my fly, and took off.  It was like being hooked to a battleship, but after another tough fight, we got her in as well.

Big Fish of the Day

We called it a day on that note.  It was around 4:30, and we had a decent ride back to the dock, and all wanted to make it back to town before the big LSU-Bama game that night.

Kyle's Gameday shirt could be seen for miles.

Honestly, this trip lived up to all of my expectations.  It was great to get to spend some time with my brother out  in the marsh.  Captain Dini was a great guide, and while very patient with our casting, was always eager have a bit of fun with us when we blew a shot completely.

Pretty sure I’m ruined now.  Trout be damned; I can’t wait to get back to the salt.

When I close my eyes at night, this is what I still see.

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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Fishing, Trip Report

 

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The winner of the “What do you have on your fishing lanyard?” giveaway is….

Chris Schatte…. congratulations to Chris!

Chris will receive a MooseKnuckle Lanyards Universal Tippet Caddy

MooseKnuckle Lanyards Universal Tippet Caddy ™

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2011 in Giveaways

 

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The winning photo is…

By a very close margin….

Yellow Spots Red Dots

A hand numbered and signed 11 x 14 window mat of JB McCollum’s “Yellow Spots Red Dots” will be added to the ultimate Christmas giveaway that will be announced in the coming days.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Giveaways

 

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Founders Brewing Co. “Canadian Breakfast Stout”

The Pitch:

Canadian Breakfast Stout is an Imperial Stout brewed with a blend of coffees and imported chocolates, then aged in spent bourbon barrels that have most recently been aging pure Michigan maple syrup.

http://www.foundersbrewing.com/blog/beer/canadian-breakfast-stout-taproom-release-information-announced

Stats:

ALCOHOL: 10.6% alcohol, by volume

http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/1199/47658

Founders Brewing Co. "Canadian Breakfast Stout"

The Skinny:

To score one of these beauties for under a hundred bills in the Carolinas is equivalent to winning the powerball!  Well maybe not quit that extreme, but pretty close.  To say these bad boys flew off the shelves is an understatement. At the time this bottle was consumed the going rate on fleabay was about buck twenty.  A beer worth a hundred and twenty? Most defiantly!  The aroma was that of your favorite cup of coffee with a dash of chocolate maple.  The nose of alcohol was notable at the onset.  The taste, amazing!  The coffee was the first to make it’s appearance, followed in the middle with the chocolaty goodness and tied up with an amazing ribbon of maple glazed bourbon.  With an ABV of over 10% it most certainly showed up on the palate as well.  Not overwhelming, but it was most there.  As far as other imperial stouts go, Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout is shoulders above the rest.  If you can find one, drink it!  The CBS is the first to be given four out of four knuckles.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2011 in Beer Reviews

 

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The life in Sweden

Up here in the north it becomes darker colder day by day. The first snow usually come in a few weeks and the fishing season to an end. But when the season is over so begins another. The flytying season. Since I love to tie flies, I have already started the season.

Here are some of the flies I tied recently.

Damsel

Damsel

 

Czechnymph - pink

Czechnymph - pink

 

Czechnymph - brown

Czechnymph - brown

But I have not only tying flies. I’ve had little time for pike fishing. Have had a really lousy pike fishing recently and caught no big pike this time. But they are out there in the lake.

Small pike

Small pike

Have a nice day wherever you are.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2011 in Fishing, Fly Tying

 

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You, the Fan Decides the Next Prize Pack!

MooseKnuckle Lanyards will be partnering with J.B. McCollum to bring you a very special prize pack just in time for Christmas!  Who is J.B. McCollum you ask?

J.B. taking a break from a hard at the office on Henry's Fork in Island Park, ID

I am from New Jersey and photography and the outdoors is a true passion of mine. In the warmer side of the year one can often find me walking small shady rivers stalking the illusive east coast brook trout, come the winter I trade in fly-rod for shotgun and roam the rolling hills of New Jersey with my bird dogs. I have a passion to wander and travel and in due time I will see much more of the world, in due time you too will see more of the world as I see it through my eye. I have not quite figured out how I will see the world but I can assure you I will.

Tight Lines,
J.B. McCollum

In short J.B. is a fly bum who just happens to be a very talented photographer. Lucky for you J.B. has offered an 11 x 14 window mat signed and numbered as a part of our Christmas Giveaway prize pack.  The hard part is you have to decide which print you would like to see in the prize pack.  Below you will see ten images and a poll to vote on your favorite.  Voting will end on December 1st.

Image #1

2

Image #2

3

Image #3

Image #4

Image #5

Image #6

Image #7

Image #8

Image #9

Image #10

Be sure to check out J.B.’s work over at My Eye Photography and on Facebook.  Thank you for your vote and good luck!

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Giveaways

 

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Universal Tippet Caddy ™ Revealed!

image

Overnight directly from the manufacturer!

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Fishing, Gear

 

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