RSS

Tag Archives: redfish

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.

 
5 Comments

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

 

Tags: , , , ,

Dispatches from…wherever..: Red State (of mind)

The bow of a flats skiff, that's the place for me

This was a difficult post to title.

Usually, they’re Dispatches from Canada. For the past few weeks, I’ve been in Idaho. And this post is about Louisiana.

Like most people, I blame BP. But for different reasons.

If it weren’t for the extensive coverage of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, there’s a strong possibility that I would never have gone to Louisiana. Throughout the summer & fall of 2010, every major fly fishing magazine and numerous websites & blogs discussed the potential impact of the oil spill on the Gulf Coast fisheries. Images of one particular species of fish kept cropping up: redfish. I started seeing redfish everywhere: magazines, videos, blogs.

As cold weather started setting in at home, and our fishing seasons closed down, the whole redfish thing hit a critical point. I woke up one frigid morning, and, not wanting to disturb my girlfriend, I grabbed a fishing magazine off the floor. I flipped it open to see a massive redfish staring back at me. Uh-huh…

Later that day I sat down to do some work. Procrastination got the better of me: “I wonder how much a flight to New Orleans costs?”

Thirty minutes later, with a flight, hotel & guide booked, I started to realize I might have a problem.

I wrote a dispatch in praise of smallmouth bass, and yes, they’re my favourite home water fish. But redfish…all I have to say is wow.

The first one I hooked, I didn’t know what to do; my reel was screaming, the line burnt my fingers, the rod was bent in two…and I definitely didn’t know how to do a hero-shot.

I'm smiling on the inside. Honestly.

Despite the fact the photo makes me appear to have failed a recent calculus exam and am about to fall over, I was ecstatic about my first redfish. I hooked up with eight more and landed four of them…let’s say there’s a bit of a learning curve going from small stream trout on the 3wt to reds in the salt from the bow of a flats skiff, and leave it at that, shall we?

Regardless of my lack of being photogenic, I had an epic day (by my standards).

Not to be outdone by some Canadian noob, my guide one-cast the biggest of the day with the boat idling and proceeded to also school me in hero-shot poses.

Captain John shows me how it's done

Because the IFTD was held in NOLA this past year, lots of redfish content has been floating around again.

And I keep checking my frequent flyer account balances…again…

Sarcasm on the interhorn typically goes over like a lead balloon unless you specify it as #sarcasm

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Fishing

 

Tags: , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: