I have heard stories of fishing the Louisiana marsh in the late fall. Large, aggressive, and angry redfish eating almost anything you can put in front of them. The fishing in the marshes of southern Louisiana is not a secret. Most fly anglers at least know that there are big redfish there. It is just that the area is not as set up for fly fishing destination travel, and not a glamorous tropical destination, like Cuba, Belize, or the Keys. The vast majority of the folks that fish the marshes do so on spin gear, and they are looking to harvest their limit. Louisiana has high bag limits: 25 fish per day for speckled trout and 5 redfish per person per day. I'm not sure that I agree with those bag limits, but that is not really what this post is about. I will say that we practice catch and release pretty much exclusively. Someone in our group did keep one redfish and reported that it was delicious. All that being said, Louisiana is a fantastic place to go fly fishing for redfish, black drum, and if you are lucky, Sheepshead (Cajun Permit). The relatively few guides are all knowledgeable and hospitable, the fishing is really good, and the culture and people are amazing. It all adds up to one really great experience.
The trip was hosted by a fellow known around Fort Collins as "English Jim" of Great Takes Travel. Jim put together a sweet ass trip with room and board at the Woodland Plantation outside of Port Sulphur. The plantation is a funky, cool, interesting piece of American history featuring an antebellum mansion, a turn of the century repurposed store, and an old church that was moved and then renovated into the Spirits Hall. The "Big House," where we stayed, is the mansion that was on the label of Southern Comfort from 1934 to 2009. The location was excellent, the food was fantastic, and the people who work at the plantation are all really amazing. It was super bitchin' to come back to the plantation after a day of fishing, sit on the large porch in rocking chairs sipping cocktails, and discussing the fish caught and the ones that got away. It is a unique place and a great launch pad for some dynamite fishing.
Gotta have the airport photo in a travel blog right? Welcome to Woodland Plantation and the Spirits Hall.
The "Big House" from the river side of the plantation.
Yeah....There are gators around. So don't go wondering off drunk in the middle of the night.
The Old Magnolia Store was moved a few miles down the road to the plantation where it was renovated and now hosts guests.
The obligatory Louisiana oyster photo and the elusive Woodland wooden lawn redfish in its native habitat.
Another day in paradise in Port Sulphur, Louisiana.
A sunken shrimp boat in the marsh, and did I mention there are gators and snakes around?
This post is going to have what a lot of my fishing posts lack...actual photos of fish. I didn't take all the photos so thanks to the fellas for sending me their fish pics. Here is my first redfish of the trip. Not big, a "slot" redfish, but a good start.
I usually fish with my dad on the first day of all the trips we go on. Here he is getting work done in the marsh.
I will just jump right into a bunch of fish photos from the trip.
Doubles don't happen very often, but Steve and Stuart got it done. Done with 20+ pound fish.
A couple quick things. You may have noticed the gold reel in some of the photos. I have talked about it in previous posts, but it is an Islander Reel. I love Islander Reels. I love THAT Islander reel for sentimental reasons. I hope to fish the salt with that reel for the rest of my life.
Something else that you may have noticed is that my father and I reel with our right hand in the salt. It is an old angling argument. What hand to reel with. One that took me a few years, and I pushed back on it because I reel left handed in trout fishing. We reel with our right hand (and cast with our right, so you have to change hands with the rod in the middle of the action) because we like to reel with our more coordinated hand. I like to do it because it is how the old schoolers did it. People like Billy Pate and Lefty Kreh, so for me it is cool to fish the same way. There are cases for both ways and, honestly, you should do what feels right. You do you.
These next few redfish were pushing the thirty pound mark, and were some of the largest of the trip. Gotta love rod in the teeth!
I like fish photos. It is cool to see the size of the fish. I also thoroughly enjoy photos of the fight and the action. I think bent fly rods are cool. Here is Steve with a healthy redfish on.
"English Jim" and I usually fish the last day of the trips we take together. This trip we got out with Captain Gabriel Lippert and we had a fantastic experience. I missed some big redfish early in the day, but I was able to rally and ended up catching my biggest fish of the trip. More about that later.
Some of the best fishing was not far from a dredging rig. It seemed like the noise and ruckus should have spooked the fish, but for some reason the fishing was really good.
Here is the only black drum I caught of the trip. Slimy, stinky ass fish, but fun to catch.
Right about here in this post I need to talk about my face. While looking through all my photos from the trip I realized that often looked clueless or just plain dumb with fish in my hands. I am really not sure why I made all these dumb faces while I was handling fish, but here are a few good ones.
Looking good right? Do you see what is going on below? That is me with a 15 pound redfish and my nose squished by the rod while making duck lips. Also notice that the tippet is wrapped around my ear and around the fish. Wow. Nice. Really?
Here is the best one though. That is a 26 pound redfish (thanks Gabriel!). One of the largest, fattest fishes I have ever landed. The biggest fish of the trip for me. A fish big enough that I had to sit down with it. How do I celebrate? How do I try to look cool with a huge fish? With a squinty dumbfounded look on my sunburned face. Nice one Max. I gotta work on that.
I have to give credit where credit is due. The guides that we fished with in the marshes were all hard working, professional, great people. I am glad to have fished with them and I learned something from every one of them.
Gabriel Lippert of Sarasota Charters
Jonathan Allan of Louisiana Fishing Guide Service
Travis Huckeba of Saltwater Solutions
Jim Dietz of Mountains 2 Marshes
Eddie Adams of Louisiana Redfish Master Charters
Matt Morell of Captain Matt Morell's Charter Fishing
Dave Marino of Myrtle Grove Charters
The Louisiana marshes are absolutely amazing. There are a lot of fish that want to play the game and it is a ton of fun. If you ever get a chance to go, it's a blast and I definitely recommend it.
I do my best to learn something from everyone that I fish with. Be it fishing technique or life technique I always try to come away with something. This trip was no different and I hope I picked up what was being put down. I think I did. I definitely learned a lot. Thanks everyone. I hope we get to do it again.