This past week I was fortunate enough to host a group of 5 to the comfortable Woodland Plantation in southern Louisiana. As an employee of Tailwaters Fly Fishing Co, I assumed the position of a host for the group. I arrived in Louisiana with high expectations. Why the hell shouldn’t I, right? In the past year we have sent over 100 anglers to this destination and we continue to hear nothing but great things about the fishery. Our great friend and loyal customer Dennis Burns, landed a whopping 38# redfish last March, which is one of many bull reds we have heard of being landed.
The Woodland Plantation is a wonderful bed and breakfast situated in the heart of southern Louisiana’s marshland. For me, the food is what makes the Woodland special. Each evening starts with two rounds of incredible appetizers, usually a mixture of fried shrimp, spring rolls, crawfish cakes, and others. Once sat, the server starts you with the soup of the day. For our particular group we had gumbo on Sunday, red beans and rice on Monday, crawfish etouffee on Tuesday, and duck & sausage andouille on Wednesday. Next is a dinner salad upon arrival of the entree. The server reads off different options from which you can choose. Redfish, quail, and steak are common among these choices.
Redfish on the halfshell. Yuuummmy! :: Photo by Matt Jones
View of the Woodland Plantation at Sunrise :: Photo by Matt Jones
The Bar. Warming the body and the mind. :: Photo by Matt Jones
So, back to my expectations and how they were ultimately met. Going in, we all knew the weather this season had been punishing. Alike the rest of the country, the southern flats of Louisiana have been experienced colder weather than the norm. The key for our success was getting sunlight and finding warm water. Obviously we needed sun to see, but we also needed it to warm the shallow flats. We quickly realized that this may not happen due to the fact we had 20-25 knot winds. A quick breakdown of the weather we experienced — lots of sun + lots of wind = little change in water temperature. Our first three days we did catch fish, but it was tough, real tough. Because of the wind, we had very dirty water which made sight casting to redfish difficult. Eighty five percent of the time, I would look down from the casting platform only to realize we had just spooked another redfish beneath the boat. Every so often though, I would spot a fish with a dark back or one sitting closer to the surface, would make a cast and more often than not would get an eat. By Wednesday we were all frustrated with the wind, and the dirty water but were ready to face our last day on the water. The forecast called for winds to blow at 5-15 knots and luckily the forecast was wrong. Thursday was our day of redemption, we had calm enough conditions to run the boats far closer to the gulf than we had previously and that was our ticket to success. After making a drift across the first flat, our guide took us to an incredible place. Capt. Bryan Carter made the decision to cross the sand bar and go into the gulf to explore the beaches. The gulf water was far warmer than the water on the flats and we quickly started seeing fish (big fish). Within minutes Bryan spotted a huge redfish tail breaking the surface. At this particular point in time, Jared was on the platform searching for this fish. When we found the fish, Jared placed a perfect cast in front of this fish. He slurped it up, and it was on. We initially thought this fish was short of 20lbs, but were very surprised when Jared reeled this fish closer to the boat. After netting and landing the redfish, it weighed in at 29lbs. Not a bad way to end the trip!
Jared Louviere with 29lb refish :: Photo by Matt Jones
Myself with a nicely spotted redfish :: Photo by Jared Louviere
Despite the harsh weather, we ended up having a very successful trip. There were many fish taken in the 12-16lb range, and on the last day Jared landed his trophy. Other Tailwaters’ customers Rick Buferd, John Hansen, Joey Pate, and Joe Worsham found large schools of redfish and caught in total of over 75 fish!
Rick Buferd and John Hansen with a double
Jared Louviere with 14lb redfish :: Photo by Matt Jones
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