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Posts Tagged ‘Redfish’

Just over a week ago, I had the pleasure of heading down to Port Sulphur, LA to FINALLY complete a Redfish trip that had been planned since January. Then re-booked due to weather. Then again due to weather. Then again due to weather. Then due to oil. My fishing partner Paul Wharton was starting to be convinced that I was in fact cursed when it comes to Saltwater. Well, the curse has been broken! With somewhere between 35-40 reds (and 1 Sheepshead!) in the boat over the course of 3 days, I’d call it a big success. There would be epic video of this trip to share, but someone whose name rhymes with “Cat Phones” left the camera’s power on when checking it for me prior to the trip. So, enjoy the still-photo fish porn below – not sure why WordPress insists on making our photos a bit blurry after they are uploaded, so I’ll apologize for that.

A big purpose for heading down to Louisiana was to gauge the mood and effect of the oil spill on the fishing. Well, after speaking with several guides and Woodland Plantation owner Foster Creppel, it’s confirmed – the worst thing for the area economy is the Media. Yes, the oil spill is certainly the worst ecological disaster we have ever faced as a country, and it will affect the Gulf region for generations, but contrary to what CNN would have you believe, the fish are alive and well, and fishing is great! The both the East and West Banks of the Mississippi are open to fishing,  and these guys (and our guide, Rich Waldner in particular) still know where those sneaky reds are hiding. So it is not all gloom and doom – the fish are there – go get them!

Please join us in supporting all the guides of Plaquemines Parish – book a trip to the Woodland through Tailwaters today!

Solid Gold. Photo by: Paul Wharton

Finally! It may be a little Rat Red, but the CURSE IS BROKEN! Photo by: Paul Wharton

Did I mention we fished 6-weights nearly the whole trip? Photo by: Bart Larmouth

These guys didn't fool around when they took our spoon flies. Photo by: Bart Larmouth

One of Paul's 6-pounders. *Moose knuckle omitted in order to retain our PG rating* Photo by: Bart Larmouth

Playing with the panoramic settings on my camera. Click the image to get a better look. Photo by: Bart Larmouth

More Pano love. Photo by: Bart Larmouth

Putting my "carp spotting" skills to good use. I always knew they'd come in handy. Thanks Joel. Photo by: Paul Wharton

Are they related?? That is definitely the same expression. Photo by: Bart Larmouth

Ok. Definitely related. Photoshopping by: Bart Larmouth

Trying to pimp Matt's hats. Photo by: Paul Wharton

Have I told you yet how much I LOVE my Winston BIImX 6? Photo by: Paul Wharton

Paul with his big boy from the trip. Photo by: Bart Larmouth

The Sheepshead - a.k.a. Shithead, since we saw so many and only caught this one. Photo by: Paul Wharton

This guy had some of the coolest purple iridescence . Photo by: Bart Larmouth

Can you say "Hillybilly Fish?" Photo by: Bart Larmouth

Nope. Not a hillbilly - he has all his teeth. Photo by: Bart Larmouth

Flying the team colors on the last day. Photo by: Paul Wharton

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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.

Refish on halfshell

Redfish on the halfshell. Yuuummmy! :: Photo by Matt Jones

Woodland Plantation

View of the Woodland Plantation at Sunrise :: Photo by Matt Jones

Woodland Plantation

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!

Big Redfish

Jared Louviere with 29lb refish :: Photo by Matt Jones

Redfish

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!

double redfish

Rick Buferd and John Hansen with a double

Louisiana Redfish

Jared Louviere with 14lb redfish :: Photo by Matt Jones

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About a week ago, two of our favorite fishing buddies went to Louisiana to chase Bull Reds, and had quite a time. Dr. (he didn’t go to 6 years of evil medical school to be called “Mr.” thank you) Dennis Burns and Bill Seals. Here is the report from Dennis, and a few mind-blowing pictures to boot:

Sometimes it’s tempting to grumble about fly fishing options in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, particularly during the ’80 degree-one-day-freezing-your-butt-off-the-next-day’ fluctuations that we usually see around here this time of year. It turns out that great fishing isn’t as far off as I thought. A few months ago, my fishing buddy and spiritual advisor (OK, I’m kidding about the spiritual advisor part) Bill Seals contacted David Leake about whether there were any saltwater options within easy striking distance of Dallas that offered (a) good fishing, (b) reasonable accommodations and (c) good food. Without missing a beat, David said, ‘Sure! I’ll set it up.’ Thus began our first trip to the Louisiana coast to visit the Woodland Plantation and to fish with Capt. Bryan Carter. An 80-minute flight from Dallas to New Orleans, followed by an easy 45-minute drive south (punctuated by a fuel stop at Cafe du Monde and a neat visit to the National World War II Museum) took us to the Woodland Plantation, a mid 1800s inn outside of Port Sulphur that offers guests comfortable rooms, and superb food and drink at very reasonable prices. Many of you have probably seen the Woodland Plantation without knowing it – it’s pictured in a line drawing on the label of every bottle of Southern Comfort! After fortifying ourselves with such spirits, a great evening meal and a restful night, Bill and I hooked up with Bryan early the next morning for an introduction to south Louisiana Redfish on the fly. To experience Bryan in a guide situation is memorable – he’s got the sharp eyes and instincts for finding fish that you would expect from a veteran saltwater guide, coupled with a deep knowledge and appreciation of the beautiful – and fragile – ecosystem represented by the coastal Louisiana saltwater flats. He shares his knowledge freely and well. He’s also enough of a smart-aleck to keep you humble – and in stitches – through the whole fishing experience. Man, can he put you on to fish!

Dennis Burns with a nice Red early on. Photo by: Bill Seals

Dennis Burns with a nice Red early on. Photo by: Bill Seals

Bill Seals with another nice Redfish. Photo by: Dennis Burns

Bill Seals with another nice Redfish. Photo by: Dennis Burns

My most memorable Red came on the first day…..something about beginner’s luck, I think. My story, of course, is that I had to cast 800 feet into a 30 MPH headwind to hook the fish, while my buddy Bill’s story has the fish ramming into the boat, knocking itself out, and me reaching over the side and inserting a hook into its mouth. The truth is somewhere between – perhaps a bit closer to Bill’s version than mine. I hooked the fish at a fairly modest distance on an EP (Enrico Puglisi) crab pattern that Bryan favors this time of year, and after a bit of a fight (during which I wondered if my 8-weight Scott S4 was going to survive), managed to bring him to the boat – a beautiful 34-pound fish that was, for me at least, the fish of a lifetime!

The monster being brought in. Photo by: Capt. Bryan Carter

The monster being brought in. Photo by: Capt. Bryan Carter

Dennis Burns with his Redfish of a lifetime. Photo by: Bill Seals

Dennis Burns with his Redfish of a lifetime. Photo by: Bill Seals

Captain Bryan Carter holds Dennis' big fish on the boga. Photo by: Bill Seals

Captain Bryan Carter holds Dennis' big fish on the boga. Photo by: Bill Seals

Over the next couple of days, Bill and I had the privilege of landing many more beautiful reds in shallow water, as well as the occasional Black Drum and Sheepshead. Had our Redfishing skills been a bit more “honed” (as opposed to non-existent!) we would have more than doubled our numbers. Bryan – and the fishery – are just that good. The days on the flats ended at about 3:30 each day, once the angle of the light on the water made spotting fish a difficult proposition. Not a problem though – the days on the water were full of wonderful fishing and experiencing the special environment of the coastal Louisiana saltwater flats, and the hospitality of the Woodland Plantation was there for us at the end of each day. We’ll be back! – Dennis

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