The cold has set in this winter and it is too damn cold. Sight fishing in south Floridahas become very limited and there are few days that can call for epic tarpon or bonefishing so Sam Root, Joe Welborne, Eddie O, Capt. Will Le, and I decided to make a trip out west to the Marsh and experience some of the finer redfishing that exists there. Eddie and I volunteered to tow our skiffs out west so we greased our bearings, did the full trailer inspection, and made ready for our long journey ahead. We made lodging arrangements at Sweetwater Marina in Delacroix. The accomodations were good and made boat storage very convenient. My goal though, was to learn how to navigate and fish in a fishery that is completely new to me, figure out where to find big redfish, and have a fun time doing so. No, I don’t plan on ever guiding there in those waters, but I do plan on making a trip there annually to partake in the world’s best winter fishery. I’m sure as you all may have read from Sam and Willy’s reports, fishing was a bunch of fun.
We arrived after a push of cold weather accompanying very high winds and freezing temperatures washed through the marsh. This made the water was dirty and real cold. We bunched up in many layers of clothing and embarked on a mission into the Marsh. The first day brought hope as we had a bright sun and calm winds. It didn’t take us long to find the elements we had been looking for to locate fish, as we started off catching numerous smaller (7-10lb) redfish on light fly rods, but we were after the famed giant redfish that this marsh was popular for. We ran around for a bit and found where bigger fish would hold but lost out light. We settled for catching a bunch of fish in the 12-15lb range given the limited visibility we had. It is just amazing how aggressive these redfish were… definitely a nice reprieve from what we normally face here in Florida. There was zero light our second day on the water. We could barely see a foot into the water but made the best of it anyways and still ended up catching more 15lb redfish… we doubled, trippled, and quadroupled up on fly. This is truley the most amazing winter fishery in the world. Don’t buy the media hype about the Oil spill.. the marsh is very alive and full of the most aggressive redfish in the world.
We got to sample some of Louisiana’s fine cajun food but I think the best eats we had by far was the Pho at Pho Tau Bay. It took us 2 hours of wandering around lost in New Orleans to finally find this Pho restaurant, but it was well Pho-king worth it. However, the most memorible meal was the one we had before we left. Willy mentioned we should eat at Willy Mae’s Scotch House in New Orleans for some fried chicken. Let me tell you, this was the absolute best fried chicken I had ever eaten. There is no surprise that Willy Mae’s was featured on several TV programs on the food network.
This was to be a true test of fishing ability and equipment. The Maverick 18 HPX-V I was running made for a perfect fishing platform in this environment as we ran through the marsh, through shallow mud ponds, and poled quietly big laid up redfish. We also got to test the 9wt G Loomis NRX’s ability to handle big flies and it proved to be quite the amazing rod for both long and short casts. For those in the entry level fly market, we got to test the first TFO 9wt BVK to come off the production line. The new 9wt BVK is a very fast and powerful fly rod and definitely benefits from an aggressive taper and heavier grain fly line such as a Wulff Burmuda Triangle Taper or Airflo Ridge. The 9wt BVK is by far the best 9wt rod that TFO has ever made though. For smaller 10lb class redfish, I got to use my 7wt G Loomis Shorestalker, which was a little light for the big flies we were throwing, but it surprisingly was able to turn over some pretty large flies well. This is a powerful little pistol of a fly rod. We mainly used Nautilus NV and FWX reels on most of the flyrods we fished. These Nautilus reels are truely amazing.
Between the good eats and great fishing, I think it was the camaraderie amongst good company that will never be forgotten. I can’t wait to be back next year.