I would have written this up a bit earlier but I came down with some flu symptoms that has put me out of commission for that last few days. Headaches, coughing, mucus, body aches, cold sweat, hyper sensitive nerves, loss of appetite, dehydration.. you name it. It has been a very trying last 48 hours mainly spent in bed.
I tried the 3,000 mg of vitamin c every couple hours and that did not work. Nyquil help me fall asleep with out coughing and the only thing that made me feel any better was forcing myself to drink lots of orange juice. So far I’ve down almost 3 gallons of orange juice. The worst is over and I think I can finally function again. If you have been trying to get a hold of me lately and gotten no response I’ve been recovering.
I kept thinking what I came across or what I ate. The only thing I can think of was this last trip to Louisiana.
This past week Wanganchor Tom and I decided to get out and fish with Captain Greg Dini. Our goal was big fish on fly and Greg has been on them all season. Catching fish in Louisiana is not a problem. But staying on the “big big” fish can be a big problem is you are not on the water everyday like Greg is. Tom and I wanted big fish, I mean after all we can catch smaller fish right here in Tampa Bay.
We had a power trip planned. No messing around, our schedule was literally, land, eat, sleep, wakeup, eat breakfast, fish, eat dinner, sleep, wake up eat breakfast, fish, from boat ramp straight to the airport.
Unfortunately for us the day we were suppose to fish was to be the coldest day of 2011 at 26 degrees at the boat ramp. This is not, it feels like.. this is ice on the ground 26 degrees. On the run out I can see ice on the shore line. Tom and I was quadruple layered up from head to toe. Though we were warm, the fishing that day was ice cold. We saw perhaps 20 fish the whole day and only gotten one small fish to eat. Unlike Louisiana they were refusing our fly that day. I can only assume that since the water temperature was probably near freezing they were just trying to stay alive.
The air temperature that day never got above 40 degrees. We fished hard but there was no winning today. We left the ramp that day shaking our heads. Since we were fisherman though, we totally understand that weather plays a major role in fishing and Louisiana, no matter how dumb the fish are, was no exception.
A quick stop at the local Fly shop UPtown Angler and we were off to dinner. Uptown had the new “Polar” Buff which is a god send for cold weather. Tom picked up one and loved it. If you’re ever in the area and want to kill some time UA is small shop but got all kinds of cool fly gear.
Looking up the weather on the drive back to hotels we had high hopes. The weather was getting 10 degrees warmer, lower winds and bright sunny skies. All we had to do was find the fish and with the change in temperature should be a change in attitude. 10 degrees don’t sound like much but it’s the difference between the fish eating or a refusal.
We ran around to find good clean water which took a bit, but once we did, the fishing was on. Tom and I probably caught a dozen redfish on fly that was over 20lbs with a couple teetering in the 30 lb range. We even have a couple doubles on fly and nearly a triple as we gave Greg a rod as well. We got tired of catching them this day.
At last it was time to run back to the ramp as we had to catch the plane back to Tampa. I will have to nick named this trip “Zero to Hero, Louisiana ” Thanks again Greg you pulled it off brother!
Food Destination of note: Commander’s Palace
I don’t eat at many fancy places, but this place is a must try if you got the extra dollars on the trip. The service is 2nd to none and the food is excellent.
Here are the dishes I ate and do highly recommend. This is best food I’ve had in New Orleans so far. Drago’s is a close 2nd.
Gumbo – very rich, hardly, bottom line best gumbo I’ve ever had.
Turtle soup – was not impressed with this soup.
Steak – aged steak, the best cut of meat I’ve ever had. Yes, better than the expensive stuff I’ve had in Tampa, Orlando, Vegas, Colorado(sorry Lane) or Miami.
Pecan Pie and Ice cream: Ice cream was ordinary but the Pecan Pie was a 5 star.
RA Beattie has always been known for releasing some epic fishing clips but this one takes the cake by far. Watching a big fat slob of a Louisana redfish raise it’s head out of the water to eat a popper fly is nothing sort of spectacular. Catching it on film so that the world can watch with their jaws on the floor…. EPIC. This is without a doubt the coolest fly fishing for redfish footage I’ve ever come across.
Check out some of RA’s stuff at http://www.beattieoutdoorproductions.com
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.
When we were in Louisiana with Greg Dini , John and I ate at a place called “the Palace” down on Canal street. The food was ok but the Desert was excellent. Since the banana fosters were made right in front of us I decided to video it using the DSLR. It’s a little dark and I was shooting it all in auto mode so the lighting kind of shifted a bit. Overall though it came out ok.
This video is nothing special.. it just shows you how good the low light capabilities are of these DSLR when shooting HD videos. I will be using some of these types of footage when I compile some of the fishing videos I will be shooting here shortly.