I have been meaning to get this article out for about the past five weeks. Unfortunately, life sometimes gets in the way of the things we WANT to do and we have to focus on the things we NEED to do. That said, I am taking a moment to write down a few notes about my trip to Houma Louisiana in early February chasing bull Redfish. If you don’t know where Houma is it is located about 60 miles Southwest of New Orleans. This is now an annual trip for me (if you can say two trips in as many years is now “annual”) but this year we went down in early February and not early January like last year. I can say that the weather was more on our side this year with warmer days and less rain. However, I can not with full certainty say one month later is what made the difference. The guides both say that February is much better than January but I will have to head down a few more years to feel as confident.
Whatever the case may be, we had a wonderful trip, the weather and the fish were very cooperative and the food and company was the best it can get. We had pretty clear skies everyday, except the last and the temps were anywhere from the mid 60’s to the mid 70’s. The only two things that did not work as well in our favor was the wind and the water conditions. The first day out we had gusts up to 25 mph. The next two days the wind was better, maybe gusting to about 15 mph with an average of 8 to 10 mph. The last day we had more wind and mostly rain all day. But the water on most days was cloudy and/or muddy due to wind or tides. This made it hard for any sight casting but we did manage to find a few fish and get some shots in. A few even made it to the boat. Most of our fishing was blind casting this year. We did manage a few to the boat this way but not as many as we could. We are still trying to get the blind casting portion dialed in. Redfish are mostly a “sight cast” fish which means you look for signs of a fish, stalk it and make a cast to the fish you actually see. When the water is so cloud it is very difficult if not impossible to accomplish this type of fishing. So, we are working on some methods to draw the fish to us while blind casting. It is all still under development.
We mostly caught Redfish but a couple of Black Drum were brought to the boat. My best, on a fly, was a 25lb Bull on a 3″ black Game Changer. It was even targeted which was all the sweeter. I also managed to bring in a 32lb Bull on a Poppin’ Cork (which is a spinning rig setup, keep it under you hat). Everyone managed to bring in some nice fish and one of the guys even cleaned one and took some Redfish home for the skillet. One of the more interesting events happened on our first day where we ran into a school of Redfish around some reeds. I tossed in said Game Changer and had a fish on in a couple twitches. As usually happens when the fish in the school gets hooked all the rest of the fish explode and take for deeper water, but this school was different. By the time I have the fish in the net all of the fish had returned and taken up station in the reeds right were they left. So, we decided to experiment and try a new topwater fly the guides have been working on. I managed to make good casts, despite the wind, and get fish to put the fly in their mouth but for some reason (Redfish fever) I kept either “trout” setting the bite or just plan setting too early. I missed three or four nice takes until I finally landed a small seven to eight pound Redfish. The most interesting thing is that the entire time the school simply hung around. You could see them spook but they would come right back. You could even see them nosing down to eat “something” but we could not figure out what it was. Anyway, it made for a fun two hours in the mid to late afternoon. I always love those unexpected moments where you find fish, have the time to experiment and just enjoy the entire moment. Time slows down and it seems to take hours for the sun to move an inch!
Outside of the fishing, the accommodations, the guides, the food and the company were outstanding. We ventured into Houma every night for some Cajun fair (even on Superbowl Sunday) and our last night the proprietor of our little apartment made us some Chicken Gumbo, homemade potato salad, Bread Pudding with real caramel butter topping and I thought I would bust after eating too much. As a bonus, I got to spend a few hours in New Orleans with a friend while on my way home. We got to have some Beignet’s at the Cafe Du Monde, walk Bourbon street, lunch at the Redfish Grill, catch up on life and trade a few stories. Just about all we can ask!
I have some video footage I am scrubbing though and will hopefully have something put together in the coming weeks. Still dealing with some life issues (and all of this Coronavirus stuff) so it might be a little longer. To conclude, all I can say it is more than worth the time and money to head down to the Gulf Coast in February and chase some Bull Redfish. If you are interested on the accommodations or the guides we used you can use the contact form here on Dressed Irons to send me a note and I will put you in touch with the right people. I am very much looking forward to heading down next year as well. I’ll keep you posted.