2. In the spring of 2016, my youngest daughter Evelyn (better known as Ebby) committed to go to Tulane in New Orleans.
3. In July of 2016, Jim McLendon, longtime client and friend of Angling Unlimited, fished on my boat. I mentioned New Orleans and redfish, so he put me in touch with his friend Foster Creppel, owner of Woodland Plantation.
These three events converged and a plan for November 2016 came together: A 3-day visit with my Tulane freshman daughter plus three days of shallow water fly fishing for redfish home based out of Woodland Plantation. And nature cooperated as I lucked out with three days of near perfect weather for the fishing portion. And, Woodland Plantation delivered with three days of fishing with great guides, excellent dining and great lodging.
Stalking redfish in 3 feet of water in the seemingly endless salt marshes just an hour south of New Orleans draws a stark contrast from fishing king salmon in Alaska. I stood on the bow of a shallow water skiff, the guide poled the boat from the stern and we watched for approaching redfish. Once sighted, I’d do my best to put the fly close to the nose of the redfish, then begin stripping it in. I doubt we ever fished in water more than 4 feet. In some senses, it had the feel of bonefishing, a sport I’m familiar with, but the water was tea colored not crystal clear like you’d find on a bonefish flat. And, redfish feed with more aggression. They are considerable less spooky.
The result – in three days about two dozen reds over 15 pounds caught and released. Many of these fish were over 20 and the biggest weighed in at 27 pounds. These fish pull hard, burn line off the reel, and don’t give up easily. In addition to the redfish (which are in fact red drum), I caught a 15-pound black drum to add to the life list. I also landed a 50-pound black drum. I fished with an 8-weight or a 9-weight fly rod, 20-pound tippet. The black drum may not come from way down deep like a halibut, but something about the fight seemed similar in that they are hard to move toward you, but do little to run away. The 50-pound black drum took about 20 minutes to land but was never more than 60 feet from the boat. The redfish, on the other hand, make long runs taking me well into my backing sometimes running 70 or 80 yards from the boat.
When I returned and filled friends in on the action, one asked “would you do it again?”
The answer? Hell yes.