Dispatch from Redfish Wonderland

What does a fishing writer do with a few days of “vacation” time?  This might come as a shock to you, but, well… I go fishing.  Thing is, when I get to choose where I go and what I fish for, my pattern in the last several years has been to visit Louisiana to fish for redfish (red drum) on the fly.

As I write this, I’m in Venice, Louisiana, with my friend and co-host from the Field & Stream “Fly Talk” blog Tim Romano.   There’s no agenda.  No work assignments.  Just fishing for fun.  And as you can tell from this photo of a fish I caught today, it’s ON.

That’s good to see, because this is the second time I’ve been fishing in Louisiana since the BP oil spill disaster.  We didn’t know the fate of this amazing fishery after the tragedy happened, and many scientists say we won’t know the full-scale impact of that spill until years down the road.  But right now, from what I see, and what I am catching, I am impressed by the apparent resilience of Mother Nature.

Of course, we saw this several years ago as well, after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region.  While it took much time and effort for the communities in this area to get back on their feet, one of the first things to rebound and help lead a recovery was the regional sport fishery.

If you’ve never fished Louisiana, you have to put it on your to-do list.  You won’t find many fancy resorts and white sandy beaches along most of the marshy Louisiana coast.  But what you will find is a very strong fishing culture, great people, great food, amazing wildlife, and a huge variety of big fish.

My favorites are the redfish, because I think they are some of the most interesting fish you can catch on a fly rod.  First off, they just kind of sneak up on you (or you sneak up on them) in the murky flats.  By the time you see one, you have scant seconds to make a cast.  Wait, and it’s usually too late.  But if you can make a decent cast, redfish will usually reward you by eating your fly.  And they fight hard. 

I’ve never been disappointed with a Louisiana fishing trip.  Sure, there are times when I catch fewer fish than I hope, or it rains, or the wind blows.  But even then, I inevitably leave with great memories and deeper appreciation of a magical wild place.

And that’s what a great fishing trip should really be all about, isn’t it?

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Kirk Deeter

Kirk Deeter

Kirk Deeter is an editor-at-large with Field & Stream, and he co-wrote The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing with the late Charlie Meyers.