MA-NOLA Report: Redfish on the Fly

DimeBrite

MA-9 Beach Stalker
#1
On Wednesday 12/11 I fished with guide Captain Kenny Ensminger out of New Orleans (Uptown Anglers) and had a great time. We launched out of Hopedale, LA south of town and motored about 30 minutes into the maze of tidal marsh that is east of the main Mississippi channel. The weather was cold but sunny, so we were able to site fish for resident and bigger migratory redfish the entire day. We quietly poled around the tidal marshes looking for them in the shallows next to the grass line. I had never seen a redfish in the wild before, much less hooked one, so I was pretty thrilled when we spotted the first few fish. I managed to hook and land 5 reds (5, 8, 9, 11, 15 pounds) and had a brief shot at a couple that we estimated were at least 20 pounds.
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These redfish are basically average size for the New Orleans area this time of year, and it is not uncommon to catch them in the 20-35 pound range (big ones migrate into the delta from the Gulf in fall). The fly was a weighted orange prawn pattern cast with an 8wt. The redfish are strong stubborn fighters, but the real fun is dropping the fly in front of their face and watching them chase it around and eventually inhale it. If you drop the fly within 12" of their face, they will usually eat it. I had a surprising amount of difficulty with my accuracy due to the stiff breeze and the boat moving in the wind, my casts always seem to land 5 feet to the left of the target. To compensate, I started aiming my casts behind the fish (like shooting out of a flying helicopter). Site fishing is a refreshing change from the endless blind casting to salmon that we do in Puget Sound from our beaches. I didn't see any black drum, but I did spot a shy Sheepshead near the boat (aka - the Cajun Permit). Anyway, it was a great new experience for me in I place I had never visited. The quality of the fishing is outstanding, with very few other anglers and an enormous area to explore. The size of the redfish can't be beat too. Captain Kenny did a great job and is a real pro.
 

Bagman

Active Member
#5
Looks like a great trip. Also looks like you got into some nice fish. Must have been a blast watching a fish that size grabbing your fly?
 

biker_dd

Active Member
#9
Nice work, those are some great looking fish. I had the same experience of so much territory to explore and so few (saw 1 other boat) other fisherman when I was fishing for reds in Florida.
Your report and pics have me looking forward to another trip back to the east coast for a shot at some more of those.
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
#11
Tim,
Great report and pictures. Looks like you had a great time.
I'm glad you got to add another species to your salt resume.
 

mbowers

Active Member
#13
The guide mentioned that most of his local clients demand a fast limit of speckled trout, but we didn't see any. I guess folks really love to eat them.
Folks that don't have a better option like to eat them. :) Redfish is better and sheepshead kicks both reds and trout on the table IMHO.

Good pics and I know what you mean about casting behind the fish. It's tough to force oneself to cast so close to a fish in such shallow water with a weighted fly that doesn't have the most predictable turnover!
 

Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
#14
When Louisiana took steps to protect that fishery, they did so in the nick of time and with beautiful results. Great report and congrats on a great fishing trip in the Sportsman's Paradise!