The bull redfish, “bull reds,” of Louisiana have occupied some of the most exciting fly fishing videos to date. These leviathans are the stuff of dreams, and every fall and winter, we see countless pictures of these humongous beasts scattered throughout the social media feeds. The Louisiana marsh and beyond is an amazingly unique fishery, but nothing in fishing is a sure thing. Weather can destroy any saltwater trip. Many variables go into making any trip a successful one. In this episode, Meredith McCord shares her knowledge and gives us detailed suggestions on how to plan a trip to Louisiana for bull redfish. She will really help you avoid problems and make any fly fishing travel to Louisiana a much more pleasurable one.
KEY TAKEAWAYS: PLANNING A TRIP FOR LOUISIANA BULL REDFISH
- Major areas of Louisiana: Chandeleur Islands, the Biloxi Marsh, Empire, Buras, Venice, the area surrounding Houma
- When planning a trip for Louisiana bull reds, remember that the weather and water clarity are everything!
SEASONS AND A PRACTICAL APPROACH TO BOOKING TRIPS
- The fishing in Louisiana for redfish of all sizes is excellent year-round.
- The bull red season is September to early March, normally, but this can change a bit, depending on the weather.
- The best “popper season,” in Meredith’s opinion, is September to October .
- Early part of the season is “a little” more predictable as far as the weather and water clarity is concerned.
- The latter part of the season, which is often overlooked due to winter storms, will often produce some of the largest fish of the season.
- Book at least four days of fishing, and plan on the possibility that half of those days may be lost to the weather.
SOME PLACES SHE LIKES TO STAY
- Good central location: Woodland Plantation (see links below)
- Hopedale: The Dogwood Lodge (Southern Way Charters: see links below)
- Venice: Sportsman’s Lodge (Southern Way Charters: see links below)
- Venice: Eric and Moe Newman just opened a place (Journey South Outfitters: see links below)
- Chandeleur Islands: Live aboard charter boats, Southern Way or the Southern Cross (Southern Way Charters: see links below)
SUGGESTIONS ON GETTING AROUND AND STANDARD GEAR EXPECTATIONS
- Rental cars are normally the best solution for local transportation giving you flexibility, but when staying at a lodge, you might be able to just take a taxi from the airport. However, a rental car is suggested.
- Always talk to your guides to get rod and fly recommendations if you are bringing your own gear. Backup rods are highly suggested.
- Meredith likes a 9wt and a 10wt for these fish.
- Meredith follows IGFA recommendations and uses 20lb. test. Some guides will go as high as 40 or 60 lb. test.
- 6 to 9 foot leaders are typical.
TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND FOR BULL REDS
- Practice casting from 20 to 50 feet. Accuracy is most important.
- Be ready! When you’re talking to your guide, keep your eyes forward looking for fish.
- If your guide changes course suddenly, look at where he is looking, and you may spot the fish before he even says anything.
- Know your clock when on a given guide’s casting deck.
- Make sure that you and your guide agree on what a given casting distance is before you see the fish.
- Don’t let go of your slack line when you cast because you need to have control immediately.
CHOOSING GUIDES AND OUTFITTERS
- Meredith works with Tailwaters Travel, which puts about 400 people in the marsh and specifically with Woodland Plantation, so she recommends Tailwaters and Woodland Plantation, of course.
- It’s great for a larger group.
- Great for the ladies in your life, due to comfort and excellent food.
- Guides are great.
- Shallow Water Expeditions
- Fly Water Expeditions
- Redfish Dynasty
- She recommends getting guides who have been down there for many years and recommends talking to someone who has fished with a particular guide down there.
The allure of those huge bull reds from the marsh is pretty hard to resist. Fuel is added to the fire with the many amazing videos floating around out there. The marsh is everything that has been written about it and more. However, it’s not a sure thing. A practical approach to these fish will save you time and money and help you to plan the best trip you can for these amazing fish.