On the Fly: Red October in La.
October 16, 2013
Last week I had the pleasure to step outside of the valley and fish for some different species in Grand Isle, La.
Going from freestone streams to marshes and estuaries is a refreshing change, and the flora and fauna were a sight to behold. The habitat is lush and teeming with life, and the fishing was simply spectacular.
The menu for these fish is a far cry from size-22 blue-winged olives, and the crab, shrimp and baitfish patterns I tied up served me well in the Gulf. The primary target on this trip was redfish, but I managed to fool a few sheepshead, drum, speckled trout and "hard head" catfish.
Redfish (in the drum family) are on the bucket list for many fly-fishers. They can grow in excess of 40 pounds and go ballistic when fooled by a well-presented fly. Sight fishing to "tailing" redfish is what it's all about, as these brutes are browsing the sea floor for crabs and shrimp. Redfish also chase baitfish when they are plentiful, and the sight of these bronzed beauties ambushing their meal is quite exciting.
Redfish are best approached in a stealthy manner, utilizing flats skiffs that draft only a few inches of water, and using a push pole to silently glide in amongst them. The tides are a huge factor, and falling tide is the best time to find these fish foraging for exposed food sources as the inland brackish water drops.
An eight-weight fly rod is almost all you need, but cold and warm-water salt fly lines are paramount to success, as the water temperature can fluctuate between 60 and 80 degrees this time of year. Weighted and unweighted flies are key as well, and despite my bringing hundreds of patterns, a chartreuse and white clouser was nearly all I needed.
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Stepping outside of your comfort zone in a beautiful environment is key to lowering your blood pressure once in a while. Whether it's bonefish in Christmas Island, tarpon in Florida, or peacock bass in the Amazon, it's sublime to get out there and do something different.
"On the Fly" is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.
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