It pays to get lucky: A Venice Redfish experience
My experience with Redfish has been tough to say the least. The main issue is locating them and the weather rarely cooperates. After working hard for a few fish here and there on previous trips, I finally got to experience the Redfish behavior you see and hear about. That being said, don't expect it to be easy and roll into the trip with realistic expectations and stay positive, regardless of the conditions.
Venice, LA is located 80 miles south of New Orleans and is the last community accessible by automobile on the Mississippi River. It's in the middle of nowhere. Venice has been destroyed by hurricanes and rebuilt repeatedly over the last 50 years. The most noticable trait of the area is the amount of petroleum operations and platforms. The local economy is in pretty rough shape due to the decrease in oil prices. However, commercial and sport fishing are now one of the main industries in the area.
Redfish are a saltwater species that feed on crab, shrimp and mullet which can grow up to 90 lbs. Most of the fish we caught were in the 10-20 lb range. These fish have one or mutliple black spots on their tail which scientist believe are utilized to trick predators into attacking their tails vs their heads. The combintaion of their color and these spots make them a beautiful fish which turn out to be pretty fun to catch on a fly rod.
The Black Drum is cousins with the Redfish and can grow up to the 100 lb mark. They have powerful jaws and teeth capable of crushing oysters and shellfish and have a gray body. One of the coolest traits of these fish is their ability to generate tones up to 500 Hz when performing mating calls.
Our first day was fairly overcast and we worked hard blindcasting all day, with a glimpse of sunshine the last hour of the day. My buddy Steve was rewarded with a beautiful female Redfish that put up quite the fight.
Our guide trip day 2 was cancelled due to winds peaking at 50 mph, sustained at 30 mph. This is a reality of fly fishing on the coast and bad weather happens. If anything, don't forgot to appreciate the rarity of a blue bird day when you are on a destination trip. We spent the day eating and drinking.
When we woke up on Day 3, we were disappointed to see thick cloud cover and high winds. That being said, it was our last day and our guide Bear Holeman covered over 60 miles of the Venice marsh scouting every area possible. Muddy/low water was the theme and the fear of missing out once again started to settle in. We drove 15 miles across the marsh to meet up with another guide named Will and his client. From a distance, we see his client surfing on the front of the boat on top of a Jettie. Will's client's rod was bent and they were hooting and holering. They had caught 20 or so fish and let us tie up to their spot. The next 2 hours looked a little something like this..
Moral of the story here is that an hour or two of good fishing can make a trip. Struggling and having to work for them makes it even sweeter. And count your blessings on destination angling trips. Most of these trips don't pan out like you see on the Internet and its more about appreciating the adventure and learning something each time. And sometimes, it pays to get lucky.
Cheers and thanks for reading.