Monday, January 16, 2017

Game time in Grand Isle

The 10-day weather forecast left lots to the imagination.  Depending on the time of day, it gave me visions of blue bird skies with calm winds, overcast days with flag straightening winds and a chance of severe fog on Saturday morning.  All of which were experienced in two days.  My strong desire to sight fish Louisiana redfish eventually become more than I could overcome and the plan was made to go regardless of the weather.

A cool breeze from the east greeted me on Friday morning.  It wasn’t the conditions that I was hoping for but I wasn’t discouraged.  The tides were low and the sun was going to be out.  More importantly, I was really hunting for one large bull red.  The kind of fish that would stand out in less than ideal conditions.

Foggy start to the morning

The winds were steady 10-15 mph.  It was a real workout to remain standing and scoping the flats.  In most instances, I would spot a redfish as it made its request for solitude.  The morning had shaped up to be slightly frustrating.  Fortunately, I was able to sneak up on several slot redfish but the bull red continued to elude me.

The first opportunity presented itself and dismissed itself at the same juncture.  I was pushing along a west bank when a 35” red moved between me and the grass line but heading in the opposite direction.  I tried to pivot the kayak and slowly chase it down.  But as quickly as it appeared, it was gone.  Almost like it hadn’t been there at all.  Were the wind and clouds taunting me?

Ironically, it was that sighting that kept me hopeful.  Indeed, there were some big reds stalking the area.  I paddled across a small bay to a western bank and immediately noticed something dark patrolling the edge of a shell lined island.  As I closed the distance, it too vanished in the shadows of a passing cloud.  At this point it was nothing more than a silhouette but it elevated my heartrate.

If it was a bull red, this was the best chance I had at getting a fly in front of it before it noticed a 12 foot kayak in its halo.  Then the silhouette took form as it swam on my starboard side and 15 feet off my bow.  Unbelievably, it had presented itself in the most ideal setting.  The kayak kept pace with the red while I seated the paddle and brought the fly rod to hand.  The fly landed softly.  One quick strip and the tan over white streamer paused right in front of the red.  It was now decision time. 

And yet it wasn’t, the red quietly turned and effortlessly sucked the streamer in.  It happened before my mind processed the action.  As nonchalant as the eat was, the next action was absolute brutality.  The water exploded as the redfish erupted in a rage of madness.  The huge gill plates flared in anger and the headshaking was tremendous.  The 8 weight was my conduit and the energy was pulsing into my hands.  Then the redfish buried its head and displayed an impressive burst of power.  The next few moments were a complete scramble as I tried to recover the line that was peeling off the reel.  With the line recovered the red looked ready to give up.  That was not the case.  Each time I tried to net it, it would dive under or around the net.  Three failed attempts to net the fish had my forearms screaming for someone to relieve the greenhorn behind the reel.  Thankfully the fourth attempt was a success because the hook fell out just as the head went into the net. 

I saw three more bull reds over the weekend but never got a shot at any as the conditions weren’t favorable.  The fog and winds were so heavy on Saturday morning the prime sight fishing hours were restricted to after lunch.  However, I was completely satisfied with the weekend because I had found that one good redfish.  


  1. You had my heart pounding there Drew. Some nice looking fish for you.

    1. Glad it came across, it was an exciting trip. I can never get enough of those redfish.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Charles. I always appreciate it when people take a second out of their day to comment. Thx!

  3. Great story, Drew!!! The suspense of netting a big fish by yourself and missing the first few times. I know that feeling all too well. It's like they know you're alone, and somewhat helpless. Some really awesome pictures!!

    1. Thanks bro. Yep, they know when you don't have help. They play dead until the last minute. Then they spring to life. I can hear myself talking to them..."dude chill, I'm going to let you go." Never helps!