Reds on the Fly
By Craig Lamb
In Venice, Louisiana, a bucket list trip awaits any fly fisherman up for the challenge of a lifetime. Even better, you get to cast amid the backdrop of some of the most scenic fishing waters in the country.
The challenge is catching a redfish, or red drum, on fly tackle. The trip is to south Louisiana, where the Mississippi River infuses coastal marshes with nutrients that supercharge the food chain. Think a food chain, from tiny crustaceans to top level predators, that live on steroids. The fish grow big, fight hard and are plentiful.
Your destination is the southernmost town on the Mississippi River Delta. Appropriately, the outpost is a base camp for world-class saltwater fishing, from inshore to offshore.
Home Run Fishing Charters and Lodge is the premier outfitter in Venice and for a lot of reasons. Luxury accommodations, gourmet dining, Cajun hospitality and experienced, licensed captains using the latest and best boats and equipment are why.
Captain Brian Sherman has been called the “Pied Piper of Redfish” and for many reasons. The irony of this Michigan native moving here following Hurricane Katrina speaks to the bucket list clients he now takes fly fishing for redfish.
“A lot of my clients are from the Northeast, Upper Midwest, and they come here during winter to get away from the cold, use their fly fishing tackle.”
“They don’t get the chance to fish during our best months,” he continued. “Instead of storing tackle for winter they can come down here, in the warmer weather, and catch a fish of a lifetime.”
The NCAA’s equivalent of March Madness is called Marsh Madness in these parts. That time is from October and into January when the Mississippi River is lower than any other time of the year. As a result, the water is clearer and conditions more predictable. Fly fishing is ideal and even better, you can sight cast for the prize.
“You can see the fish tailing, feeding and those months, by far, are the best time to come here,” said Sherman. “You can put the fly two, three feet ahead of the fish.”
The resulting adrenaline rush of a 27-plus inch redfish peeling off line as you grip a doubled-over rod can’t be beaten. Expect to do that more than once, if the conditions are right.
“It’s kind of a ‘mano o mano,’ hand to hand combat kind of experience,” said Sherman. “Most guys who come here don’t expect the kind of fight those reds put up in the shallow marsh.”
Sherman has a lot of clients who are skilled, seasonal fly fishermen accustomed to landing trout in swift streams and rivers. He advises gearing up for a trip to south Louisiana.
Suggested gear is an 8- or 9-weight fly rod and reel spooled with 15- 30-pound tippet. In order of productivity, he recommends bringing Clouser Minnows, followed by blue crab and shrimp imitators. Choose flies with chartreuse as a base color.
What sets Home Run Charters apart is the Home Run Lodges. The lodges are located within the very same marina where you will meet your captain and board their boat. You can have a tasty breakfast and be out the door and into the boat within minutes.
You can dine, rest and sleep and luxury at the lodge. Rates begin at $159 per person. Accommodations are three separate lodges with kitchen, living room, dining room, and bedrooms. Also included in the package is breakfast, a boxed lunch, and dinner. Or, you can stay in the lodge for $99 per person without meals.
Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com