Louisiana Redfish Update – Post Deepwater Horizon

Oil Free Bull Reds Schooling in the Gulf - Summer 2010

We are very proud of our redfish fishing program in southern Louisiana.  In the last eighteen months alone, we have sent over one hundred twenty of our clients to visit with Woodland Plantation and fish with our all-star cast of guides on the West Bank in Plaquemines Parish.  It is perhaps the closest thing we have to an “exclusive” as a booking agent.  Needless to say, we have been on pins and needles this summer with the oil spill.  We have fallen in love with this incredibly vibrant fishery, and felt a lot of heartache for our friends and colleagues in the region.  At the same time, we have been on the front lines communicating with our business partners down there every single day – and have a very good handle on what is going on in the Gulf (at least from a fishing perspective).

There is good news.  Now is the time to support our guides as well as spread the word that Southeastern Louisiana is still a home run of a spot – in my opinion the best saltwater destination in the United States.  While the long term effects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster are yet to be determined, things are really settling back to normal.   There is no visible oil in the marsh or in our winter fishing areas closer to the Gulf, and the entire fishery is open.  Most importantly, the recent fishing has been phenomenal.  Clients who experienced good conditions/weather enjoyed awesome numbers of usual sized reds in the 5-15 pound range – all par for the course for summertime fishing.  There are wonderful reports from our guides of zero oil, clean water, clean grass, tons of bait, shrimp and crabs, birds, and happy redfish found in the “hardest hit” areas.

As this whole saga has unfolded, it is apparent now that our real fear has settled on the long term.  What damage has been done to the spawning habitat and the ecosystem in general appears to be the real concern.  Will we see the same fish numbers and demographic three years from now?  We will just wait and see, but for now the water is clean and the marsh looks as vibrant as ever.  What was once a seriously gloom and doom catastrophe now appears to be a more subtle worry about what happens tomorrow.

Jared Louviere and Captain Bryan Carter

All this news points to an incredible fall and winter season.  There is no easier to get to, affordable, and rewarding saltwater destination in the Unites States.  A few of our guides already have full calendars in October and November, but there is still some space available this fall, and plenty of room during the prime time bull red months of December-March.  Now is the time to book.  Don’t believe the sensationalism the media has created over this thing.  Take it from the professionals that are on the water every single day.  Our core guides, Bryan Carter, Shane Mayfield, Rich Waldner, Alec Griffin, and Kirby LaCour each fish over 150-200 days a year.  They are the go-to fly guides in Southeastern Louisiana, and report to us weekly on their findings.   Below are a few quick reports:

Captain Alec Griffin

Although we’ve been in close communication all summer about the fishing down here in Southeast Louisiana, I wanted to give you an update after spending a few beautiful September days on the water.  I’ve spent most of the summer fishing the waters of the interior marsh, where we’ve had excellent fishing and seen no sign of oil all summer long.  However, this past week, I ventured out to the exterior flats of Port Sulpher, bordering the Gulf of Mexico to see what things looked like out there as our Fall/Winter season is right around the corner, and these are the flats well be most focused on in the months to come.

I’m happy to report that I did not see one trace of oil in the water, on the shorelines or on my skiff at the end of the day. On top of that, I found Redfish patrolling shorelines of almost every flat and a tremendous amount of bait including crabs, shrimp and varieties of baitfish flourishing on the flats and in the main bayous.  In short, everything I saw not only encouraged me that our fishery is as healthy as it always has been, but gave me reason to believe that the lack of recreational and commercial pressure over the summer months might have helped pave the way for an even more vibrant and productive fishery moving forward into the fall and winter.  I look forward to the upcoming season and to sharing this fishery with more and more friends from Tailwaters.  

Captain Bryan Carter

It’s no surprise that a lot of fishermen are wondering about the sustained impact on our fishery here in Louisiana. The oil spill has not coated the water a fraction as much as it has the national media.  As someone who has been on the water throughout the catastrophe I can honestly say that the short term impact on our fishery will be negligible.  What will happen in the future is still unknown, but right now I could not be happier with how things are looking and fishing.  Anyone with doubt about fishing in Louisiana should put those doubts at ease, as this fall and winter should provide the level of fishing our regular customers have become accustomed to.  Give David a call and get down here!

Foster Creppel – Innkeeper, Woodland Plantation

To my delight and surprise the oil leak has not caused the ecological disaster that we anticipated – and thank goodness for that. What damages it will do in the future remains to be seen and only years of research, monitoring and yes, fishing (our favorite) will tell. So I guess Tailwaters’ responsibility in this whole deal is to send anglers down to do their part of the research.  Early indications are good as my guests, when weather conditions have cooperated, have been catching lots of fish.

The early part of the summer we were slow because of the perception that the bays, bayous and marsh were covered with oil.  However, nothing could have been farther from the truth. It is likely that only 10% of the delta actually had oil. That number is not insignificant, but still not the devastation the media depicts.

Flip Pallot was here last week doing a new fishing show and had a great day out on the water as all of our customers have been. I’m going down to EJ’s dock in a few minutes to pick up 100# of beautiful, delicious gulf shrimp that we will be boiling tonight for our customers from Charleston SC.  Last Monday, Orin Bentley, a blue tip crab fisherman, brought me a bushel of fat crabs that my guests have been enjoying the last three days.

The Delta is still productive, but we need to make sure that we continue getting the word out that it is a rich place that needs protection. We need to develop, build and harvest it in a sustainable manner and no group of people do this better than our fly fishermen. They support our economy, harvest very few fish and leave a tiny footprint on the estuary.

Thank you to all of Tailwaters’ clients, past and future, for your wonderful support!  Come see us soon for some fine fishing and Southern Comfort.

For more information about our Louisiana Redfish programs, please contact David Leake at the shop: david@tailwatersflyfishing.com and view our web page by clicking HERE or on the brochure tab below.  Make sure to download the digital brochure or view the page turning magazine online and watch our video.

Click to View our Web Page and Brochure for our LA Reds Program

Click to View our Web Page and Brochure for our LA Reds Program
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