I always try and fit in a few days fishing no matter where I travel. On this family holiday we made plans to be in New Orleans a couple of days before New Year’s Eve, making my decision to chase redfish in the Mississippi Delta an easy one. I contacted good mate John from Detroit to see if he wanted to join me. About two seconds after asking the question, he was in! Next step was to see if guide Bailey Short was available. I had fished with Bailey last year and was keen to catch up again and enjoy his skilled guiding – and to be honest, just to hang out.
Weatherwise, Louisiana, being way down south, is usually a good winter fishing option with daytime temps typically hovering in the low 20C. Unfortunately for us, an unseasonal Arctic blast and rain kept us off the water on the first day. On the second day we froze! The fish evidently didn’t feel much better, burying themselves in the mud and generally sulking all day. Water in the 8C-10C range will do that to fish which normally bask in the warm, shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
On our third and last day, the weather improved to a bright and sunny, ahead of a more severe blast of cold weather rolling in from the North. The day was warm in comparison to the previous two and the sunshine enabled some decent polaroiding on the flats for trophy redfish. This time of the year the big reds move into the Delta and if conditions are right, offer spectacular fishing.
The redfish were still acting weird, perhaps coming out of their frozen coma and slowly kick-starting their metabolisms. Bailey found some great fish for us, though most were a little skittish. Some we probably cast to inaccurately, but a few we nailed!
The exhilaration of catching these fish, their long powerful runs and the environment you are fishing in, is a bit hard to describe. Surreal, mesmerising and addictive are words that come to mind.
I leave Louisiana thankful to have had another opportunity to fish for these amazing southern beasts; and for having caught up with John and Bailey. But to be honest, I also leave a little unfulfilled on the fishing front. Having said that, this type of fishing is so addictive, even a series of ‘red’ letter days would still leave you wanting more!