Gathering Information About Saltwater Fly Fishing in Louisiana

| July 27, 2011

THE GATHERING BEGINS

State of Louisiana flagTrapped, as we are here, still reeling from the daily heat, a hot wind, no rain, water levels dry or drying up, it leaves no choice but to do research to boost myour chances of actually scoring a fish at the IFA tour stop in Venice, Louisiana next month.

Last year at the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour stop in Aransas Pass, Texas, I thought it would be too cool to actually place in the tournament with a fly rod – going against a flotilla of locals throwing “top waters,” top waters and more, you guessed it, top waters. All of the fish that placed that day were caught, yes, on top waters. I learned a few things from that tournament. First, find your locals and try and shadow them. Second, we live by the fly rod, and we can die by the fly rod. It’s up to you, but you can always put the fly rod down and maybe pay for your trip. Third, carry plenty of top water flies, and use them. Fourth, find that balance between driving distance and a successful spot when it comes to kayak fishing tournaments. Last, you’re on the salt, so take everything you hear (from the locals) with a grain of it.

TRUE LIES

Attending the “Captain’s Meeting” the night before the tournament gives you the opportunity to go face-to-face with your superior opponents. Look for a) insanely dark tans, including “coon eyes” and fresh sunburns, b) local accents and terminology being spoken, and don’t forget to use your nose; if they smell like a fish, pay close attention.

Now just because they look, talk, or perhaps smell like a fish doesn’t mean they are only as smart as a fish. The conversations always poke and prod into each other with “where you gonna’ fish, what you gonna’ use,” and did you pre-fish today, and how did you do? Most of the guys will share openly, and joke openly about whether or not the truth is being told. It’s not that they are telling lies, they give real information that passes the smell test mostly … it’s just that it may have been true a month ago in another location. So we weigh each other’s information with a grain of salt, leave to get a good night’s sleep, and while we are driving back to our sleeping quarters, we realize we don’t know any more after the meeting than we did before.

ELIMINATING THE VARIABLES

One thing that time (afforded us by the Texas heat wave this summer) gives us if we are headed for saltwater, say the Louisiana or Texas Gulf Coast, is the opportunity to eliminate the variables through copious amounts of research. With the advent of the internet, our research could start here and lead us to find the solunar charts (including iPhone apps with charts) for Venice, Louisiana, next month, look at the lodging in that area (campgrounds, etc…), the discussion boards for Louisiana, what flies are most readily taken, what lures work, and where to apply all this knowledge. After all, this is going to be done without guides and with a kayak not a boat. Take these specifics, and your choices already begin to be narrowed down significantly.

I suggest we start with the topic we have the most time for – flies and lures. Now, there seems to be consensus among fly fishing experts in Louisiana that two flies that rise above the rest are 1) spoon flies, and, 2) crabs. Spoon flies have as many formulas as mom’s meatloaf, but a few have risen to the top based on quality, and rest justifiably – on name. The spoon flies from Texas’ Captain Scott Sparrow, are fairly easy to come by, and much more reasonably priced than the ones by Rich Waldner, at 12-dollars each. The degree of difficulty along with the reputation of the spoon fly, is leading me down the garden path to making my own spoon flies. They do work in freshwater you know! Other than the huge variety of ways to make a spoon fly, the one detail that tweaked my interest is the anecdotal evidence that a purple spoon fly is irresistible to Louisiana redfish. I wonder if that makes them think blue crab?

When it comes to lures, say the wind closes you out, or you want to pay for your trip and entry fee, you could pick up a spinning rod like Lefty Kreh or Flip Pallot are known to do. I grew up with a spinning rod, and once I figured out live shrimp weren’t the only thing specks would hit, I was using MirrOlure and Hump Lures almost exclusively outside of live offerings. So, let’s forget learning how to stick plastics, hooks weights and scents. Hump is long gone, but MirrOlure is still going strong out of Florida. You have to believe that, even though these redfish are pretty low rated when it comes to selectivity, you may have a better shot with new colors of the same old flies and lures. When you work your way down the list of flies it doesn’t take long to get to more familiar territory – shallow Clousers, seaducers, and shrimp seem to be near the top of the Louisiana Delta list of flies as well.

Rods and reels, fly and spinning, lean toward the heavy. I am looking at taking an eight and ten weight (9 footers) with typical fat tropical saltwater weight forward tapers. Straight line leaders starting at ten and up to twenty-five, and bite tippet up to thirty-nine are easy enough to tie and deal with. Spools of good Ande’ mono are also something to take along for mono leaders on crease flies and poppers. Durability takes precedent over presentation. On the spinning side, I am currently looking for a seven to seven-six medium action two piece spinning rod, and will probably go with a Penn inshore size saltwater reel. This time of year we’re unlikely to see the huge bulls that are so abundant in cold months, so we won’t be going as heavy as the bull runs demand.

To be continued …

HERE ARE SOME USEFUL LINKS FOR FLY FISHING IN LOUISIANA

IFA Kayak Fishing Tour
Louisiana Fishing Licenses
Sage Fly Rods
Tibor Reels
Penn Reels
Louisiana State Parks
MirroLure
Rich Waldner’s Spoon Fly
Kirk’s Spoon Fly
Scott Sparrow Spoon Flies

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Category: Culture on the Skids, Equipment, Fishing Reports, Fly Fishing for Redfish, Fly Reel, Fly Rods, kayaking, Life Observed, Louisiana Report, Science and Environmental, TECHNICAL, Technique, TIPS, Tournaments and Contests

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

Comments (3)

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  1. shannon says:

    Now, where do I find those Gamakatsu Hooks?

  2. shannon says:

    Had to order some of Scott Sparrow’s spoons. The real deal is on the precut bodies!