Big Uglies, Black Drum, Flats Fishing, Fly Fishing, Fly Fishing Redfish, Guides, Marsh, Mixed, Photography, Redfish, Sight Fishing, Skinny Water Culture, Travel -


For a long time now I have been dreaming about going to New Orleans to fish the marsh for giant swamp donkey redfish.  And, a little over a week ago, I finally made it happen.  This trip has been a long time coming, and , was worth all the time, money, planning and effort.  What a truly remarkable fishery they have there.  The boat ride alone is worth the trip!

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Watching the weather leading up to my trip was a little concerning.  The Louisiana coast had been pounded with rain for 2 weeks prior to my trip.  I wasn’t sure what all the rainfall would do to the fishing or the water conditions, but, it was out of my hands.  Even if the fishing conditions sucked, it was still the early stages of Mardi Gras there, and the was surely no shortage of oysters,crawfish, and ice cold Abita Ambers.  Good times were sure to be had.  Luckily, the weather looked like it was going to clear up and the weather men predicted building high pressure with cold crisp mornings and plenty of sunshine.

A former customer of mine turned fishing buddy Brandon set up the whole trip.  He is from New Orleans and had fished with Capt Greg Dini a few times in the past.  Capt Greg owns and operates which is a New Orleans based fly fishing outfitter service.  Greg and David Mangum put out an insane topwater fly fishing movie last year for bull reds in LA.  If you haven’t seen it, well, WTF are you waiting for.  It has hands down the coolest popper eats I have ever seen on film…. if you like that kind of thing.

Day one in the marsh we had the pleasure of fishing with Capt Miles Larose.  Miles is nothing short of funny as hell.  We had a great time with him.  Conditions were pretty tough, and after a 10 second boat ride I knew that I was not properly dressed for the conditions.  Poor planning on my part left me with no camera charger for the whole trip and not even close to enough warm clothing.  It was cold as balls, and the wind was pumping 15-20 kts.  Finding clean water and happy fish was a battle that day.  Miles worked his ass off despite the unfavorable conditions trying to get us on fish and trying to find clean water to sight fish.  We had some shots at some frozen redfish popsicles  but bites were hard to come by.  Brandon did get one nice fish that day and we got a few smaller slot fish to hand. brandoedit1

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Day 2 and 3, we fished with Capt Greg Dini.  The weather was a little better for day 2.  Higher temps and and lighter winds were predicted with good amounts of sun in the forecast.  The water had cleaned up over night, but temps were still low. Luckily, three pairs of pants, 2 pairs of winter socks, 3 shirts, a SWC hoodie,a windbreaker goretex jacket, a beanie, winter gloves and 2 stalker masks kept me warm. Greg put us on all kinds of fish throughout the day but the reds were still very lethargic from the cold water.  We had a lot of shots but the fish were a little cracked out and were very surprisingly spooky.  By early afternoon we got cloud clobbered and visibility was almost zero.  We landed a bunch of slot sized fish and one about 15 lbs.  My buddy Brandon had a shot at a monster tailing black drum and got it to eat the fly.  After a long battle on a 9 wt,  Dini landed this big ugly for Brandon.  It tipped his boga at 40lbs on the nose.   I had the pleasure of snapping a few pics of that beast while Brandon got covered in nasty ass black drum slime.  It seriously looked like an elephant busted his nut all over his rain gear.  It was gnarly to say the least.


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We ended another great day on the marsh with some cold beers.  That night we went to Bourbon St and watched the Krewe du Vieux parade.  The floats were hilarious and the beer was delicious.  We ended up capping off the night with some badass raw oysters at Felix’s and headed home.

Day 3 made the whole trip worth it.  We met Dini in the morning for breakfast.  He filled us in that we were going to make a long run if the forecast help up to find some warmer water.  The fog cleared and gave way to perfect bluebird skies and slick calm seas so we went for it.  It proved to be a great decision.


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After the run. we pulled up the first flat.  To my surprise, I actually had to take off a few layers.  It was my turn to lead off on the bow.  I payed off some line and got ready.  It wasn’t more than 2 minutes before the first monster red showed up on the flat.  I put a good shot on it and came tight.  Stoked doesn’t even begin to describe what I was feeling.  One cast and more than doubled my personal best redfish.  I moved down into the cockpit and Brandon stepped up while I was fighting my fish.  Shortly after, he had a shot and stuck another monster.  Now we were doubled up and Dini was looking for a shot.  I handed him another fly rod and it wasn’t but 30 seconds later he was on too!  Now we were tripled up.  I landed my fish, kept it in the net, and stepped up looking for another fish for the quad.  Sure enough, here comes another pig towards the boat.  Put a shot in him and got him to eat.  I was so totally in shock of what just happened that could barely comprehend.  All four fish were between 20-30 lbs.  Now this is why I went to LA!!  Giant, starving swamp donkeys, and lots of them.


Phot cred: Capt Greg Dini


Phot cred: Capt Greg Dini

All four fish released great as soon as they hit the water.

That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day.  We had so many doubles and triples that I lost count.  We boated somewhere between 25-30 bull reds all 20 -30 lbs.  The average was about 25 lbs and the biggest was 31lbs.  We also each landed a 30 lb black drum on fly, which is also my biggest to date.  It was absolutely insanity!! we caught so many fish that we stopped even pulling out the camera.  I can’t imagine not going back there at least once a year to get some more of what NOLA has to offer.  The fishing, the food, the culture, and the people are all amazing.  I had a great time and can’t wait to go back.  Thanks to Capt Greg and capt Miles for 3 great days on the water.  Look them up if you are ever in New Orleans. They will put you on em’ and will keep you cracking up all day.


Phot cred: Capt Greg Dini


Phot cred: Capt Greg Dini


Phot cred: Capt Greg Dini


Phot cred: Capt Greg Dini


Phot cred: Capt Greg Dini

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If you haven’t seen Rebound or Bulls on Top from David Mangum of Shallow Water Expeditions and Capt Greg Dini…. you need to.  Check it out.  Cheers!!




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