If you were in a place where Southern hospitality is a way of life, where if you were any farther south you would be
standing in the Gulf of Mexico, where the menu went from grits to seafood crêpes to oysters on the half shell, to
steak, redfish and grouper, where the peach cobbler was the best I have ever eaten, then you would be at the Woodland
Plantation in southeast Louisiana.
Oh yeah, the fly-fishing is also pretty good.
Fly-fishing is why my son, son-in-law and I were there. The other stuff was a wonderful surprise.
The trip was organized through Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures. They are based in Bozeman, Mont., and can be viewed at
yellowdogflyfishing.com. Yellow Dog is a company whose sole business is to send people all over the world on turn-key
We flew to New Orleans and were met at the airport and driven about an hour and a half southeast to the Woodland
Plantation. I haven't been through New Orleans since Katrina, and evidence of the horrific damage is still very
visible. One thing the hurricane did not damage is the world-class redfishing in the marshes of south Louisiana.
We met our guides, Captain Rich and Captain Alec at 8 a.m. the first morning. Captain Rich is a retired Marine aviator,and Captain Alec is a young guide who got his start in Jackson, Wyo. Both are excellent guides, and proved it by
having all of us on fish within 30 minutes of launching the boats. In fact, I saw more redfish in my first hour than I
saw, in total, on two other redfishing trips elsewhere.
For equipment we used 8- and 9-weight fly rods. The guides attached 40-pound leaders with 30-pound tippets to the end
of our lines. This was the first indication we were in for some fun.
The flies we used ranged from crab patterns to a really small spoon to a streamer that looked like a shad.
In casting to these fish, you do not have to be really delicate: They are not leader shy.
The best way to cast to these guys is put your fly about 18 inches in front of the fish.
Let it sink and strip it back
toward you per your guide's
Repeat this until one of three things happens: The redfish gets tired of the game and swims off, the fish spooks as you
make your back cast, or he eats your fly. These odds shouldn't detour anyone from going; remember a baseball player
hitting .333 makes a zillion dollars.
Our casts were anywhere from 10 feet to 50 feet. I suggest you practice with an 8- or 9-weight rod before going.
Since you will be casting from the bow of a gently rocking boat, stand on a rocking chair and have someone rock it as
you use a double haul to hit a dessert plate 40 feet away.
Trying to answer the call of nature while standing on the rocking chair also can be
On our trip, we caught
redfish, bull reds (redfish on steroids) and drum. The fish ranged from 6 pounds to more than 30 pounds.
We were there the middle of January, and it was cold.
I suggest you take lots of warm clothes and wind blockers if you go in the winter.
However, I've been told the reds will hit a popper in June.
Guess where you'll find me this June?
Reach Don Oliver at email@example.com