Get a coffee, because this is gonna be a long post!
We have been very selective in who we pick to be on our Team EyeStrike, and one of the things we are trying to do is spend some time fishing with each of our team members. Last week we had the chance to do a “bucket list” trip to Louisiana to fish with Capt Judson Brock of Muddy Fly Guide Service. You might be thinking…Fly? Well, Jud does mostly fly guiding but also does spinning trips often, and also guides in LA in the Fall. He’s a big fan of our products and an all around great guy and very professional guide.
Ralph and I flew down to New Orleans with optimism, but low expectations due to a horrible forecast of 80 and 90% rain for both of our days. No worries, we packed rain gear and were there to fish regardless. We stayed at the Delacroix Lodge which is a set of little cabins with occupancy for up to 4 and catering to fishermen. We had all the basics, bunks, fridge, sink, bathroom and shower. It came with all the little necessities, like coffee, small grill, charcoal and lighter fluid. Really cool place that we would recommend highly.
Delacroix is a pretty remote area. One road in and out. Plenty of wildlife. We witnessed a coyote and large boar on our way to the marina, just as a “for example”. We noticed that pretty much everything in this area is either raised on stilts to approximately the third floor height, or, its on wheels. The effects of Katrina were significant – more on that later.
We asked Jud about places to eat and he directed us to Charlie’s Restaurant-Catering. It was a 20 something minute drive just to get a decent restaurant just to emphasize how remote this area is. We tried to do it up cajun, so we had some gator sausage (delicious) along with our dinner. If you go there, you gotta get the corn-crawfish chowder…its “slap-yo-momma” good.
We met Capt Jud at Hopedale Marina and hopped in his Maverick skiff in a thick fog. Although we couldn’t really see where we were going, we knew we were covering a lot of ground. To say the area we were fishing was Vast – is a huge understatement. Just to give you an idea, at one point we were a good 30 miles from the launch. We easily put 70 miles on the skiff the first day. The fishery is mostly grass islands with bays inside of them. Redfish will feed inside these bays and the fish can be anywhere from 20 inches to 30 pounds. It is a sight-fishery. It’s something we don’t get to do very often in Charleston with our dirty water. I know that many people in Charleston do a lot of sight fishing, but mostly – Ralph and I don’t. I feel I got a lot better at it this trip. You’re basically seeing a fish, maybe belly-crawling with its back out of the water, and making an accurate underhand cast in front of it – then enticing it to strike. Super fun!
We saw huge black drum, all sizes of redfish, and even schooling trout that were breaking the surface – another behavior we don’t see in Charleston. On one of these schools we decided to catch a few (stupid easy) and during this period Ralph let his lure get below the schooling fish and caught is personal best trout – that turned out to be a 29 lb redfish. What a beast on light tackle.
Day 2 started with breakfast at Penny’s. A must do if you are there. They are very proud of the fact that they have been featured in several fly fishing magazines. This place is where a lot of guides go to meet their clients and vice versa. We had a funny conversation with a couple guides that were waiting for clients. Hard to imagine but after Katrina all of Penny’s was submerged.
Without the fog we were able to see what we missed on the ride out on Day 1. Lots of oyster boats out working and water as far as the eye can see. It was very windy and this made sight fishing difficult despite a little more sun. Jud worked his butt off poling around and eventually we found some huge blowups along a bank. One of these fish had a memorable take. I made a cast out in front of it but it did a 180 and came toward Ralph’s lure. It mudded like it spooked but really it was searching for the bait. It took his lure just off the rod tip. A 30+ inch fish full of fight.
We found a bay holding a large group of upper slot fish and we had a blast picking them off. Toward the end of the day I still had not caught a real big fish which I was perfectly okay with. But at the 11th hour, I finally got the thump I was looking for. After a long fight a 26 lb red came boat-side for some pics and release.
For the trip we were throwing RedfishEye jigs and the latest Z-Man Elaztech lures. Namely the new TroutTrick Jerk ShrimpZ and the 4″ Scented Jerk ShadZ. The latter in Pearl was by far the biggest producer. Really a big fan of these new lures.
A great, great trip and almost no rain whatsoever – except for some hard downpours at night that made for great sleeping – as if we needed help. Glad to get to know Capt Jud and we are super proud to have him represent us at Eye Strike!