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Louisiana Fishing Holidays Fly Fishing for Redfish

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The Mighty Mississippi

Louisiana is a state in the Deep South and South Central region of America. It is the 19th-smallest by area, covering 135,658 square kilometres and is bordered by Texas to the west, Arkansas to the north, Mississippi to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and it’s well known for its great food, music and fishing opportunities. Over the past couple of decades, it has become increasingly popular as a sportfishing destination for travelling rods all around the globe.

The state has a varied topography, but much of its land was created from sediment washed down from the mighty Mississippi River, creating an enormous delta with vast coastal marshes and swampland. This area’ known as the Louisiana Marshes or ‘Bayou’, spans over 1,400,000 acres and is the perfect habitat for all manner of marine life. The most famous and popular species that inhabit the region is the hard fighting, fly-eating Redfish. Louisiana is often referred to as the Redfish capital of the world and is widely recognized as the number one destination for these beautiful fish, both in size and numbers.

While these copper-coloured beauties remain the anglers primary target, there’s also plenty of opportunities to catch Black Drum, Sheepshead, Jacks, Alligator Gar, and more. As you’d also expect, the area is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, including Alligators, numerous species of Birds, Turtles, Sea Otters, Raccoons and Dolphin, to name a few. Louisiana is truly a fishermans and nature lovers paradise!

Fly Fishing For Redfish Louisiana

Louisiana is considered by many travelling rods as the Redfish capital of the world, and these beautiful looking fish are plentiful throughout the marshes and wetlands. They love eating flies and sight fishing is the name of game. Once hooked they fight like a bulldog and are great fun on a balanced fly fishing tackle.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Louisiana Marsh or 'Bayou'

The coastal marshes of Louisiana, also known as Bayou, cover approximately 27,000 square kilometres and comprise about 12% of the state’s coastal wetlands. Created from Sediments carried down the Mississippi River, the entire coastline of Louisiana is occupied by these extensive salt marshes, which grade into brackish marshes, then into freshwater marshes in the upper Mississippi River delta. This whole area is a haven for all manner of marine species both above and below the water and is a hub for sportfishing, visited by thousands of anglers each year.

Two of the most famous areas in the region include the Biloxi Marsh, an estuary network of 210,000 acres of coastal wetlands located on the eastern side of Louisiana, and the Chandeleur Islands, a chain of uninhabited barrier islands approximately 80 kilometres long in the Gulf of Mexico.

The main quarry for travelling rods is the famous Redfish, but Black Drum, Sheepshead, Jacks and Alligator Gar are viable targets. Fishing in this area is all about trading scenes of the big city for scenes of Shrimp boats, Alligators, and the unique landscape of the Louisiana marshland.

The Redfish Capital Of The World

Louisiana is considered by many as the Redfish capital of the world, and these fish are plentiful throughout the marshes and wetlands. A big brawny cousin of the Speckled Trout, with gill plates and large, tough scales as thick as your thumbnail, they’re able to tolerate dirty water and can even live entirely in freshwater. They’re beautiful looking fish, dark red in colour on their back, fading into white on their belly, with a characteristic eyespot near their tail.

The fish in Louisiana are some of the largest found globally, thanks to the low tidal swings and abundant populations of food, like Shrimps and Crab, for them to gorge on. The average size of fish is typically around 6lb to 10lb; however, much larger specimens get landed every week, and the current Louisiana state record is an absolute monster of 61lb.

Over the past decade or so, since the fly fishing community has seen their worth as a sportfish, the Redfish’s popularity has soared.

Fly Fishing In Louisiana

Most fishing in Louisiana, unless blue water fishing offshore, is based on fly fishing, and as mentioned above, the main quarry is the copper-coloured Redfish. It’s possible to catch them on lures and bait; however, the most enjoyable and explosive way to catch them is sight fishing for them on the fly. Typically a fishing guide will pole you around the marshes on skiffs looking for groups of fish you can present too.

Unlike other saltwater species like Bonefish, Tarpon, and Permit, where a super softly approach is required, you don’t need to be as gentle with the Redfish. Regularly you’ll get more than one cast at a fish, and it often doesn’t need to be that precise; they might miss the fly the first time round but will often come round again for a second and even third look – they love eating flies!

What Tackle Do You Need?

Many of the fish species you’re likely to encounter when fishing the Louisiana Marshes won’t typically run you 100ft into your backing or leap clear of the water, but they will fight like a bulldog and prove to be great fun on a balanced fly tackle.

A 9ft 8 or 9-weight rod, paired with a saltwater reel and spooled with a warm water, weight-forward floating line, with a tapered leader between 9ft and 12ft in length, will be more than suffice.

Fly wise, many patterns work well, although most of the popular models are 3 inches long, come with bead eyes and are fished weedless. For the biggest bull fish, a 5 or 6 inch fly with white and puffy synthetics will work well, and like with many of the Redfish flies, it doesn’t have to resemble anything specific. These fish are often just looking for a meal and will eat just about anything it thinks will fit in its mouth.

The Best Time To Fish In Louisiana

The majority of the species on the marshes in Louisiana can be fished for and caught all year round. However, June, July and August can often produce the best results and are the most popular, as these are the hottest months and the time of year when the water clarity is best.

September through to May is also a popular time, as at this time of the year, the marsh system has filtered enough water to make for the most optimal sight fishing conditions. However, it’s worth noting the later in the calendar year you leave it, the more unpredictable the weather can be.

If you’re going fly fishing in Louisiana be sure to read our blog: Top Tips On Sight Fishing. 

How To Get There

One of the great things about Louisiana is the ease of travel, as it’s possible to fly direct from London to New Orleans. The fishing lodges on the marshes are then only a short one or two-hour drive away.

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