by Capt. Adam Jaynes
I had the pleasure of fly-fishing with my dad for four days last week in the Port Sulphur and Empire, Louisiana areas along with several other friends. It was a trip that was set up by a good buddy of mine that just so happens to own FishSlick, Erick Burke. He had fished the area a year prior and absolutely had a blast as well as raved about the service and food at the lodge that he and some friends stayed at.
Erick booked the Woodland Plantation for all of us; the package included the lodging, a fresh cooked breakfast each morning, sack lunches for every one on each boat, and a delicious five-course meal each evening. They would start serving breakfast as early as 4:45am each morning or later based on what time we were going fishing. Appetizers for dinner were brought out starting around 6:00pm or so each evening. They also offer guided fishing trips however we opted to tow our own boats and try to see if we could figure the area out. The service was nothing short of first class by some of the friendliest people. An owner that will shuck oysters for you and a wait staff that addresses you by name is pretty dang impressive in my book! Woodland Plantation is located just 45 minutes south of New Orleans and a short drive from there is the boat ramp we used each morning.
The weather on both Thursday and Friday really could not have been any worse for fly-fishing. We hit the road at 3:00am Thursday morning in Orange and arrived at the ramp just after 8:00am. The wind was sustaining around 20mph out of the north with extremely low tides and cloudy conditions with a high of 46 degrees! With how hard the wind was blowing by the time we were seeing the redfish we had nearly drifted over them. Thursday basically turned into a day of boat riding to explore an area that neither dad nor I had ever seen before and scout ideal places to fish for the next few days since the conditions were going to change dramatically. Aaron and John struck red gold on Thursday boating 16 or so on a fly. They weren't able to sight cast to them as they were blanketed with cloud cover as well and had dirty water to deal with but they found a location that was holding fish and were able to get them to eat.
Dad's first ever redfish on fly, a pink clouser that he tied
The following morning the wind didn't quite reach gale force until around 10:00am and there were actually very small windows of breaks in the cloud cover. Dad made the most of the slight improvement of conditions sight casting and landing his first ever redfish on a fly. He played around with some conventional tackle as well while I stayed on the push pole in the low light conditions. He ended up catching his largest redfish of the trip on a 3.5" Chicken on a Chain Wedgetail. We didn't measure the fish but it was a toad for sure.
His largest redfish ate a Wedgetail from Egret right next to the boat!
The conditions continued to improve on Saturday and we were able to see many more redfish and in turn dad was able to send a fly right where it needed to be and enjoy the fight in 3' or less of gin clear water. The majority of the fish he landed were in the 24-30" range. I was able to set the push pole down momentarily and boat the smallest red of the trip while dad was releasing one.
Dad's largest redfish on a fly, the same pink clouser all weekend!
Conditions continued to improve Saturday afternoon
Dad ended Saturday on a very good note!
We did not originally plan to fish on Sunday but after how bad the conditions were on Thursday and Friday and how incredible they were predicted to be on Sunday dad, Aaron, John and I decided to wake up for breakfast earlier and hit the water for a few hours before getting on the road back home. It turned out to be an excellent decision for both boats. Unfortunately Erick and his cousins had to hit the road and were unable to take advantage of the great conditions. They did get to fight quite a few big bull redfish on conventional tackle the previous two days however. Dad and I stayed in one pond and were nearly covered up in redfish. Aaron and John bounced around a little more and found great numbers of redfish as well. I poled dad around until about 11:45am that morning and got to watch and photograph him catching a releasing some gorgeous reds on a fly.
Sunday got off to a quick start!
The weather could not have been more ideal on our last day
We decided that we would let the little amount of wind that was blowing to push us across the gut in the middle of the pond in search of a monster red before calling it quits. Dad also wanted me to have a chance at one since I had been on the push pole the entire time all four days. He was sitting in the bottom of the boat as I was just getting us lined up for a good drift through the pond. Before I could even lay the push pole down I spotted an absolute pig just off the bow of the boat. I whispered to dad to stay still and not make a sound as I grabbed my fly rod and tossed a pink clouser right in front of his nose. The fly disappeared and in a matter of seconds she had me all the way into my backing! We both knew it was a good fish but we both clearly realized that we had underestimated the size when it took both of us to get her into the boat. It was easily my new personal best on a fly measuring 44 inches long and nearly maxing out my boga grip weighing in at 29lbs! Dad and I gave each other a few high fives, snapped several pictures and let her swim away. We sat there and talked for a few minutes and decided that it was a great fish to end the trip on.
Another good looking fish from Sunday
We talked fishing the whole drive home and reminisced the trip we just had and discussed future plans for trips that we would like to make. We will definitely be visiting the Woodland Plantation again. The best part was when I heard dad telling mom about how great of a time he had and that it was a for sure "bucket list trip" that he was able to check off. Watching him catch a pile of fish on the fly made all of my time on the poling platform worth it.
I only made a few casts on the whole trip but this one fish was the one that I was looking for!!