Sightcasting and Popping for Louisiana Marsh Redfish

Bulls and keeper-class drum fall for properly presented plastics.

Cajun Fishing Adventures
Cajun Fishing Adventures lodgeChris Woodward

The Louisiana Delta offers legendary inshore fishing opportunities. The Cajun Fishing Adventures lodge in Buras, about 15 miles north of Venice, offers a great launch spot for fishing an enormous variety of bays and creeks, both salty and nearly fresh. Summertime redfishing here means sightcasting for keeper drum or popping corks and artificial lures for bulls.

For three days of hardcore casting — and dodging the ever-marching August rainstorms — I joined a group of fishing writers and industry reps for Z-Man, Skeeter, Huk, LiveTarget, 13Fishing, and Power-Pole. Using the lodge as our home base, thanks to its owner Ryan Lambert as our host, we fanned out in half a dozen shallow-water boats. The groups returned at the end of each day with sometimes-amusing stories of success, some truly tinged with a little Cajun magic.

Lucky 13?

13 Fishing Spin and Baitcast Outfits
13 Fishing rodsChris Woodward

The night before our first day on the water, Jose Chavez from 13Fishing rigged up dozens of Omen Green and Fate Green spin and baitcasting outfits. The company makes rods for saltwater and freshwater fishing.

Nearly Live

LiveTarget Lures
LiveTarget luresChris Woodward

A box full of realism: LiveTarget lures in many shapes and sizes, including mullet, menhaden, shrimp and sardine. This particular selection was compiled for my home waters of south coastal Georgia, but I used several of the baits on the Delta.

Backcountry Bronze

Capt. C.A. Richardson and Louisiana Keeper Red
Keeper redChris Woodward

Capt. C.A. Richardson, creator of Flats Class TV and a charter captain based in Tampa, Florida, prepares to release a slot-sized red as one of the many ubiquitous summer squalls lurks in the background. Richardson travels to Buras every summer to run charters sightcasting for reds in the normally clear waters of this region's creeks and bays. With his Hell's Bay flats skiff, he can pole in significantly skinnier water than most bay boats.

During our first-day trip, Richardson's eyes were constantly on the weather radar as he deftly dodged the storm cells and led Z-Man president Jonathan Zucker and I to double-digit redfish releases. We were rigged up with Z-Man DieZel MinnowZ on Trout Eye Jigheads.

Richardson poled through small creeks, and we looked for reds along the roseau cane shorelines and in the mats of vegetation just off the banks. Besides reds, we saw dozens of gar fish of all sizes.

Seal the Deal

Jonathan Zucker and Keeper Red
Sightcasting redsChris Woodward

Z-Man's Jonathan Zucker with an impressive marsh red that ate a DieZel MinnowZ in a color called "The Deal."

Guide's Choice

Louisiana Redfish in Water
Louisiana marsh redChris Woodward

Richardson keeps a rigged rod tucked into his belt behind his back. He poles quietly through the shallows, and when he sees a redfish that neither of his anglers can get a lead on, he casts to the fish. Cast ahead of the fish and then bump the bait a few times, and the rest is redfish history.

Why Did the Cow Cross the Creek?

Cows in the Louisiana Marsh
Cows midstreamChris Woodward

We couldn't quite tell if these cows were just cooling off in the creek or if they were contemplating swimming across. In any case, it was an odd site during a fishing trip.

Bullish Morning

Clouds Move Across the Louisiana Delta
Cloudy startChris Woodward

Our second morning, Capt. Cody Obiol pointed his boat to an open bay where birds dived feverishly on small menhaden. Again, we were greeted with a mixture of sunshine and storm cells.

Cork Rig

Bull Redfish Rig
Bull red rigChris Woodward

While birds dived into the water's surface, redfish slammed the menhaden schools from below, which created significant oily slicks. With the trolling motor down, we started casting to the slicks and ripping our cork rigs back toward us. The cup-faced corks — trailed by a Z-Man MinnowZ — create white bubble trails that bull reds can't resist.

On the Hook

Capt. Cody Obiol Hooked Up
First bull redChris Woodward

Capt. Cody Obiol hooks the first bull red of the morning.

Rainy Red

Bull Red in Water
Popping-cork bullChris Woodward

Passing rain showers did nothing to dampen the bite.

Louisiana Staple

Zucker and Obiol Redfish
Starting the bull red party.Chris Woodward

Zucker (left) and Obiol admire the first bull red of the day. Although Louisiana waters host abundant bull drum as well as many other spectacular species, one never knows whether the bite will stay on, or whether storm conditions might require a quick exit. Moral: Exult over every fish!

Head and Shoulders

Chris Ellis from Huk with Bull Red
Hooked by Huk's Ellis.Chris Woodward

Guessing a redfish's weight can be tricky. One with a fairly large head and shoulders — like this one caught by Huk's Chris Ellis — can weigh more than its length seems to suggest.

Neon Bright

Capt. Cody Obiol and Bright Bronze Redfish
Worth reflection.Chris Woodward

When the bull red bite waned, Obiol took us north to some smaller creeks to sightcast keeper reds, like this bright bronze beauty that came home with us for supper.

Double Trouble

Pair of Bull Reds in Buras
Woodward and Zucker with dueling bulls.Capt. Jude Montet

On our final day of fishing, Capt. Jude Montet took me and Zucker back to the open bay east of Buras to hunt more redfish slicks. Before we were chased back to the dock by storms, we doubled up on this pair of bulls.