South Louisiana Redfish Fishing

We used just-introduced fishing tackle and gear to battle voracious redfish at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Big redfish call Louisiana home.Sam Hudson

When outdoor brands want to test their newest gear in a fantastic inshore fishery, a great place to head is Louisiana. Unpredictable weather, unforgiving saltwater marsh and burly redfish are common in Buras, a small town 65 miles south and east of New Orleans. What better conditions to test new products?

That's where I traveled in mid-August to target redfish, black drum and speckled trout.

We stayed at a well-known fishing lodge that's battled through hurricanes and high flood waters to cement itself as a great home base for fishermen and hunters. Cajun Fishing Adventures was the site of this year's Buras Marsh Media Bash, host to outdoor media journalists and top fishing companies like LiveTarget Lures, 13 Fishing, Huk Gear, Mustad Hooks, Z-Man Fishing Products, Yamaha Outboards, Power-Pole and Skeeter Boats.

The gathering of manufacturers and media has become a bit of a tradition over the last couple years, with both sides returning annually to test out the newest tackle and gear. I’ve been lucky enough to report on past events in 2016 and 2015.

In August, southeast Louisiana offers two distinct types of red drum fishing. One option is to head to the open bays that buffer the Gulf of Mexico. There, huge bull reds gather to feast in preparation for spawning. The second option is to head into the marshes for sight-fishing opportunities for smaller, slot-size fish. Capt. C.A. Richardson took Z-Man's Jonathan Zucker and I on an adventure to the shallow waters near Pointe A La Hache. Zucker landed this redfish early on in the day.Sam Hudson
Redfish in Louisiana aren't picky, but they still want a bait that's moving and realistic. Richardson keeps a baitcaster handy when he's poling clients in the different bays, creeks and flats that he calls home for a couple months each year. If his clients let a fish get by the bow, he'll make a last-ditch cast. On our trip, he used a Z-Man Swim Jig to pop a couple reds (like the one pictured) from the poling platform.Sam Hudson
Capt. C.A. set us up at one particular point that was loaded with reds. I think he nicknamed it the "Shooting Range." Reds were forced to leave the marsh with the outgoing tide and had to pass this point before making it to open bay waters. The reds were easy to spot waking along the shoreline, and they were hungry.Sam Hudson
By far, the lure that caught the most fish was a Z-Man Chatterbait. Fishing side by side with Jonathan, I outfished him until he switched over to a Chatterbait. The flash and vibration of the blade triggered strikes better than any other lures we tried.Sam Hudson
Capt. C.A. landed this redfish on a Chatterbait. In total, all three of us caught 20 redfish, with a couple top-of-the-slot fish that would have placed well in the IFA Lucas Oil Redfish Open in nearby Empire, Louisiana.Sam Hudson
Expect marsh bass to show in the shallow grass too. Casting a weedless topwater over the grass attracts both redfish and largemouth bass.Sam Hudson
The next day we took a gamble and headed out to the nearby rigs for red snapper. Before we made it to the rigs we had to navigate a forest of PVC pipes marking oyster leases on the west side of the Mississippi River. Once at the rigs, we set out to test new Mustad bucktail jigs on cobia, snapper or anything else around.Sam Hudson
Mustad's Reid McKinstry pulled this mighty mangrove snapper away from a platform in about 50 feet of water. Casting a new Mustad Hooks Big Eye Bucktail Jig, tipped with a soft plastic, McKinstry flipped the bait inches from a barnacle-ridden post, betting a snapper would grab it before the current dragged the jig into the structure.Sam Hudson
A closeup of the new Mustad Big Eye Bucktail Jig, available in different sizes and colors. After this catch, our entire boat couldn't buy a bite from any of the rigs we fished. Before lunch, we were headed back to the marsh in search of redfish and speckled trout.Sam Hudson
A storm with heavy lightning caught us and forced us back to the ramp. Louisiana afternoon rainstorms are as common as South Florida summertime storms. Most captains can run away from them safely and keep fishing, but sometimes a real nasty front can shorten the day's fishing.Sam Hudson
Each day after fishing, different manufacturers showed off new products, accessories and gear to participants. Kevin Polston, with Skeeter, highlighted a new portable head inside a well-equipped console.Sam Hudson
In the evening, Robert Shamblin highlighted the brand new Power-Pole Total Boat Control Vision tablet system. Mounted directly to your console, the digital dashboard controls multiple boat accessories via apps on the smart device. The Vision handles things like trim tabs, jack plates, Power-Poles, bilge pumps, live wells, and boat light controls, but also allows anglers to utilize any app available on the Android operating system. That could be tide charts, weather apps or even Instagram. Use the hotspot from your phone for internet connectivitySam Hudson
The last day was a chance to tackle bull reds on light tackle. One of the first reds of the day gulped a LiveTarget Lures Mullet Walking Bait worked hard and loud in choppy bay waters. Gary Abernethy and Capt. Todd Seither (right) hold the 30-plus-inch drum for a quick photo before release. The bronze bulls aggregate in late August at bay mouths with access to the Gulf of Mexico.Sam Hudson
I had to snap a photo of one of my bull red catches. Some days it might be topwaters, other days twitch or swim baits that tempt the reds. I tricked this 40-plus-inch fish on a LiveTarget Scaled Swimbait.Sam Hudson
The most popular lure of the day was a hot pink LiveTarget Rigged Shrimp tied underneath a popping cork. Popping corks might seem amateurish to use, but the increase in strikes is impossible to disregard. Only a fool like me would waste a couple hours unsuccessfully trying to out-fish a popping cork.Sam Hudson
Two other key participants you likely noticed in this fishing gallery were HUK Gear and 13 Fishing. All anglers were supplied with clothing and footwear from HUK; all rods and reels were supplied by 13 Fishing. Angler Scott Goodwin used 13 Fishing's new Concept Z Casting Reel to land this oversize drum on a mullet swimbait. The Concept Z reel has no ball bearings, relying on a polymer disk bearing for its performance.Sam Hudson
HUk's line of performance shirts, hats and gaiters kept us sun-protected all day long. Of note, HUK let us try out the new HUK Attack shoe, with sturdy traction and durability, that held up well on the boat.Sam Hudson
LiveTarget's Gary Abernethy holds one of the biggest redfish of the day. Abernethy was one of the most diehard anglers at the event, staying on the water long after most guys headed back to the lodge. The day we fished together, I found myself bummed our day was cut short by three converging lightning storms.Sam Hudson