When Louisiana was proposed as the next Fish Village scouting location it took me about 2 seconds to say, “hell yeah.” I honestly knew very little about fishing Louisiana. I had been to New Orleans as tourist, but I never really left the city. The unique eco-system, the history and the culture of the region has always intrigued me. For these reasons Louisiana had always been on my kayak fishing bucket list. The fishing photos and videos on social media of Louisiana redfishing had led me to believe that Louisiana marsh fishing was lazy man’s fishing. Just me and a few feet of water, the sound of the breeze running through the grass, and a maze of waterways full of hidden ponds waiting to be discovered… this is what I thought was waiting for me in Louisiana. For all of these reasons Louisiana was easily one of the top three locations for me.
Sure getting to Louisiana wouldn’t be easy. First a 4,000 mile road trip, in the middle of a pandemic, would be required. We could fly but someone needed to take the bullet and deliver the kayaks to the fishing lodge. Also to be completely honest I wasn’t in rush to get on the plane in the middle of a pandemic. There were going to challenges to make this trip happen. First and foremost we didn’t even own a trailer big enough for everyone’s kayak. Also, this trip would take almost 2 weeks. I wasn’t sure how I would be able to take a 2 week break from everything. We were in the middle of a major website redesign and we just started working on our online store. Luckily, Tim and Chris from Pure Watersports, our favorite kayak shop in Southern California, offered up their company trailer allowing us to transport 7 kayaks on a 4,000 mile road trip across the country. After we found a trailer all other obstacles seemed to fall magically one by one. Eventually, it became clear to me that the universe was on our side and this trip was going to happen.
2,000 miles and a about week later we eventually arrived at Port Sulphur, Louisiana. Unfortunately, when we arrived we were greeted with forecasts of high winds, and after my first day on the water my thoughts of lazily drifting through the marsh as I sight casted bull reds were gone. We had high winds all week, which is not the optimal conditions for any type of kayak fishing, but I also learned that conditions in the marsh are extremely dynamic as the tide changes. I would need to frequently remove my drive as I came upon swallow areas. I quickly adjusted to the conditions and the little nuances of kayak marsh fishing. My yak also didn’t have a power pole (highly recommended for this area) which would have allowed me to anchor myself as I fished the moving tide. The high winds highlighted the need for a power pole even more, but after spending a day getting blown around I eventually learned how to beach my kayak in shallow areas, which allowed me to anchor myself near the outlets. Unfortunately, I didn’t come home with that bull red, only catching small undersized trout.
Fishing a windy marsh was definitely a grind, however, mother nature took mercy on us the final day of fishing giving us a break from the wind for a few hours. During this time I was able to experience the tranquil nature of the Louisiana marsh that I had expected. As the winds subsided my senses were freed up to take in the true beauty this type of fishing. I don’t know about you but I find it amazing you can paddle for miles and still be in only a few feet of water. In the calm conditions I was also free to observe the myriad of wildlife that call the marsh home. The beauty of these few hours reminded my why I kayak fish. Maybe you kayak fish to catch fish, but I kayak fish for all the epic locations it takes me. In our small plastic boats we are always able to explore areas off limits to larger crafts. Whether it be the coast of California, the Mokohinau Islands in New Zealand, or the Louisiana Marsh, I kayak fish because it puts me closer to nature than any other type of fishing. Ok I didn’t come home with a cooler of fish, but I will be back in better conditions and I will catch that red bull. Until then I have the memory of spending a week with some of the country’s best kayak anglers, and a few thousand photos of one of the most unique ecosystems on the planet. However, above all I have the memory of those few magical hours where the wind subsided and I was able to experience the true beauty of the Louisiana marsh.