Flew into NOLA on Wednesday the day after T.S. Ida had passed through the Biloxi Marsh. Not good. I was supposed to go fishing with Travis Holeman the next day. “I’ll give you a call Wednesday evening and we’ll make a decision then.” “Sounds good.” I was certain we would not go. The wind was howling. Trees were bent all the way over. 7 pm. Ring, ring. “Meet me out front of your hotel at 5:30.” “I’ll be there.”
After a stop at a cool diner called Penny’s for a quick breakfast and sammiches for later, we drive out to Hopedale. It was way out there. Get in Travis’ boat. Lake N Bay. 60 mph. We proceeded to go another long way. Faster than in the car most of the time. Travis is looking at the wind, the water. Trying to find the right spot. Stop and start poling. 5 minutes later I have my first LA. redfish! About 8 lbs. Sweet. It was just cruising the shoreline. I was amazed at how close we were and the fish was not spooked. I actually was casting too far. Adjusted and he slurped it right in. And that is pretty much how it went all morning. At one point there was a school of 6 pounders that just sat there in front of us. It got a little silly.
As the sun got higher and the wind started to lay out a little bit Travis (and I) thought it would be a decent shot to try for a slob. Now he warned me that with the water still being off color it would be tough to see them. He wasn’t kidding. Didn’t see most of them until it was too late. A couple times fish would spook as he put the pole in the bottom. Spooky. Not like the schoolies. These big reds demanded absolute stealth. Travis knows his game. But it was usually too late when we would see them. (He says December and January are prime times for the Mambos because the water clears considerably). I did catch a nice number of “teenagers” up to 14 pounds. On the 7 and 8 wt rod they were nice fish. I finally got a serious shot at a real toad in the 30 – 40 lb range. I layed out a backhander about 30 feet. I could just see the fish moving to the fly. Travis: “He’s on it. Moving to it. Ready to eat it.” Me: “Ooh there’s some weight I will set the hook now.” Grass. Bummer. Oh well. Can’t really complain about catching all those fish up to 14 lbs. Anybody that would needs to have his head examined. I do need to have my head examined, but not over catching more than 20 reds up to 14 lbs (it may have been 30?).
It was a great trip. Travis is the real deal. Contact Travis Holeman directly because you can depend on his expertise.