"THE SPORTSMAN'S PARADISE"
The coastal marshes of southern Louisiana are some of the most productive waters in the continental United States. Covering over ten thousand square miles these wet lands are vast and wild with the Mississippi River at the heart of it providing the life blood to it all. This area contains almost half of the wetlands found in the lower forty eight which is what makes it so special. Fishing in the Marsh is unbeatable when it comes to having a target rich environment but here at Scannin Shallow Capt Jerry targets the Big three Bull Redfish, Black Drum and Sheepshead. The edges of the shoreline are made up of Spartina grass that meet a muddy bottom with scattered Oyster bars which makes for an ideal habitat for Bait fish, Shrimp and crabs. Having such an abundant food source attracts Game fish to forage the creeks, bayous and mud banks of the Marsh. Beginning in the fall we welcome the arrival of cold fronts which means I make the trip up to the Marsh (October-January) to target Big Redfish that are in the marsh taking advantage of cooler temps, low water levels and cleaner water. For Anglers this provides the best opportunity to sight fish these big fish in shallow water. Its an aggressive style of sight fishing most of the time its a quick short shot that needs to be close and accurate which will reward you with a bite. These fish eat and ask questions later for the most part Big Redfish and Black Drum don't have predators in the Marsh they are the Apex predators so they aren't as spooky as the smaller fish which are still on the lookout for Dolphins and Birds of prey.
Most of the time we are fishing in one to four feet of water sight fishing Reds and Black drum poling the edges of the banks looking for signs of fish in the area. These fish can be seen suspended in the water, crawling with their backs out, tailing and pushing wakes.We typically are throwing a 9 weight with a winter floating line as the water temps can be in the mid fifties at times and that will destroy a tropical fly line that is designed to perform in the heat. Our leaders are six to eight feet in length and any fly that is flashy with a good profile will work most of the time. When we have the right conditions we even throw poppers at floating bulls which is very exciting! The winter time offers us shorter days which in turn means less fishable light we usually are meeting at 8am to give the sun a chance to rise in the sky and warm up the day. Some days the conditions are not ideal for Fly fishing but we can make it happen on Light tackle. The Marsh is the perfect place for Anglers of any experience and skill level to catch fish on fly I highly recommend it to all Anglers.
Light tackle fishing is the most effective way to catch fish in the Marsh reason being is that its much more versatile than Fly fishing. The most common way to catch Bull Redfish is with a popping cork rig there's a reason you see them on every boat in Louisiana they WORK! From spoons to jigs, soft plastics to top water plugs and even Bait there is a way to catch fish for anyone. When it comes to sight fishing I like to throw my very own hand tied jigs and soft plastics but we can sight fish big Bulls with top water plugs as well. Some days the weather isn't the best for sight fishing so that is when we go to the popping corks which help call the fish to our lures two to three away from the cork.
Louisiana is the mecca for Redfish there is no better place in the world to catch Giant Redfish these fish can reach up to thirty even forty pounds. That is what makes these fish so special per inch in length they will outweigh Redfish in any other part of their range from the Carolina's to Texas these fish on average are bigger. The Redfish are aggressive feeders almost fearless at times when they lock in on the bait its game over. These big fish move into the marsh after spawning to fatten up for winter and the marsh is the perfect habitat to sustain these fish.
The Black drum is close relative to the Redfish but these fish have a much louder drum sound when they drum sometimes heard from the boat without seeing a fish. Black and white markings with big soft lips, powerful crushers and a giant hump make these fish unique. Black drum are really not as aggressive as Redfish so they often require a close presentation with a slow moving lure or fly. They can reach upwards of forty pounds and get long barbels or whiskers on their bottom jaw which they use to feel any hidden prey in the mud.
Sheepshead are the finickiest of all the fish in the marsh they are generally always have their guard up and have the best eyesight. They have small mouths and human like teeth that can cut through weak hooks and crush clams, crabs and remove barnacles from dock pilings. Its a true accomplishment to catch one these Convicts on fly just tough enough to make it challenging but good fun! Everyone comes to the Marsh for big Redfish but Sheepshead is a Gentleman's fish its very similar to Bonefishing but with a different approach. They are my favorite target in the Marsh watching the pin down your fly and have it come back bent or snapped lets you know that they are a formidable opponent on the flats.