by: Barry Reynolds , Colorado2/22/2011
Every year I plan at least one trip where I go and pursue a new species of fish or target a specific time of year to experience something I had yet to try. This past winter my trip and goal was to target big Bull Redfish along the Louisiana coastline and marshes outside of Port Sulphur in hopes of hooking and landing a Redfish of 20lbs or more.......
I had 5 days book with a local guide who was well known in the area and his expertise in locating the big bull Reds considered by many to be second to none. I thought having picked a prime time, an outstanding guide, and allowing for 5 full days of fishing would all but guarantee me a trophy bull Red! Not so fast.....
First the BP oil spill threatened to end my trip before it ever started but luckily the oil spill had been mostly cleaned up and had effected the fishery here very little. Then the weather started to act up! The week before I arrived had seen temperatures into the mid 70's and little wind and rain. The day I showed up was the last day the weather was nice. The remainder of the week saw high winds, occasional rain, and cool to cold temperatures. Out of the 5 days booked to fish we only managed 3 days on the water while the other two were spent sitting in a room reading a book and waiting out the winds!
On the days where I was able to get out the lighting was tough with periods of clouds and wind which made spotting tailing or cruising fish tough at best. The first day I managed several nice Redfish to 10lbs and saw several fish into the mid twenties which got me more transfixed on catching the goal of my trip, a big Bull Red! What I kept missing were the subtle hints my Capt and guide for the week kept dropping.
Throughout the day the guide kept saying something to the fact that he had not seen many Black Drum or caught any yet this season! Not fully understanding the weight of his statement I kept on my one way track and thought of catching that monster Redfish. It was soon near the end of the first day and time to start heading back towards the dock before dark but the Capt suggest we try one last spot on the way back that often held Black Drum and that we check it out!
Pulling up on the spot the Capt motored down and quickly hopped up on the poling platform. I got my rod ready as he began to pole down the shoreline. Maybe one hundred feet or so ahead of us, a tail waived glimmering in the fading sunlight. My first thought was a big Red but the Capt quickly pointed out it was a big Black Drum. At about 70 feet the Capt. ordered me to cast and hit him on the head!
My crab fly hit the water with a splat and I allowed it to sink to the bottom. The Capt. then instructed me to strip very slowly and crawl the fly along the bottom. After several strips the fish turned toward the fly and moved on it as my line came tight I set the hook and held on. After a brief 10 minute tug-o-war that left me feeling like I had hooked up to a bulldozer, I had landed my first Bull Black Drum of 28lbs! It wasn't a Redfish but I was still all smiles!
I can guarantee to you the rest of the trip when the Capt said Black Drum I was paying attention now. While I did manage numerous Redfish to 15lbs and my buddy managed an 18lb it was the Black Drum that stole the show! On one memorable afternoon we managed 8 Bull Black Drum from 25lbs to 37lbs with one fish hooked and loss the Capt thought might of pushed 70lbs..... now what was it we were fishing for?
The bottom line is this, while we almost always set out to target a specific species our days are almost always saved by the unexpected! Keep an open mind and be ready to take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves and you're less likely to have a bad day of fishing!
Barry with a 37lb Black Drum
A Nice 15lb Bull Red
Blog content © Barry Reynolds
Fishful Thinker, CO 2/22/2011 1:15:07 PM
Nice! They might not be as pretty as red drum, but black drum do pull hard. CL
ePiC, CO 2/22/2011 1:36:09 PM
Awesome man! I think my arm would fall off trying to fight a 37lb Black drum let alone a possible 70... sounds like a vrey kewl trip.
alanlf5280, CO 2/22/2011 2:01:24 PM
Amazing and nice job! You must have been casting with steel braided line. Care to share what equipment you were using?
Barry Reynolds (BarryReynolds), CO 2/22/2011 2:23:21 PM
Hey alanlf5280 I was using an 8wt fly rod, a weight forward floating line, 7 ft of 40lb hard mono (no steel) and 1/0 Crab Fly.
Chad- amen brother, they do not run fast but they pull hard and never stop! It was like hooking up to a bull dozer, slow and methodical with a never give in attitude :~)
WYO, CO 2/22/2011 2:28:38 PM
That Black Drum looks like the JYD of the Gulf Coast.
FishForAll, CO 2/24/2011 11:52:16 AM
Good advice Barry about keeping an open mind and taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves!