Louisiana Redfish Fly Fishing: The Best Flies and More

June 3, 2020

Louisiana Redfish Fly Fishing: The Best Flies and More

Redfish are a ton of fun to catch on all types of tackle in Lousiana. Redfish love coming inshore and hunting for food in the southern marshes. This means they can often be sight fished and presented numerous kinds of bait. We’ve covered our favorite redfish lures, the best spinning rods for redfish as well as the best reels for redfish, but what about fly fishing for redfish in Louisiana? You’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about fly fishing for redfish in Louisiana. We’ll first do a quick reminder of what redfish are, then dive into the fly fishing specifics. What kind of fly fishing tackle you should use for redfish in Louisiana, where to fly fish for redfish in Louisiana – we’re going to cover it all. Let’s get started!


What Are Redfish?

Redfish (also called red drum) are a saltwater sports fish found on the east coast of North America from New England to the Gulf of Mexico. They are red/orange and brown in color and have a black dot on their tail. The dot is believed to be an adaption similar to a snakehead’s dot; a distraction aimed towards tricking predators into biting their tail instead of their head. 

Redfish are called red drum because they make an audible drumming sound during their mating season. The sound is created by vibrating their swim bladders in the water surrounding them. It’s believed they make the drumming sound to attract a suitable mate.

Redfish often grow up to 50 lbs. The record redfish weighed in at 94 lbs! Redfish enjoy a diet of small fish like mullet, sardines, and shad, as well as crustaceans. When it comes to fly fishing in Louisiana for redfish, your best bet is to try and imitate these animals.

Fly Fishing Tackle for Redfish

If you’re fishing for redfish under 15 lbs, most standard fly fishing setups will work. Redfish are strong and will put constant pressure on the line, but they don’t tend to make long runs. Most redfish in Louisiana are caught in shallow water which also limits how much they can fight.

For Louisiana redfish bigger than 15 lbs, we recommend using an 8 or 9 foot fly rod paired with any brand of saltwater fly reel. Spool your reel with a weight-forward floating line and a 9 to 12 foot leader. The butt section should be at least 40 lbs tapering to a 15 or 20 lb tippet. 

If the forecast calls for wind where you’re going to fly fish, you should size up to a larger rod. This will give you more control over your fly presentation.

It’s also worth noting that you will need to purchase a Louisiana fishing license. The basic license costs $23 for residents and $60 for non-residents. This includes the saltwater fishing expansion. If you’re going with a guide, you’ll only need to buy a charter passenger license (which is $10).


The Best Redfish Flies

There are many different fly patterns that work well for Louisiana redfish fly fishing. Most are at least 3 inches long, have bead eyes, and are white, brown, or chartreuse. If you want to go for larger bull redfish, bump your size up to 5 or 6 inch flies. Our favorites are listed below.

  • Clouser Minnow on a 1/0 hook.
  • Deceiver Minnow on a 2/0 hook.
  • Tim Borski’s Chernobyl shrimp in brown or white a 1/0 hook.
  • Wooly Bugger on a 1/0 hook.

How to Present Your Fly

Once you’ve spotted redfish finning or feeding, cast your fly in front of where they’re swimming. They don’t have the best eyesight so pace your fly directly in front of them. They won’t chase a fly down that is cast too far away from them. Your goal is to annoy them into biting.

Once you get in position, the action you apply to it is up to you. We’ve seen success stripping the fly in quick 6-inch bursts as well as a more steady retrieval. When you see them strike, use your index finger to apply pressure to the line against your rod. This will set the hook and the fight is on! As always, once you find a retrieval action that the redfish like, repeat it.


When to Fly Fish for Redfish in Louisiana

In general, during fall and spring is the best time to fly fish for redfish in Louisiana. This coincides with the redfish mating season and is the time of year when they’re the most aggressive. It’s also when the weather tends to cooperate the most. We like to go from September to December and from March until May. This being said, you can catch 10 to 15 lb redfish in the Mississippi delta year-round. So don’t worry if your trip coincides with an “off-season” time.

Where to Fly Fish for Redfish in Louisiana

There are many places in Louisana that are great for redfish fly fishing. Here are the places we recommend checking out. It’s worth noting that having access to a boat increases your redfish fly fishing range and capability significantly. Ask a friend, rent, buy a fishing kayak, or get a guide!

  1. Hopedale: Hopedale is a quick 45-minute drive from New Orleans and has miles of redfish full marshes. Start at the Breton Sounds Marina and explore the Biloxi Marsh at your own pace. You can also ask the local marina workers where they like to fly fish for advice.
  2. Venice: Venice is super well known for Louisiana redfish fly fishing. This means it can get crowded during peak season, but it’s still a great place to fish. Venice is at the southern tip of Louisiana and has two marinas. We recommend using Cypress Cove over the main marina. 
  3. Port Sulphur: Port Sulphur is in between Hopedale and Venice and has a budget lodge where many guides launch from. Another great option for redfish fly fishing if the other two locations don’t do it for you.
  4. Houma: This is the most obscure redfish fly fishing location on our list, but is a great place to check out during peak season. You find the crowds in Houma like you will in Venice or Hopedale. It’s about an hour’s drive from New Orleans.

Conclusion

Fly fishing for redfish in Louisiana is as good as it gets. The redfish grow just as big as they do in Florida, but you won’t encounter the same crowds. There are also tons of redfish fly fishing guides and outfitters in the area to help beginners and veterans alike. We hope when you finally pull the trigger on fly fishing in Louisiana, this article will help you land a bull redfish on the fly. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Happy Hunting!

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