The good folks along the Gulf Coast just can’t catch a break. Whether it’s a natural disaster the likes of Hurricane Katrina, or a manmade disaster of epic proportions such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, life is getting pretty unbearable down in the Big Easy.
Finally, after losing last year’s season because of the oil spill, everyone in Mississippi and Louisiana was chomping at the bit to get back out and see what sort of life they could find in the Gulf. The fishing in this part of the world is some of the best I’ve ever experienced.
“On a trip several years ago, our group caught 13 species of game fish in three days.”
The back bays throughout the delta team with giant sea trout and red drum. For Gulf Coast fishing the bottomfishing is some of the best in the world, and I’ve never seen a more pronounced color break than the first time I ran out of Southwest Pass. The cobalt-blue, almost purple water offshore smacked right against the muddy, chocolate-colored water flowing out of the delta. We caught tuna, dolphin and wahoo all day, trolling along that color break.
But it seems like every time you turn on the news, Gulf residents are facing some sort of terrible peril. Last year the entire season was pretty much scratched because of the spill. Finally, after a year of fishing closures in various sections of the Gulf, the waters are now completely opened back up and the bite started to go off early.
I saw two great posts in the forums showing signs of life in the Gulf. One crew recently posted a bunch of photos showing a heap of yellowfin they caught on an overnighter out of Grand Isle. New York Knick basketball player Jared Jeffries posted about a trip he and his dad took down to Venice, Louisiana, where they caught 75 trout, two swordfish and a mako in just two days! That’s what fishing in the Gulf is all about, variety and nonstop action. But it looks like Mother Nature has her sights on Louisiana yet again…
On the news last night I watched video of an opened spillway pouring out millions of gallons of water from one of the Mississippi River’s levees. They hadn’t opened this spillway in something like 30 years. I just couldn’t help but think about all the captains I know down in Louisiana. After losing an entire season, these guys were finally in a good place to start running trips again, and now the floods. I figured it was a good time to check in with my buddy Richard Creed who runs boats from Mississippi to Texas through his company, Third Coast Bluewater.
Richard’s been fishing steadily the entire month of May and enjoying the best early season fishing he’s seen since 2007. The Loop Current has pushed blue water less than 20 miles offshore — a great sign since the offshore fishing usually doesn’t get going until June. Richard’s already caught a blue marlin this year, as well as two swords and a handful of yellowfin tuna and dolphin.
“We need a bounce-back season,” Richard said. “If that flood hits us, I’m moving to St. Thomas.”
According to Richard, a lot of the hype you see and hear on the news is just that — hype. But the flooding threat is very real and already happening in many portions of Louisiana. Because Venice is more spread out, any flooding should be less damaging than New Orleans and other portions of the state. I only hope that the floodwaters recede, no more oil spills take place and Mother Nature goes easy on the Third Coast this hurricane season. My fingers are crossed and I plan on getting down to fish an overnighter in the Gulf with Richard later this year — come hell or high water.