Marsh Madness 2016
Each year for many years a pilgrimage of sorts has taken place. A gathering of outdoor writers and outdoor companies who congregate in the Marshes of Louisana for some good-natured madness.
To pull this event off it takes a great team and the sponsors and volunteers in attendance went all out to bring their expertise to the group.
Skeeter has been making fine boats for many years and they have a solid hold on the inshore/bay boat market in Louisiana and more. They brought one of their latest creations the “Bold” version of a 23-foot Skeeter. Skeeter offers a variety of “Bold” color schemes as well as more traditional ones.
The crew from Front 2 Back Boat Service provided some amazing food in a twist on a Cajun Classic. They took a quick break from cooking for the flood victims to feed us, but then back to the rescue effort.
Sunup and Ready
A sunrise to remember as we prepared to launch Captain Billy Wallbaum‘s Skeeter into the Louisiana marsh. Capt. Billy is an integral part of Paradise Plus Guide Service in Buras, LA.
While the inshore fishing in Louisiana’s Gulf waters is not typically known for being clear, this day we were shocked to be able to see the bottom in four feet of water. Redfish were cruising the shoreline hunting for any morsel to slurp.
True sightfishing is a rare treat for Louisiana anglers and the perfect opportunity to test out the new Wiley X green-mirrored lenses. Seeing is believing, and I could see them all.
The reds could be seen cruising right against the bank or in the trough along the beaches. Once spotted, we fired in a Mustad Bullet jighead armed with a Z-Man Minnowz in their new Purple Demon color. It was pounced on by the passing reds.
First Time Charm
A fairytale story about Brandon Butler from the Conservation Federation of Missouri. While an avid angler of the freshwater scene, Brandon had never fished like this. His first fish was a 41-inch bull red. The bar is set high now.
The Next Day
Our Cinderella story continues with Brandon’s first trip to the deep. His first offshore fish was a yellowfin tuna that tipped the scale at 211-pounds and set the new boat record for the year. Brandon came in and bought a lotto ticket, but the streak had ended. Congrats man.
Change of Weather
The next day the winds had shifted and the water was back to Mississippi mud, but luckily we were fishing with Capt. Mike Frenette of Redfish Lodge of Louisiana. Capt. Mike is a long-time guide and tournament pro with countless days of fishing to his credit. Check out his redfish tower!
Bird’s Eye View
Capt. Mike’s custom inshore tower gave St. Croix‘s Jesse Simpkins and me an amazing vantage point. We cruised the wind-chopped bay searching for the glow of a giant school of bull reds that had been in the area.
Back to Basics
St. Croix Inshore
Jesse put the smack down on this cajun redfish with the new St. Croix Avid Series Inshore rod. Seaguar’s Smackdown braided line lived up to its name as well as their amazing fluorocarbon leaders. The new landing nets from Frabil/Plano are the answer for safely landing these inshore giants. The rubber mesh saves the fish too!
Taming the Bull
You just have to see them to believe how big, fat and aggressive these big bull redfish are in Louisiana. Thanks to Capt. Mike for putting us on the fish.
Cajun Red Carpet
Back at Capt. Mike’s Redfish Lodge, the stage was set for a serious Cajun feast. Onions… check, garlic… check, 200-plus pounds of Louisiana shrimp… CHECK!
Can you smell that? Now that’s a cooker!
Boatload of Shrimp
Don’t hate us. A true cajun throw down of great seafood, corn and potatoes served with Southern hospitality.
I can’t forget to mention the sandwich conga line each morning made with loving care from Marsh Madness veteran Clyde Pritchard and his crew. He had his smoker going long before the fun started.
Back to Work
Louisiana is such a unique place, there is no equal to its mix of industry and nature. We could feel the heat from these gas-burn-offs on our way to the SW Pass.
The last day found most of the “Madness” fleet fishing at Southwest Pass along the rocks. Plugging the jetty rocks of the pass was good for Mustad‘s Steve Tagami who put on a redfish clinic.
So much credit for the success of the event has to be given to Eric Cosby of Top Brass Tackle. He has been the backbone of the event and the Top Brass Super Spike Premium Jighead was a highlight too. The “super spike” did great holding soft plastics in place fish after fish.
The Z-Man Chatterbait is the ideal lure for sending out vibration in dirty water to give the fish all it needs to find your bait. A variety of presentations are possible with the addition of skirts and tails.
Follow the Rattle
Mark Fisher, a long time Marsh Madness insider, along with Ken Sherman hoist this big bull for a quick picture. These big reds could not resist the classic action of the Rat-L-Trap lures along the rocks and in the marsh. The steady vibration and rattle gives the fish something to track down in the dirty water.
BD’s own Mike Bohn shows off some of Louisiana’s finest. Mike was in on the creation of Marsh Madness so many years ago and is a veteran of the event.
I’m afraid this gator had no fear and chased us down looking for a hand out; or a foot.
Coming to a Close
As the sun set on another amazing trip to Louisiana, I wanted to give thanks to all the sponsors who made my first Marsh Madness a great one. While not all those involved had a lure hanging out of a fish, their contributions were equally important. Compass 360 is a rising star in the wader and apparel realm. Quality is their mantra and their products follow suit. Stanley, longtime makers of insulated food and drink containers, was and integral part of a very important part of fishing; hot coffee in the morning. Let’s not forget Realtree who is number one in things they do not see. If you get a chance to try any of these products, you will not be disappointed.