Up on wheels in Louisiana.

My man Al from Atlanta just recently returned from a trip to Louisiana to see if he could shake the dust off the ol' 10 weight with redfish and black drum.

I guess he did alright(!):


Al also happens to be a carper of the first order and even came up to fish City with me this summer. City was her usual uncooperative self that day and conditions were less than optimal. Still, we got a few:

Anyway, I was curious about the carp-redfish comparison. Accordingly I bugged the crap out of him asked him a few questions about it. I found his observations very interesting and thought I'd share them:

Carp sight fishing helps in several ways.  I think the biggest is fish spotting.  Redfish are easier to spot because of size and color, but carp experience helps.  Also maintaining stealth such as not shifting weight in the boat, throwing shadow, lining fish, etc., and poling a boat if you're on that end.  Casting and fish fighting skills of course carry over.  The hardest thing about carp fishing to me is strike detection, which is not a problem with gulf coast redfishing.

I only saw a few of the redfish actually tailing.  Also saw a few "crawling" in carp terms.  We used the expression "up on wheels".  Black drum are tougher than redfish.  From what I understand, you need to be right in front of their face, like a carp.  The biggest difference to me was on the hook set.  With carp, you seem to need to anticipate the take.  With redfish, there's little doubt and it's best to wait until the fish turns and just tighten up.  I missed a few in the beginning by yanking the fly out of the fish's mouth.  

I had one other observation this year.  We fish from a lightly loaded john boat to get back into the marsh where other boats - including florida style flat boats used by the fly fishing guides - can't go.  The fish there are aggressive and don't spook easily.  This year at brackish water was unfishable because of a grass die-off and we had to go out to the salt water marsh on the edge of the gulf where there is a pronounced tide and the flats boats and other boats can get into the marsh on higher tides.  The fish there were tough to approach and interest and it reminded me a lot more of carp fishing.  The bull reds and big drum were out on the deeper flats in the gulf and fishing for them had little in common with carp fishing that I have experienced, but perhaps has some correlation with great lakes carp fishing.   Fly fishing for reds on the Atlantic coast frequently is done on full and new moon high tides when the water floods into spartina grass and redfish tail for fiddler or spider crabs.  I think that is very comparable to carp fishing.

Thanks to Al for allowing me to post his comments and photos. Very interesting stuff. "Up on wheels" is my new favorite angling lingo.

Also, I want his boat. Riverhawk B-60. Awesome.