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Escape from the Great Lakes: Marsh Madness Redfish Wrangling

If you like the sound a drag makes when a fish heads for the horizon, I would like to suggest a vacation to Venice, Louisiana and redfish fishing.

Venice is less than two hours out of New Orleans, which is where I flew in to the last day of September this year. You might be surprised at how cheap flights are into that great city. Next year, though, I’m planning to drive down so I can bring a couple coolers full of seafood back with me!

I was there on a writers’ junket put together by Eric Cosby of Top Brass Tackle, who has enlisted a long and impressive bunch of supporters for the program. It all started about 15 years ago when Eric and his brother Artie invited me down to fish with California bass fishing legend Don Iovino, known then for his finesse fishing. Since then it has grown with more industry people and more writers and more good ol‘ boys with bass boats just about every year. Now, more than 50 people are involved and the project has become known as Marsh Madness. After a long absence because of various conflicts with work and bird hunting camps, I was privileged to be invited back this year.

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SEAN WHEATLEY OF PLANO MOLDING WITH THE 'MONEY' FISH

And what fun we had!

First day was delayed by rain—really ugly rain—so I didn’t get out with Paul Rossi, who is a rep for Skeeter Boats, and Sean Wheatley from Plano Molding (the tacklebox people) until early afternoon. The rain had muddied up the waters and made fishing tough. I not only lost a dollar to Sean, who caught the first fish, I missed every bite I felt. Paul got in the groove and caught several, but while I was disappointed by not ripping any lips, I really enjoyed being out in the marsh, seeing all kinds of wildlife, from nutria, the biggest rodent on the planet (basically springer spaniel-sized guinea pigs) to Roseate spoonbills, a beautiful pink bird. Add in soaring flocks of stately man-o-wars above, an osprey carrying a fish like a torpedo and huge numbers of white egrets in bushes, and it’s an experience that doesn’t need the added value of catching a fish to enjoy.

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SKEETER BOATS REP PAUL ROSSI WITH A NICE RED.

So what’s the redfish fishing series doing on GreatLakesFisherman.com? I’ve got a point to make about how “fixing” the Louisiana marsh from hurricanes Katrina and Isaac as well as the BP oil disaster parallels the Great Lakes. Plus, if you like the sound of a singing drag, you really have to experience fishing down there!

Next post: Whacking jacks, reds and flounders.

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