The Redfish are Running at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge [PHOTOS]
The redfish are running right now at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge!
It's getting to that time of the year when the weather cools off enough for a day outside to be bearable. It's also getting to be a time of the year when the redfish are hungry.
I have made a few trips to Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in Creole, Louisiana over the past month and a half. On each of those trips, I have landed several large redfish. So large that, by law, most of those trips I could only bring 1 home (each angler can only keep one above 27").
So large right now that I caught my personal best last week: 42".
But it's not always about bringing something home: fishing for reds, for some, is all about the fight. When you hook a 37-inch redfish on a fast-action rod with 15lb test monofilament line, things get interesting.
With a heavier rod and reel, and a heavier fishing line, you can manhandle a large fish more than with lighter tackle; when you use lighter tackle, you have to finesse the fish, predict its moves, and know when to let it run some. That is what makes catching big reds so fun!
As for what they are hitting on: it varies. I was catching well on cracked crab whole mullet and had no hits on cut mullet. The guy next to me was catching well on cut mullet but not cracked crab. We were 30 feet away from each other, fishing in the same canal, yet our experiences were so different.
We were both having luck on fresh shrimp, but it was tough to keep one on your hook long enough for the reds to find it, as the crabs and drum and croakers usually found it first.
Of course, Rockefeller isn't all about redfish: the group of men next to me from New Iberia yesterday caught 3 flounder and several black drum. And then there are the crabs.
We spoke with at least 3 families that were driving out before noon with their limit of crabs for the day. The limit? 144. One couple told me they caught that many in about 2 hours!
In addition to the crabs, there was plenty of shrimp to be had via cast net. The shrimp aren't large right now, but they are perfect for bait and for a stew or for drying.
Even if you are not into crabbing and fishing, Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge is a destination for nature lovers.
The beauty of South Louisiana is obvious at Rockefeller, from the landscape to the wildlife, like the alligators sunning themselves on the bank in the photo above.
The area is particularly beautiful at sunrise and sunset.
If you are wondering why my foot is in each photo of the redfish, I have a funny answer for you: my girlfriend.
She grew up fishing, but it was mostly fresh water fishing. Bass, crappie, bluegill - nothing really big. When I tell her that I caught a 27-inch redfish or a 30-inch drum, she can't picture the size in her head, so she asks me to put my foot in the picture for reference. (And that, my friends, is Shannon, in a nutshell.)
Happy fishing, y'all!