Fishing the Fifty
My Quest to Fish All 50 States
Following years of fun as a kid in the swamps of Florida and my trip-of-a-lifetime fishing experience in Mississippi, I went to Louisiana, the self-proclaimed Sportsman’s Paradise, with exceedingly high hopes. I had never been to New Orleans before either, so I decided to fish in the area and check out the city during my non-fishing time. New Orleans was as lively as advertised, and I took a daytrip to Jean Lafitte for a swamp tour, where I saw many alligators and even got to pet one.
I fished with Tony Grose (backwaterguide.com) out of Hopedale, Louisiana on a windy 83-degree March day. We headed through the maze of the swamp to Black Bay, stopping along the way to try some of Tony’s spots. After a slow morning, Tony found a huge school of redfish (the local name for red drum) and black drum, and I caught fish constantly for about two and a half hours. I caught 13 red drum, most of which were bulls (over 27 inches), with the biggest being 30 inches. I also caught 10 black drum, with the biggest being 22 inches, and two hardhead catfish, a species that I had never caught before. In addition to the excellent fishing, I saw quite a few alligators, and even some dolphins near the marina, which Tony said was a very rare sight.
A lot of thought and math went into determining whether my 30-inch red drum was a Louisiana trophy. If you're interested in the analyses used, please check out part B of question 11 on my Q&A. If you're not interested, the gist of it is that a 30-inch red drum is a trophy in Louisiana.
An overcast day on the marsh
My first black drum; 22 inches, five pounds
A night out in downtown New Orleans
My first Louisiana fish, a 29-inch, 10-pound red drum
My biggest Louisiana fish, a 30-inch, 13-pound red drum
On the Jean Lafitte swamp tour