Summertime In The Marsh, The Other ‘Peak’ Season by Capt Greg Moon & Capt Bailey Short
Nights in New Orleans, great music, even better food… what more can you ask for from the great state of Louisiana? The test of a diverse fishery, of course.
I personally have enjoyed the challenge of fishing these waters and if you venture south you too will find the experience up there with any of your favorite trips. But you won’t see Louisiana to its full potential without experienced guides like Capt Greg Moon or Capt Bailey Short, both long-time friends of Hatch.
– Danny Ashcraft –
WHO ARE CAPT GREG MOON AND CAPT BAILEY SHORT?
Captain Greg Moon and Captain Bailey Short are year-round Louisiana fly fishing guides. They specialize in fishing the broad spectrum of conditions LA throws at you and producing trophy-class fish. Captain Bailey is born and raised in LA and has grown up fishing these waters his whole life. Captain Greg has been guiding in Louisiana for over a decade. As full-time year-round guides, the sheer amount of time spent on the water has enabled them to push the envelope of Louisiana as a year-round fishing destination. They both love chasing not just big redfish, but the incredible diversity of species in Louisiana. This is why for them, Summertime in Louisiana is up there with the best!
1: What makes the summer your favorite season for fly fishing in LA?
Capt Greg Moon: CONSISTENCY! As fly anglers we need specific conditions to achieve success on the water. Summertime offers the most consistent weather, water temps, and fish predictability. This leads to increased odds of a successful outing each day on the water.
Capt Bailey Short: Why I love the summertime is species diversity. In the summer, we have more species of fish that can be caught on fly in the marsh than any other time. From giant bull Redfish and Blackdrum, to seasonal visitors like Jacks and Tripletail (just to name a few), Louisiana really has so much opportunity in the summer and you really never know what you might see any given day out there.
2: Lets talk redfish, why is the summer so productive?
Capt Bailey: Well, one major reason would be water temps. These fish like warm water, they are most active when the water temps are at least above 70 degrees. In summer, this is obviously not a problem. What you end up seeing because of this is increased fish activity, fish are blowing bait up on top, aggressively feeding, all the kinds of behavior that redfish are famous for. Another benefit of the ideal temperatures is the influx of food for our fish this time of year, the marsh is absolutely overflowing with bait and the fish are chowing down.
Capt Greg: My favorite part of fishing LA in the summer is every day you head out you rarely see another skiff. There’s just not many people doing what we are doing everyday out here in the summer. What this translates to is trophy class fish behaving in ways you just don’t see in more heavily fished seasons. The picturesque image of a Louisiana Redfish is a super happy, tail out of the water tank of a fish, feeding with no regard to her surroundings. This is something you encounter more often on a quiet summer morning when no one has disturbed these fish.
3: What kind of fishing should you expect in the summertime?
Capt Greg: One cool component of summer fishing is that you really do see fish behaving In a huge variety of ways. Running up on a school of busting reds in open water is definitely one of the most exciting ways to catch these fish. Big rods, topwater flies and aggressive casting is a must. You have to be ready for chaos to erupt on any side of the boat and get a fly in quick. Once you do, get ready, as a big fish is likely to annihilate your fly. We love hunting these large transient schools of the summer in the heat of the day as we stay cool and get to target hyper-aggressive fish. Often times you can also find big jacks in these schools which is easily the hardest pulling fish in our marsh.
Capt Bailey: Another situation commonly found in summertime fishing is the technical and rewarding shallow water stalking of trophy redfish. We get some of our biggest redfish in the summertime, and they like to get skinny! You will see huge solitary females, often times with their backs and tail out of the water in our marsh this time of year. Feeding these fish requires the perfect cast and a stealthy presentation to secure the eat. This is something that some of our most seasoned clients continue to come back for because you really have to be on the ball to catch these big fish and the reward is immense. In addition to big reds, there’s no better time to catch black drum that can top 50lbs.
4: What gear should you bring for summer fishing?
Both: Our main workhorse in the summer is a 10 wt. rod with the Hatch Finatic 9 plus reel. We use the 10wt the most because of the versatility. From massive topwater poppers to heavy crab patterns we need to be able to switch flies at a moments notice any given day and this setup allows for us to do that. Recently, we have added 11-12 wts to the arsenal with Hatch 11 plus reels for the stopping power we need in the big, deep water school fishing for Reds and Jacks. For leaders, we prefer Hatch Flourocarbon in the 30-60lb range depending on what we are doing. We usually use a shorter leader (7ft.) for turning over a heavy fly and for the inevitable super close to the boat shot.
As always, a couple must-haves on the boat: Good Raingear (tops and bottoms), Light, breathable and protective clothing (long sleeves and pants), Comfortable SHOES (no sandals) – We stress body coverage because summertime can bring nagging biting bugs that won’t be an issue if you cover up. Polarized glasses are a must and the right lens is just as important. Our favorite is the Smith Ignitor lens but a copper/brown lens of your favorite brand is necessary.