<
>

Big reds chewing!

Travis Holeman and a fine specimen. Capt. Bryan "Bear" Holeman

Sorry I've been out for a while, I've been holed up in the boonies south of New Orleans for the past few weeks whacking on some monster reds (20 pounds-plus) with my brother, Travis. It could've been better, though. We needed a good hard cold spell to really push them shallow. Anywho, times have been pretty frantic and they don't show any signs of slowing up.

I'm on the road right now to the Everglades to do some filming with some of the local boys down there. The word is that there are some 20-plus pound snook roaming around in the canals there, but we'll see. I'll get back to you on that next week or so. If we get some good clear weather, it should be on.

After that, it's back home to Key West and an anxious girlfriend. I actually missed her for Thanksgiving — again. Sorry! I'll be there for a week or so, fish a bit then it's back to New Orleans, then back for Christmas.

Oh, I saw one of the biggest reds I've seen in five or six years. It went 50 inches, easy. I swear it had shoulders and hair on its back. Its pectoral fins were as big as my hand. Of course, the guy I was fishing with got the leader wrapped around the rod tip as this sea monster swam by us (it was close enough to grab), so it's just another fish story.

Let's look at how things are playing out in south Louisiana.

Bear's what's working where: North Gulf Coast
Redfish are in everyone's crosshairs, and if they're not, they need to be because they're big, hungry and dumb along the north Gulf coast. They're not like those finicky Cracker reds down in Florida. And they're in some skinny (2- to 3-feet deep) water this time of year.

Reds like warm water, but won't move too terribly far to find it. Rather than migrate the length of the Gulf coast, they'll move inshore to shallows of the flats where the sun heats the water quicker. It's like making a small pot of water boil versus a large one, the smaller one boils quicker.

We've been throwing flies at them, but I usually go for a baitcasting outfit if I'm around some bruisers. The flies that we've been throwing are larger mullet patterns on an 8- or 10-weight Loop fly outfit. The new Loop stuff is great. It's light and strong. You think you're fishing with a smaller reel than you are. Anyhow, the fish up there are looking for clean water. You always hear of monster fish being caught, and if you're just hearing rather than telling it's because you're not fishing clean water. You need to move a lot and find it as the wind has been blowing frequently which messes with the clarity. It's harder some days than others.

Stick to those 2- and 3-foot depths in clear water and you'll find some reds for sure. If you're into spinning or casting gear, it's hard to beat a Gulp! shrimp.

Editor's note: Capt. Bryan Holeman is a competitor on the Redfish Cup, and guides out of Key West, Fla. Known affectionately as "Bear," Holeman and his clients enjoy year-round success on the flats surrounding Key West, making his insight to flats fishing invaluable to anglers everywhere. Bear's goal with his blog is to inform, inspire and entertain with weekly updates detailing his activities, be it guiding or tales from the RFC tournament trail.