On December 26th, 7 anglers and I met up at the New Orleans airport to kick off our inaugural Winter Break Redfish Expedition. With all the crazy cancelations plaguing airlines, it is somewhat miraculous we all made it without much delay. It was after dark when we left the airport, and the lights of civilization faded quickly as we drove south to our basecamp in the heart of Bull Red country for 3 days of flats fishing with our guides.
The head guide and inspiration for the trip was Hudson McEntire. I first met Hudson as a participant on our first-ever NC trip. His mom called to sign up Hudson and a friend who "could catch fish in a mud puddle." A lot has changed in the 10+ years, but Hudson is still one of the fishiest dudes anywhere he goes. After guiding for LFFE and then for a lodge in Montana, Hudson chased a love for fishing too much bigger and saltier puddles. He now works on a fishing boat out of Florida during the summer, and he set up a guiding business with friends for Redfish in Louisiana during the winter. He has been trying to get a group of LFFE anglers down there to fish with him for a few years, and we were all happy to finally make that happen.
The weather report seemed like it was getting worse by the hour in the days leading up to our trip. Days that looked perfect with low wind, colder temps, and sun were quickly turning to uncharacteristically hot, windy, rainy, and cloudy. In the end, the weather was warm, and the wind was a factor, but things could have been much worse. We fished three full days - it never rained while we were on the water. The fish were not super shallow, but shallow enough, and the clouds even broke for periods of decent visibility. Fish were caught every day, and everyone landed big bull reds throughout the trip. A total success when you weigh the possible outcomes of a saltwater trip planned months in advance.
The fishing was awesome, but it was the great group that made the trip. We switched up partners on the boats daily, and everyone got along great. After another school year full of COVID challenges, it was obvious that everyone had been looking forward to this trip for a long time. It is amazing what three days on the water with some friends, new and old, can do for your mental health. On the final night of the trip, we made a giant shrimp boil and hung around reliving stories from the trip. The only complaint was that it was coming to an end.