Redfish on a Fly Rod Beats Cold Weather Back Home

Submitted Photo
Kevin Morlock searches for redfish in the marsh on the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana.

By BRANDON BUTLER
bbutler@driftwoodoutdoors.com

The brutal cold snap a couple of weeks ago was the final straw. After years of turning down invitations from my good friend Kevin Morlock to join him on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana for a few days of fly fishing for redfish, I hopped on a commercial plane for the first time in a year and headed to New Orleans. A short drive later, I was watching the sunset while sitting on a dock of the bay eating fresh, roasted oysters.

When friends ask what fishing for “reds” is all about, I tell them it’s like tangling with 10-to-30 pound smallmouth. They fight like freight trains. The fishing takes place around scenery hard to explain.

If you’ve never experienced the marsh in the Gulf of Mexico, you can’t imagine the vastness.

It’s endless chucks of land scattered throughout shallow water. Dolphins porpoise all around you, and there are countless species of birds to watch that you’ve likely never seen before. But the redfish remain the star of the show.

Of all my friends, Kevin Morlock has life figured out. At least for him. “Know thyself” is an Ancient Greek aphorism holding true to this day. Morlock knows himself. He’s hands down one of the best fisherman I have ever known. The reason being, he’s one of the most intelligent fishermen I’ve ever known. He studies the fish and the fisheries where he outfits. He works to improve those fisheries and environments. And he outfits where he wants to be, when he wants to be there.

Morlock has been guiding salmon and steelhead anglers on Western Michigan’s Pere Marquette River for more than 20 years. Over the last decade, he’s turned little known Beaver Island in Northern Lake Michigan into perhaps the top fly fishing destination in the world for carp. Now, he’s making a name for himself guiding fly anglers for reds in Louisiana. So, he spends spring and fall in West Michigan, summer on a quaint remote island in the Great Lakes and winters on the Gulf of Mexico.

It leaves you scratching your head wondering how he got it so right, while the rest of on the more “normal” path dream of being him.

For those in the know, fly fishing is an exciting and challenging method of pursing just about any species of fish. Way too many folks think fly fishing is reserved for trout in mountainous terrain. That’s simply a misconception painted by literary works turned into romanticized Hollywood productions. The fact of the matter is, fly fishing is just as productive and fun for bluegills as it is for trout. It’s even more fun when you tangle with fish that fight back. Nothing I’ve ever caught on a fly fights back as hard as a redfish.

Once you have experienced redfish in the marsh, it’s tough imagine not going back every year. The sunrise boat rides flying through narrow passages, the camaraderie amongst anglers, the Cajun culture, and the sound of a screaming drag as a redfish rips line as you do your best to weather the storm. These are just a few of the reason why a redfish trip to the Gulf Coast of Louisiana is a good idea. Booking Kevin Morlock as your guide is a great idea.

If you want to learn more about Kevin and hear him talk about fishing in his own words, I recently recorded a podcast with him. It’s episode 62 of the Driftwood Outdoors Podcast, which you can find on all podcasting platforms or at www.driftwoodoutdoors.com. To reach out to Kevin, look him up through his website, www.indigoguideservice.com.

See you down the trail…




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