Pamplona is not the only place in the world you can experience the running of the bulls. Now what I am referring to has nothing to do with the bulls of Spain; however, it is still the experience of a lifetime!
The southern Gulf Coast has some of the best inshore sportfishing in the world and one of the most sought after species is the Bull Redfish. My home, the Louisiana Gulf Coast, from the Cities of Slidell to Lake Charles and everywhere in between is a Mecca for what I refer to as the “Running of the Bulls”. There are hundreds of guide services and outfitters that are ready to take you out and target this species in any way that you like.
Redfish can be caught year round. Usually, where you find one you will find many. In most cases, schools of hundreds or even thousands of fish can be found working flats and sand bars following masses of bait. The slot for legal redfish in Louisiana is 16” to 27”, with a 5 fish limit per angler. Any fish exceeding the 27” maximum is considered a Bull and you are only allowed one of them in your limit.
It doesn’t take a professional angler to target this species. There are numerous techniques and methods to catch these monsters. Redfish are extremely aggressive predatory fish, feeding on all types of small baitfish and crustaceans. Their aggressive and curious nature makes them a sought after target for local guides, not to mention that they make high quality table fare.
Some of my favorite methods to catch Bulls are top-water plugs, sight casting jigs and on a fly rod. I recently had the opportunity to host Captain Jimmy Nelson from Extreme Fishing Adventures. I was fresh off of a couple of tournament wins and I had a great feel for where the “Running of the Bulls” was going on!
We began our adventure by departing Venice, Louisiana via Venice Marina. This region is a particular favorite of mine due to the vast prolific brackish water estuaries that the Mississippi River delta produces. The vast area of fishable waters, high volumes of bait and large numbers of quality fish makes it a stop I recommend for any thrill seeking angler.
This was Captain Jimmy’s second time fishing with me in the past two years. Our first trip was a success and a great show, but we were not able to land that true trophy Bull in the 45 – 50 pound class. This year, I was prepared for everything. We started our first day on a large tidal flight tucked back against the Roso Canes. On this trip, we decided to target the Bulls using Yo-Zuri 3D poppers and Salt life jigs. Unlike the previous year, I made sure Captain Jimmy brought enough plugs to get us through the day.
On our previous trip, several of the Bulls were so large that they literally pulled the hooks of the plugs we were throwing. Because of this our bait of choice was the Yo-Zuri Sashimi and 3D Poppers. This is a plug that is widely used for offshore species like Tuna and Dolphin/Mahi. We used this plug with great success and no failure. Upon arrival to our first spot, the tide was perfect and the Bulls were running. There were bait ball explosions all around us. Jimmy made a long cast and soon after he started working the plug with its chugging action, a 30+ lb. Bull “greyhounded” on it. I wasn’t far behind and I doubled him up. What a great way to start the day, a double totaling well over 50 pounds of fish. The day continued as it started and we managed to catch close to one hundred fish in two days, easily going over 2000 lb. in total weight. We had several fish in the 40 lb. class and even managed to catch one of my personal bests, a 53 pounder. I can’t say that every trip is like, this there are always variables involved, however, even if you just get to catch one of these monsters it is a trip to remember.
If you have any interest in experiencing the Gulf Coast “Running of the Bulls” contact me, Captain Sean O’Connell or my partner, Captain Eddie Adams at www.LouisianaRedfishMasters.com.
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