If you are going to fly fish New Orleans for redfish, make it an adventure.
Just this past weekend, my girlfriend and I took a trip to New Orleans. It wasn't for the food and many attractions, but to fly fish for redfish. For just an hour drive to the Biloxi Marsh, the benefit of staying in New Orleans far outweighed the disadvantage of the distance to the boat. If you are looking for an amazing getaway for a long weekend, make a trip to fly fish New Orleans for redfish. It's a trip you'll want to do again and again.
Plane flights right now are cheap. The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but perhaps none have felt it like the airline industry. Depending on where you live, you can get round trip plane tickets for under $100 from most airlines to many major cities. From where we live in Indy, it worked out for us that way. This in part is what made our decision for us when we found how low cost it was for us to get to Louisiana.
New Orleans is one old city and the French influence is undeniable. Just like with airlines, you can get hotels at extreme discounts right now. Even when the pandemic is over, deals will still exist and renting a room a little higher scale than you are used to getting is what New Orleans is all about. For our first night in the city, we stayed at the Omni Royal. For just over $100 a night, this hotel normally runs $2-300 every night of the week. Located right in the middle of the French Quarter, we were able to watch the chaos of Bourbon Street right from our balcony. We did take a stroll down that famous street, but to say it wasn't for us is an understatement.
The Omni was incredible. The service was top notch, the rooms were high scale, and the feel felt like New Orleans. For the rest of our five day stay though, we went to the Loews. This modern high-rise hotel gave us a en entire view of the city. Again, priced in the $100 a night range for a deluxe king room, it was very hard to turn down.
Fly Fishing Guides
Through the power of Instagram, we connected with Colten Holschuh, owner and operator of Tailed Reds. He is the man who recommend that if we were going to fly fish New Orleans for redfish, we needed to stay in the city, just for the experience. Colten is a very kind, patient, and incredibly experienced redfish guide. For the two days we fished together, he gave us multiple opportunities at abundant big reds.
For less than the cost of most New Orleans fly fishing guides, fishing with Capt. Colt is pretty much a steal. He knows the Biloxi Marsh better than most, knew where reds were going to be posted up before we even got to them, and even put me on a huge alligator gar. My 9wt wasn't much contest for it so unfortunately, it came unhooked. The adrenaline surge that fish provided makes me want another shot. If we ever plan another trip to fly fish New Orleans for redfish, Tailed Reds will be the only service we use.
Perhaps the part of this trip we were most excited about was the food. We couldn't wait to find all the places ranked as the best Cajun or Creole stops in the city. Unfortunately, most of the places we wanted to stop at were closed due to the pandemic. Some that were open had lines out of the door due to restrictions. This is where we got creative. Through asking bartenders, people on the street, and even one hotel valet, we found Ernst Cafe. We ate here twice and were blown away each time. It's located in the Warehouse District of the city and you'll quickly find this is the place where the locals eat. Most beers are $1.00 and the food was the best we found.
Speaking of the food though, most everywhere you go, you're going to find something incredible to eat. We also throughly enjoyed the Creole House as well as Mothers, another "locals only" spot. Jumbalaya, crawfish etouffe, and fresh oysters are on every menu. If you find yourself at one of the above mentioned places to eat, you can't go wrong with any of those choices.
Sites to See
Even though we went to fly fish New Orleans for redfish, there were other hours in the day when we weren't fishing, eating, and sleeping in our hotels. The WWII museum was something we found incredible. The history can be felt with every exhibit and the artifacts from the war on display bring life to the museum that you feel in your chest. The sheer number of people that enter this multi-block museum speaks for itself. You would need an entire dedicated day to see the whole thing.
In the French Quarter, history was everywhere and the French influence in the architecture and design is seen on every building. I'd recommend walking the streets of the French Quarter in the morning. As the day drags on, party goers, street performers, and a rougher element begin to make their presence felt. By the time it got dark out, that area of the city was nothing we wanted to be a part of.
We also spent some time in the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. We walked paths through swamps and canals that housed alligators and all the wildlife you'd expect to see in the marshes of Louisiana. You are on your own out there so be prepared. There are no fences or barriers to protect you from gators. It was pretty cool though to be so alone in their environment.
You can probably tell we loved our trip. If you have the time and some extra cash on hand, this is something that is very easy to do right now during the pandemic. We felt the flights were safe and New Orleans took masks and social distancing very seriously. It's a trip we might try to make an annual thing. At least we know the redfish will still be there waiting.