Running of the Bulls

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Come fall, the oppressive humidity of southern Louisiana lets up and it’s possible to breathe again without struggling. The cooler air also means your muscles won’t cramp as easily, which is good news if you decide to go one-on-one with a redfish. Tugging on a 40-pound giant will take all of your strength, even if you fight it in just a few feet of water.

The heat’s retreat brings big, feisty bull reds into the breakers along the Cameron Parish shore. These sandy beaches also might reward anglers with huge speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle or an occasional cobia. Redfish rule the surf, prowling the breakers like a pack of wolves, often entering water only a foot deep. So the good news is you won’t need a boat, just a pair of waders and a sturdy rod.

Most anglers use 12-foot surf rods. Thrust them into homemade PVC rod holders stuck into the ground to keep rods above sand or salt water as you wait for a strike. (Tip your 25-pound-test line with 40-pound-test leader and attach an 11/0 or 12/0 hook.) Above the hook, secure a spiderlike grappling weight.

Redfish eat almost anything, but they share a particular craving with the locals: They like greasy food. Oily mullet, menhaden, shrimp and crabs all work. When using cut bait, be sure to douse it with menhaden oil.

Anglers will fish the beaches all year long, but their best success is in early spring or fall. For more area information, call the Southwest Louisiana Conventions and Visitors Bureau. (800-456-7952) –John N. Felsher