First, we were blessed to have had a quiet hurricane season. Despite a late season scare from Tropical Storm Karen, which had no significant impact at all, things were very quiet this year. As a result, our barrier islands and marshes have continued to repair and rejuvenate. I am continually amazed at the ability of our coastal ecosystem to bounce back from the effects of tropical insults. We were able to run Chandeleur Islands trips most of November. The fishing at the Islands remained solid thru the fall and only ended due to the weather when a series of early strong cold fronts passed thru the region.
While our Chandeleur season has ended, our fall/winter marsh fishing and coastal waterfowl seasons are in high gear. We are really off to a great start! Our marshes are simply full of redfish and speckled trout this year and the fishing has been on fire! From our marsh dock base, limits of fish are the rule, not the exception. Remember our motto: “You don’t have to go far when you are already there.” There are still open dates available to come experience some of the best light tackle fishing in one of America’s premier fisheries – the Biloxi Marsh.
We are also experiencing a great start to what looks to be an exceptional gunning season for waterfowl. Despite extremely high tides exaggerated by relentless east winds which spread our birds out into smaller potholes and what in general appears to be a late migration, a series of early, strong cold fronts have kept new birds coming into our marsh. Our harvest numbers have been good with limits or near limits the rule averaging about 5 ducks per hunter effort (Louisiana has a 6 duck/hunter/day limit). Our harvest has primarily consisted of gadwalls and teal but has included mallards, widgeon, mottle ducks, scaup, redheads, pintail and hooded mergansers. Our first split closes December 1 and the second split is December 14 – January 19 and I think our second split will shape up to be exceptional. With a 2 week break, our marshes should fill up with new birds as each cold front passes. As I mentioned in the last Chronicles, our marshes are in great shape with lots of vegetation and should hold birds all season. It’s not too late to book a cast and blast trip as we still have some open dates in late December and into January.
Finally, out fly fisherman are experiencing excellent fishing this fall hampered only by weather. Small to medium size redfish (5-20 lbs.) are literally everywhere in the marsh. Larger redfish (20-35 lbs.) are being caught routinely and a chance at a record fish on the fly is clearly a possibility on every trip. We continue to work with the best guides in the area including Gregg Arnold, Rocky Thickstun, Jason Rucker, Al Keller, Travis Huckaby and Greg Moon to put our clients on the fish and to offer an exceptional outdoor adventure and experience.
Call us to discuss how we can arrange a custom trip to fit your group’s needs. Also, we are booking spring-fall 2014 trips for Chandeleur on Southern Way.
And, finally, for smaller groups of both fly and/or conventional fisherman, you may want to consider a custom expedition trip to the Islands and the Marsh on Southern Cross.
We hope to heard from you soon and until then, we’ll keep living life…A Southern Way.
With best regards and happy holidays!]]>
Everything was great again! Six of us were on the Chandeleur trip a couple of years ago and were expecting a good trip. Your crew managed to completely exceed their expectations with this marsh cast and blast trip . The dock and storage room is a great addition. With 10 guys it provides room to spread out especially with the added hunting gear.
The fishing was great. The fishing weather could have been better on the last day, but it is November.
The duck hunting went to fantastic that day when the temperature dropped and winds picked up.
The hunting blinds are well done and far exceeded what we were expecting.
The food was exceptional, better than we remembered.
The only suggestion we can come up with is that the crew should put together a Southern Way cook book. I have 10 sold already.
I am getting ‘ when can we do this again questions ‘ already one day after leaving.
As we mentioned last month, after an unusual start, our summer fishing patterns are now well established at the Chandeleur Islands. What many fishermen don’t realize is that these patterns will persist thru September and October. The fall can be some of the most enjoyable months at the Islands as temperatures begin to moderate but the fishing remains hot. October is generally our driest month and usually the winds aren’t a problem as strong cold fronts don’t start arriving until November. For all you diehard football fans don’t worry… you won’t miss a game with our satellite TV and what’s better than football and fishing. Call today…we still have good dates open for the Chandeleurs in September and October.
While I love the summer fishing, I have to say I’m always excited about our fall light tackle/fly fishing opportunities and our coastal waterfowling trips.
Fall fishing in the Louisiana Biloxi Marsh is simply fantastic. With the Southern Way and Southern Cross positioned at our private dock you are right in the middle one of the most productive fishery in the North America. While we are only 25 miles from New Orleans and 30 miles from Gulfport, I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say you truly feel as if you’re in the middle of Africa or Alaska. The marsh is truly vast and isolated. Other boats and fishermen are rare. We believe this truly is a unique and under recognized experience. Catching reds and trout with light tackle literally yards from the dock is common and limits are the rule not the exception.
For fly fisherman, the Biloxi Marsh has become a world famous destination for trophy redfish. Just check out the website of many of the Florida based fly guides…. where do they go to fish in the fall and winter months? That’s right … the Biloxi Marsh. Fish of 20 to 40 pounds are the rule and the opportunity to catch a record fish is real. We work with New Orleans based Captain Gregg Arnold to arrange everything: experienced guides, well maintained flats boats from Hell’s Bay, Chittum, and East Cape, and high end fly rods and reels if needed. Instead of traveling back and forth from a hotel everyday, being in the marsh increases your time on the water tremendously. You can’t catch fish on asphalt. As we like to say about our marsh trips… “You don’t have to go far when your already there…” Call us to discuss how we can customize a fly fishing trip to meet your groups’ individual needs.
Last week the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries announced tentative dates for the 2013-14 waterfowl season. Our 5700 acre private lease (which sits in the middle of the 100,000 acre+ Biloxi Marsh) is in the Coastal Zone with a 60 day season divided into 2 splits. Opening day is Saturday November 9th running thru December 1st. The second split opens December 14th and runs thru January 19th. Our marsh is in excellent condition now with a resurgence of submerged aquatic vegetation in our ponds (SAV = duck food) and we anticipate an excellent gunning season. With dates set we are now booking fall/winter duck hunting trips. Dates are already starting to fill so call as soon as possible to book your coastal marsh gunning experience. Check out the latest video on the website site (www.southerwaycharters.com) for some gunning action from last year’s season or click on the link below:
If you never have been on a fall/winter trip I encourage you to consider one this year. Hunting in the morning, fishing all day and returning to a meal of chargrilled fresh gulf oysters, boiled crabs or a grilled steak all in such a glorious setting simply has to be experienced to truly understand. We are more than happy to customize a fall or winter combined “Cast and Blast” trip for your group.
A couple of closing notes; our fall and winter trips will leave out of Campos Marina in Shell Beach, Louisiana. Shell Beach is approximately 30 miles from downtown New Orleans and an hour’s drive from Gulfport. Our sportsmen will be shuttled to our marsh operations on a 35 ft. fully enclosed all weather deck boat. With twin 150 Yamaha outboards, it’s just a 45 minute trip to our marsh dock where we will base the Southern way and Southern Cross.
Finally, be on the look out for the September/October edition of Tide magazine where outdoor writer Al Rogers will describe the uniqueness of the Biloxi Marsh fishery in a feature story in this beautiful publication.
As always… keep living life the “Southern Way “]]>
Captain Skylar has been running day and overnight trips on the Southern Cross, targeting redfish, mackerel, cobia and sharks around Ship and Horn Islands. This is a great way to enjoy the coast for smaller groups with a shorter time schedule. This is also perfect for groups with younger and older anglers as there is an air-conditioned cabin, clean restrooms and a grilled burger lunch served on these trips. We can customize a trip and accommodate just about any request. And remember, if you have a smaller group (1 to 6 persons) and want to hit the Chandeleur Islands for a couple days, the Southern Cross can accommodate this size group as well.
While we are still in summer mode, its never to early to start thinking about our fall fishing and waterfowl hunting in the world famous Biloxi Marsh. We have been running our 5,700 acre marsh lease this spring and summer and I have never seen the marsh looking as healthy as this year. As you may remember, Hurricane Isaac sat on us for 3 days last October and severely affected the coastal marshes of Louisiana and Mississippi. Our surveys of the marsh this year show unbelievable vegetation growth and hurricane damaged areas are barely even noticeable. Our duck ponds are full of Widgeon grass which should make this a duck hunting season to remember. I am constantly amazed at the rejuvenation powers of this unique ecosystem. And while we are not ready to share details just yet, we are working on big changes in our fall/winter marsh operation which will take this experience to another level. Call now to talk about a “cast and blast” trip chasing trout, redfish and ducks as these dates too will fill up fast.
Until next time……..keep doing it the “Southern Way”]]>
The fishing could have been better for some of us, but as an experienced fishermen I know how this works, being at the mercy of tide, fish with tails, and a core group that was inexperienced in where to actually fish in these waters makes for an interesting set of dynamics. My partner on the trip, Ben Flencher, and his sons, caught more fish than anyone, due to good fortune, hard ass fishing and the fact that some of his boys had actually fished your trip before. However, a very unique setting and a great time had by all.]]>
With 2012 now well in the history books I would like to take a little time to reflect on the year before we get to far into 2013. Last year we ran over 45 trips to Chandeleur Islands starting in March with our last trip in October. As usual the larger trout were caught in the spring with greater numbers of trout showing up in the summer months. This year is lining up to be another banner year and Captain Brian, Lamar the rest of the crew have contracted a big dose of “spring fever” and are excited to be back on the “Islands” soon.
The Southern Way has been in the shipyard the last several weeks getting new bottom paint, routine maintenance and undergoing the yearly Coast Guard inspections and should be back in water in the next few days. This year is different in that we have decided to make the Gulfport Bert Jones Yacht Harbor the permanent home for both the Southern Way and Southern Cross. The harbor offers cement walkways, easy access to parking and fuel docks and supplies. This location offers easy access from I-10 is just a few minutes drive from the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. There are several casinos and numerous restaurants with a short distance and we think our clients will agree this is a great location.
In addition to our 3 day Southern Way Chandeleur trips, we will have another option for fishing this year on our 54-foot sport fisher, Southern Cross. With the “Cross” which will be run by Captain Skylar Lanier, we have the option to run shorter trips to the islands with smaller groups. The “Cross is perfect for groups of 4 to 6 people and 1 to 2 day trips. In addition we will be offering “Expedition” style trips to the “Islands and outer marsh tailored for our fly fishing clients which can cover more grounds in a shorter period of time increasing the chance of landing a record book redfish, permit or tarpon. The “Cross” also will be running day trips for fishermen visiting the coast with a more limited timeframe and these trips will target redfish, spanish mackerel, trout and sharks. As always we are willing to work with our clients to customize any trip to there satisfaction.
Our partnership with Captain Gregg Arnold continues to progress and grow stronger. Captain Gregg is running our fly fishing operations. The fall and winter season in the marsh proved to be great success. With the Southern Way moored deep in the marsh at our private dock, our fly fisherman don’t have to go very far to be in the middle of prime redfish country. No driving 4 hours a day to and from hotels, picking up supplies and launching boats means for time on the water and after all that’s what is all about. Our motto is “You don’t have to go far when you already there”. Next year our operation for the fall and winter season will expand greatly……….more on that as the year progresses!
Finally, this year marked the first waterfowl season on our greatly expanded private marsh lease in the middle of the Biloxi Marsh. With over 5,700 acres, much infrastructure improvements took place in the fall with placement of 13 new fiberglass and aluminum pit blinds. Our duck ponds were full of grass and then Hurricane Isaac paid us a 3-day visit and everything for the season changed. While we initially thought the marsh had been unscathed with further exploration we found multiple areas with significant marsh erosion and vegetation disruption from salt-water burn. Despite the effects of Isaac, our 2012-2013 waterfowl season was a tremendous success. We harvested well over 600 birds with only light hunting, mainly on the weekends. The majority of birds we harvested were gadwalls and green wing teal with a fewer number of widgeon, blue wing teal, mottled ducks and even several mallards and pintail. Check out some of the videos from the season that we’ll have on the website in a few weeks. If you haven’t experienced a Southern Way Cast and Blast trip now is the time to start putting together a group for some of the finest coastal shooting and winter fishing in the most unique setting in the south. As noted above, our winter operations will expand greatly… more to follow in the coming months.
The year 2012 was a great success for Southern Way Charters and we look forward to a successful 2013. If you haven’t been on a fishing or gunning adventure with us yet, give us a shout; we’d love to have you experience the outdoors the … “Southern Way”.]]>