Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Blues Don’t Get You Down, They Lift You Up.

Bourbon Street
Blues Singer

New Orleans has always fascinated me. Partly because Iwas born in the South, Tennessee that is, raised on grits and collard greens, I've always has some sort of connection to the southern soul. So when Hannah invited me to join her, Amanda Switzer, and Mike Ward in Louisiana for Red Drum fishing, and with the encouragement from Marty to go on the trip, I took the opportunity. These days it’s a rare chance to take a fishing trip, when you have a business and a three year old to take care of. So, I jumped at the chance. Visiting the city of music; sitting in a dingy bar, listening to the blues with a whiskey in hand has always had some sort of romantic appeal.

Masquerade Mardi Gra Mask

In the last five years the residents of New Orleans have witnessed two major disasters, Hurricane Katrina, and the latest being, the BP oil spill. Even amidst the tragedy, citizens that truly love their city have stuck around to rebuild it and contribute to the flourishing regrow. New construction is ever going and people haven’t stopped living. Fishermen are up at the crack of dawn collecting oysters off shore, mullet, and catfish are plentiful. Retail shops are ever preparing for the infamous Mardi Gra, and music in the French Quraters echos out of every steet bar and cafe.

Fisherman with Oysters
Long Leaf

The week started out with hurricane warnings and rain, needless to say we got blown out. We attempted to fish the second day I was there, the wind still blew 20 knots and the temperature didn’t reach 40. The following next two days were windy and rain. The forecast predicted sun on the day I was leaving, so I called Marty and said we might have a chance to fish, with his blessings I changed my flight.


Hannah and I meet our guide Gjuro Bruer (Gjuro has been guiding the Gulf coast for 9 years and is top notch!) on Saturday morning, at a little café for coffee, biscuits and gravy. The southern hospitality is infectious.

Guide Hands

The cold air chilled my bones, but the clouds slowly dissipated and the sun was breaking through. We are excited to get on the water! Bundled up and ready to go Gjuro starts the motor, we head out. Zigzagging through the bayou’s and marshes is exhilarating. We see Egrets, green and blue Heron, Porpoise and Seagulls; it’s encouraging to see so much life after the BP oil spill. Gjuro makes a comment that worries him, that is, the disbursement that was put on top of the oil covered a lot of spawning ground for fish. We can only hope this does not have any ill effect in coming years. Only time can tell.

Great Egret flying over the Bayou.

We arrive at the fishing grounds; the water clarity is maybe a foot, not the best conditions for sighting fish. Gjuro keeps up the search, we spot a few, and I make a cast, no takes. We have a great time on the water, talking fishing stories, Bourbon Street, the flex of rods, and a lot more.

photo by Hannah Belford

The fact that I did not catch a fish is trivial. If anything, it gives me the drive to come back. I am grateful for the time spent exploring an area I always wanted to visit. It's fantastic to see the Louisiana coast flourishing with life.

When you're blown out on a fishing trip, what do you do? You go site seeing, drink a lot, eat po-boys, oysters, and jumbos, and have a good time! When you’re in New Orleans the blues don’t get you down, they lift you up.