The Chandeleur Islands

I attended a Redstick Fly Fishers meeting last night and had the pleasure of listening to a speaker with CPRA talk about the Master Plan they just came out with for the Lousiana coast. One thing that stood out to me was that there were no plans for protecting the Chandeleur Islands. I fully understand the reasoning behind this, money, but it was a little concerning. The Chandeleurs are a string of barrier islands that form the toe of the boot that is Louisiana. They boast an amazing fishery. They are slowly disappearing too. I would definitely recommend a trip out to them to any inshore kayak fishermen looking for a change of pace. Who knows? They may not always be there, so take a trip to them while you can. I’d go so far to say that the islands offer some of the best redfish and speckled trout fishing that you’ll find anywhere. Be it wade fishing, kayak fishing, or fishing from a skiff – the Chandeleurs offer it all.

I took a trip with some guys from BCKFC back in August of 2009 and still remember it very fondly. We did a charter with Capt. Troy Fountain on the Double Trouble, out of Biloxi, MS. We didn’t go at prime time and we had to wait out a few storms, but it was still a fantastic trip, well worth the money. Troy charges $575 a person if you have a party of 10+. You get 2 solid days of fishing, meals, and lodging for that. Here is the trip report from August 3, 2009:

“The trip went pretty well, I wish we would have had more time there, but the weather had other plans. We missed out on two early morning trips due to thunderstorms, but that really didn’t slow anyone down. Lots of fish were brought in and the 270 qt Icey Tek cooler was full by Saturday night. Specks were the most abundant species caught, but redfish, flounder, sharks, bluefish, white trout, croaker, spanish mack, and ladyfish were also caught.

4 of us brought kayaks; Jeff, Brendan, Todd, and myself, and we fished out of them almost exclusively. I caught a couple of personal best trout out there and plenty of other big keepers. Jeff caught a limit of reds on Saturday along with some nice trout. Brendan had one of the nicest stringers of fish I’ve ever seen, all caught on topwater. Todd didn’t disappoint either catching a big trout that went 3lb 11oz. All 3 of the other guys managed to get master angler ladyfish, while I caught 2 that taped out an inch short. I can safely say that those of us in kayaks had a pretty good time. I was pretty exhausted Saturday night.

The fishery out there is tremendous. The water on the backside of the islands is very clear and the turtle grass makes a great hiding place for both prey and predator. When the tide was out on Sat. Jeff and I actually sight casted a couple of big trout while walking the flats, it was a very cool experience.

Here’s some pictures:

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Checking out the surf on Friday afternoon

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Friday’s best for me

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Storm’s a brewin’

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Friday evening’s booze cruise

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Low tide on the island

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Looking for sharks

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Turn him, turn him!

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Double Trouble

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Brendan and the pelicans

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Louisiana brown pelicans take flight

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Another storm on the horizon

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Saturday’s best for me

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Todd getting a tow

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Dolph’s nice flounder

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Underwater shot of the turtle grass

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Topwater time

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Saturday’s sunset

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Me fishing near the pelicanpalooza (photo Brendan Bayard)

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Me wading near birds (photo Brendan Bayard)

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I’m reminiscing a little with this post, but I’d love to go back, especially now that I have a few years kayak fishing under my belt. I was still relatively new when I went back in ’09, I might do a little better next time out.

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4 comments
  1. agitatedangler said:

    Nice! I have friends from Mobile who speak of the Chandeleurs like they’re the promised land. I’d like to make my way down there one day.

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  2. Andy said:

    I’ve fished the chandeleurs twice and love them. we went in May and June and did well both times. sharks were everywhere and we caught a ton of fish. we just waded and fished from the skiffs. I might have to drag my cobra navigator and see if a red or shark can pull me around.

    I had a third trip scheduled, but my wife said the hand of God stepped in and blew up the BP Rig to cancel my plans. The very first picture on the news I saw concerning the spill was a map showing how the oil would cover the islands. Bummer

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  3. Yeah Andy, the Deepwater Horizon tragedy was a shame and did impact the islands, but don’t let that keep you from getting back out there. I have friends that have made it out there within the past year and they report the fishing is pretty darn good. It might not be what it was in the past, but I think it is still worth the trip. I look forward to making it out there again.

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  4. Gene said:

    It was June 1988 or 89 I had a 22ft Aqua sport. Jim and I went out there and camped mainly to walk gig flounder at night. Tide and wind were perfect. from 9 pm to about 1 am each night. We gigged about 90 total.

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