Conclusion of the Yeti Pro/Am Redfish Tournament

by | Oct 25, 2018 | Yeti Ambassadors Summit | 3 comments

flyfishing for redfishLast night the forecast for today, Day 2 of the Yeti Pro/Am Fly Redfish Tournament, was ugly.  High wind and heavy rain was a threat.  There was talk from a few teams about bagging fishing altogether.  Not our team.  Capt. Scott MacCalla, LeighAnn Bakunas and I had to go catch some big redfish in order to move from 2nd place to 1st.


To be honest with you, bad weather gets me fired up.  Makes sense when your nickname is “Monsoon” throughout the world.  So this morning when I woke up around 5 AM and went to the hotel lobby for coffee and it wasn’t raining, I was disappointed.  However the wind was strong so I knew it was coming.


Capt. Scott MaCalla redfish guideI met LeighAnn for breakfast at 6 and soon we were with Capt. Scott launching from the Venice, Louisiana marina.  As we pushed off it started to rain.  We all had full raingear so it wasn’t a problem.


Our tactic was go back to the exact spot we left off last night.  If there was one beast of a redfish why wouldn’t there be another?  Unfortunately water conditions changed.  Yesterday this was the clearest water I’d seen all week but today was muddy.  So with the rain coming down and the murky water, Scott suggested I blind cast my Clouser to the bank and had LeighAnn chuck the popping lure on the spin rod.


Jeff Currier in the Yeti Redfish TournamentBlind casting in the mud is not my favorite thing.  But this is competition and one must do what needs to be done.  Lo and behold, five minutes of casting and my fly got drilled!  Scott was soon adding a 30” redfish to our score sheet and it was only 8:08 AM!


Perhaps the blind casting thing isn’t so bad.  Heck, we all like a tug on the line.  LeighAnn and I went right back to work.  I kid you not, three cast later as I was lifting my fly for the next cast a giant redfish face appeared and smeared my fly!


The massive redfish caught me by surprise.  Luckily the fish was so aggressive there was no way to screw it up.  I braced myself for battle.  This big bull red was angry!


The fish ripped me a new one.  He steamed to the deep then through an acre of weeds.  Scott and LeighAnn didn’t see the fish eat but they knew this one was big – they could see my game face on more so than on last night’s gargantuan red!


Jeff Currier huge bull redfishI wanted this fish but it didn’t look good as 10lbs, then 20lbs then perhaps a 100lbs of weeds gathered on my fly line as it trailed the ripping fish.  LeighAnn asked if she could help.  I usually frown on anyone touching my line when a big fish is on, but this was my partner.  “Yes!  Reach down in the water and start tearing weeds off the line.  But don’t touch the line”, was my response.


It was a good call – for me anyhow.  LeighAnn was on her belly in the rain wet to the elbows tearing weeds off the line.  As fast as she cleared weeds new ones stuck on.  This fish wouldn’t stop!


Giant redfish on the flyFinally the big redfish slowed and I got the leader in sight.  Scott came off his poling platform and relieved LeighAnn of weed duty.  The fight still wasn’t over but finally I got the fish to the surface and like last night, it took Scott and I to lift the monster on board.


This fish was a big ugly warrior of a redfish.  He had hacked fins, missing scales and crossed eyes, but also – length.  He measured 43” which with the bonus for the fly – a magnificent 53”.  Our boat was kicking butt!


fly fish LouisianaThat was the last redfish we’d see for hours.  All we saw was rain and wind.  We cracked a few Sweetwater brews because the redfish bite was over.


At noon things got weird.  First was the end of the wind.  Not the rain but the wind stopped.  It was eerie but real.  Then the tidal currents stopped.  All bad signs for ocean fishing.  LeighAnn and I kept fishing and Scott kept polling.  But I had absolutely zero confidence.


Jeff Currier fly fishing LouisianaAt 1 PM I’d have told you were not going to see another fish all day.  At 1 even the rains stopped.  There were no leaping mullet, birds singing or anything.  You could only assume that all the redfish were sleeping too.  But I tossed into a nook and the second my fly hit the water I was tight with a small redfish.  Big, small, it didn’t matter.  This was our third red of the day and our score sheet was full.  I knew fishing was tough everywhere in Louisiana so we were doing well as a team.


LeighAnn Bakunas fly fishing for redfishIn this area it was nearly impossible for LeighAnn to toss the spin rod.  There were too many weeds.  I looked at her and said you can do this.  It’s your turn to catch one on the fly.


LeighAnn gave me a funny look but I handed her my Winston before she could say no.  No doubt she wanted a redfish on fly and yesterday she stood on the bow for hours without a cast – she deserved one.


LeighAnn can make a decent 30 foot cast.  But the classic redfish cast is shorter.  Where we were was more like 10 feet.  These under-length casts can be hard.  We worked on it a few minutes and soon she mastered the short plunk of the fly.


Yeti redfish tournamentI talk about persistence in fishing all the time on this blog.  Yet I fish with people that don’t have diligence all the time.  When the going gets tough they chill out.  There’s nothing wrong with that but if you want the fish, you need to keep the fly in the water.  LeighAnn kept it in the water and she hooked up!


LeighAnn Bakunas Yeti RedfishThere was a happy scream followed by a, “Now what do I do?”


“Stay tight on him”, I yelled back, as I helped clear her line off the deck.


We were so far back in the marsh there wasn’t much room for this redfish to run.  He was a cute little bugger too so LeighAnn got him in quick.  This is one happy partner with one of the prettiest redfish I’ve ever seen in my life!


redfishing LouisianaIt seems the two redfish from deep in the marsh were gifts from the fish gods.  We never got another back there.  The sun actually came out and Scott took us to a new spot for the last hour of the tourney.  There still wasn’t wind but the tides were moving again and there were redfish starting to bust.  LeighAnn hammered this 38” on the spin to replace our little guys on our score sheet.


Yeti Ambassador Jeff CurrierMy rod went quiet until there were less than ten minutes.  Then in typical “Currier” fashion I pulled in one more redfish before the bell.  This fish was another spectacular looking one!


Moe Savoy Newman and Jeff CurrierIt was a heck of a fun two days fishing with my teammates LeighAnn and Scott.  For those of you ever wanting to catch redfish on the fly in Louisiana, Capt. Scott MacCalla is your guide and Journey South Outfitters Lodge is the place to Stay.


After the boat ride back to Venice we celebrated at Journey South Outfitters for the conclusion party of the Yeti Pro/Am Fly Redfish Tournament.  Our team slipped behind Kevin VanDam and his partner Maddie Brenneman from 2nd to 3rd place.  We had only an inch lead on them starting today and unfortunately they barely got us.  But we got 3rd place which I think is incredible.  Furthermore, we won biggest fish each day hence the big fish of the tourney.  Now that’s pretty damn cool!


Jeff Currier and Carter Andrews fishingThe Yeti folk and all we Ambassadors closed down the summit party like pros to the wee hours.  It was so much fun hanging with old friends and new.  There were some Yeti Panga Backpacks around and I had my Sharpies with me.  I couldn’t help but bust them out.  I ended up drawing on several packs and a couple Panga Duffels.


Tomorrow it’s the journey home.  This has been an incredible week.  Thank you Yeti for putting on such a fantastic and enjoyable Ambassador Summit!


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


  1. Tom

    Good show young man and welcome to the land of great saltwater fishing year round. Winter, believe it or not is the best. March 29 we consider Redfish Day.

  2. Lance Toamr

    Great job Jeff & LeighAnn !! Can’t believe you didn’t win with those hogs in the boat. Way to represent the “Fly Guys”.. take biggest fish every time. I’m there 1st week of December so hope they are still around. Nice Jack by the way..

  3. Jeff

    Thanks guys. Good luck the rest of the season Tom and Lance, I hope you have a great trip!

Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

Contact Jeff

I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!