Turkey Creek Lavender

Turkey Creek Lavender

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Redfishing in Venice, Louisiana in January! What a Trip!

I've been promising some of you this post, complete with fishing pictures, for awhile now. Well, here it is.

One of the things hubby wanted to do after he retired was take a little road trip to Venice, Louisiana to catch trophy-sized redfish.  It's just one of those things on his bucket list. So in January we took a chance on the weather and booked a charter out of Venice.

Venice is about as far south as you can go in Louisiana, out on a peninsula, south of New Orleans. When hurricane Katrina swept through it completely flooded the area and swept everything away. All that was left of the marina were some concrete foundations. So everything got rebuilt.

Then, when the gulf oil spill happened, Venice was again one of the victims. I am happy to say it has recovered nicely and both the commercial and charter fishing are once again thriving.

It was an awesome trip! The weather was beautiful for January. Cold in the morning, but warm in the afternoon. And the fishing...well, it was spectacular! And thanks for that goes to our captain, Mike Frenette.

 He knows the water, the shoreline, the saltwater marsh areas, and the fish like the back of his hand. In other words, he knows his business.

Mike is a wonderful guide, and host, who works tirelessly all day to get you on redfish, and keep you on redfish. He will stay out all day, as long as you want to fish. There's none of this fishing until 2:00 and calling it a day like some guides. I mean it. If you want to stay out till the sun is going down, Mike is on it!

 And he didn't mind having a female on board. He was a very patient teacher, and, unlike some captains I've fished with, does not believe that stupid backassward notion that women are bad luck on a boat. (That was in Alaska, but that's another story, so don't let me get started on that rant!!)

Mike is also a competitive fisherman on the Redfish Tour, and has several shows coming up with Bill Dance. He has fished with Shaw Grigsby, and Roland Martin and, most recently, editors and writers from Outdoor Life, and Field and Stream. How awesome to make a living doing what you love!

But the fishing is only a part of the package. Captain Mike and his lovely wife Lori also own and operate Redfish Lodge. So you can stay there at the lodge in the marina and walk downstairs to get in the boat and go out to fish. And Lori is an outstanding cook. The first night we had shrimp creole and blackened fish. We also had grilled redfish, shrimp stuffed redfish, shrimp mashed potatoes, and a variety of other wonderful Cajun dishes while we were there. I just wish I'd taken a picture of the food! I know...shame on me!

The Redfish Lodge is set up with 2 bedrooms. Each bedroom sleeps 4 and has 2 sets of bunk beds and a bathroom. Not that you would need it, but there is a very large HDTV and a comfortable living area to relax in and compare notes about who caught the biggest fish and who caught the most fish, and so on. Oh yeah, and who caught the first fish (me, me, me!).

The price is really excellent. It includes the fishing, the lodging, and the delicious cuisine. Call Captain Mike and he can give you a quote.

This was a great family trip, but it would also make a great all guy trip, all girl trip, corporate trip...well, you get the idea. While we had 4 in the boat, we know and like each other. And, even though I caught the first fish of the trip, and I'm not bragging (...or am I?), we are a polite and jocular group and we are familiar with combat fishing from living in Alaska. The point I'm trying to make is that 4 might be too many for your crew.

You might do better with 2 per boat, but that can be discussed with Captain Mike. Because when a big ol' redfish is making a run...and let me tell you, they do run!...you're not going to want to deal with tangled lines and stripping reels and cussing, bad tempered friends. Get the picture?

Captain Mike also does offshore fishing charters, as well as hunting charters. So if you're looking for Tuna, Dolphin, Wahoo, Amberjack, Grouper, Snapper...well you get the idea, he can get you there. Just give him a call. Unless he's out on a charter, or at a fishing tournament, he answers his phone. Honest!

Of course, just being in Louisiana is a treat in itself. With New Orleans so close you could bring along family and friends who don't want to fish, but would rather go into the city to shop, eat and tour around while you fish. (Or hang out in the lodge and read their Kindle!) Really, there's something for everyone. Of course, we get the added bonus of getting to visit my hubby's brother and SIL and family since they live in Gretna. Nice!

We can't wait to go back! Really an awesome trip! Thanks Captain Mike! Thanks Lori!

For those of you interested in driving from Lawton to Venice, we stay about half way, then drive on in the next day. A good place to visit is Natchitoches, Louisiana. Lovely little town where they filmed "Steel Magnolia's". Or you could just fly.

All this talk of fishing makes me want to go. Even though the hybrids at Waurika aren't as big as redfish (not hardly!) now is a good time to start catching the big ones! Better get the boat ready...

Happy Fishing!

23 Years of Service Goes by in the Blink of an Eye

Okay, I know. I've been absent from blogging for long enough! January and most of February.

But wait! I can explain!

My wonderful hubby retired from the US Army after 23 years of active duty service.
I am so proud of him, and his dedicated service to the Army, and to our country. It's one of those strangely poignant times in your life where you're happy, but you're also a little sad. We've had some wonderful farewell dinners to attend with dear friends, and co-workers, people who are more like family to us now. And the retirement ceremony itself, where my husband called for the pass and review of the troops.

I've always loved pass and review, the ceremony of the troops marching by in formation...

...the Army Half Section...

...and the Army band playing "The Caisson's Go Rolling Along." Lastly, we sing "Old Soldier's Never Die." Like I said, happy, but sad.

It's a strange transition for both of us into the civilian world. We were both raised in the military lifestyle. Both of our fathers were career military. Except for about a seven year span during college we've never really known any other life. It has been quite a ride. This life of service has allowed us to live places like Hawaii, Germany, Alaska, and all over the United States, and my husband has been to the middle east, and beyond. We've never lived anywhere more than 4 years...until now. And it looks like we'll happily be calling southwest Oklahoma home. And the fabulous experiences we've had, and the incredible people we've met, and unbelievable friends we've made...okay, I'm teary now!

So as we say goodbye to our old life, and hello to our new one, and my husband takes off his uniform for the last time, I thank all of you for your friendship, and support, whether it's in real life, or just in the blog world. And for continuing to follow Turkey Creek Lavender on this journey. I look forward to enlarging the lavender farm, and the garden, perhaps adding some chickens and goats to the mix, growing the soap making business, and just following this passion and seeing where it all takes me.

And I promise to catch you up on the other activities and escapades of the last month and a half. Oh yes...there's more to come!!



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