words by Devin O'Dea
"It's like the end of the world down there. You have to check it out."
Jamie's words during our Ozark-based, FC Team fly fishing shoot in March were not soon to escape my mind. I was enchanted by the idea of exploring the Biloxi Marsh at the southern tip of Louisiana, an area of the country that was foreign to my experience. I reached out to two of my most formidable pirate brothers - Heno Head and Jeff Rose - to test the new waters with me. The night we arrived, I was awoken by the loudest, most startling lightning-merged-with-thunder experience to date. It was clear we were in a high energy environment.
The next day was spent entirely outside and in the rain as we walked barefoot through the swamp land of Jean-Lafitte National Park. We were gifted the strange sights of flooded walk ways and swamps, still in sight but overflowing with life, energy, and animals of kinds...
The next day, we made a morning-office out of Downtown Tattoo and Piercing on Frenchman Street. While Heno got a rose, I worked remotely on all things Fayettechill. While I got a skull, Heno and Jeff generated photography all around New Orleans.
That day the predicted storms dissipated, just before our scheduled fishing dispatch from Biloxi Marsh. Our home for the next three days would be the SS Dogwood. Our first mate, who went by the nickname "Smiley," told us that "the end of the world" was a common name for our setting.
It certainly felt that way. Everywhere you looked, you could see where the land was dissolving into the waters that eventually lead to the Gulf of Mexico. There wasn't so much boarders between the land and water, or a coast, but more of an active exchange between the land and water. The intimate state between the two felt like we were looking into a conversation that expanded far beyond the reach of our lifespans.
Via the direction of Captain Jamie Rouse and Lucas Bissett, we set our sights for red fish the next two days but had limited success. The torrential rain the days before kept the fish low in the water and away from our flies and the high and choppy waters did not help our case. But we fished on, pulling out a few reds here and there, having a great time from start to finish.
Eventually, fishing has very little to do with catching fish. More, it is a communal experience in nature, either with others, or with nature itself. While we weren't catching fish, we learned about Louisiana's budding fly fishing culture, the state's environmental concerns, and dynamic fly fishing network that connected Jamie and Lucas (who came across as brothers in passion) in the first place. It's inspired our crew, as representatives of Fayettechill, to understand more of a sport we deeply care about and to learn more about a neighboring state that has a ton to offer our progressive outdoor community.