For most of the year, Travis and Bryan “Bear” Holeman guide devoted clients from Key West to Venice to the Barrier Islands, but for a few precious weeks each year, the brothers return to their roots: a trailer, compound bows, oysters and mudbugs, lighting-fast bayou boats, and a keen desire to put the fly on the nose of gargantuan bull drums. A study in Gulf culture at its richest, and what can hopefully survive.

Words: Kirk Deeter and Roy Tanami

“Captain Travis Holeman spots an enormous, burnt-orange “pumpkin,” tailing 20 feet from the bow—easily the largest swimming thing we’ve seen in three days of looking. He casts a purple “Big Nasty” on its nose, but after a couple of strips it spooks, surging away in a cloud of mud. He puts the fly on its nose again, and the fish spooks a second time. With the redfish now running away from the skiff, he lets fly with a remarkable Hail Mary cast. “Never give up, son, that’s the rule on reds,” Travis says with a deep grin as the pumpkin peels across Louisiana’s Biloxi Marsh toward the Gulf of Mexico

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