The Skiff Supply Sheepy Tournament: A Celebration of Fly Fishing and Community | Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

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The Sheepy Tournament, held annually in the marshes of Hopedale, Louisiana, is more than just a fly fishing competition. It’s more than a community party as it is a testament to the passion and camaraderie that define the sport. This year, the event was particularly special, because I was able to connect with some long-time fishing buddies while they picked up a new skiff in Florida and made their way over to New Orleans. Lastly, we were able to form a team and compete thanks in part to the contributions of the Skiff Supply Company and the renowned local guide, Miles LaRose.

Searching for the right flies at Skiff Supply


Chris picking up a new floating line at Skiff Supply


The Skiff Supply Company: Equipping Anglers for Success

The Skiff Supply Company, known for its comprehensive guiding services has grown over the past two years and now has a range of fly fishing gear available in the shop and online. Having the supply of goods played a pivotal role in this year’s tournament. From flies to lines, their products are designed to meet the unique challenges of targeting fish in Louisiana including the elusive Sheepshead, or “Cajun Permit,” on the flats. Their commitment to quality and performance has made them a favorite among the local fly fishing community so it has been great seeing my friend succeed in such a way.

Sheepy Winners on a sculpture at Skiff Supply

Miles LaRose: Guiding Anglers to Victory

Miles LaRose, the owner of Shallow South and a respected figure in the world of Louisiana fly fishing, brought his expertise to the tournament. With years of experience navigating the local waters, LaRose’s guidance was invaluable for participants looking to outsmart the Sheepshead. Most tournaments are fairly well run but something is different about the dedication to community and fun in Louisiana’s coastal waters that Miles contributes. When you sign up and the fees hit you you first wonder if it is worth it then the event starts, the music rings, the food tastes fantastic and the drinks run cold and smooth…that is when it is evident in his work around Sheepy Tournament.

The Sheepy Tournament Winners

The Skiff Supply Sheepy Tournament: A Fly Fishing Fête

The Skiff Supply Sheepy Tournament is not just about the competition. As I said, it’s a celebration of the location's spirit. Anglers from all over gather to share stories, enjoy the local cuisine, and, of course, vie for the title of top angler. As the sun set on this year’s Sheepy Tournament, it was clear that the event was about more than just catching fish. It was about the people, the environment, and the enduring allure of fly fishing. Thanks to the Skiff Supply Company and Miles LaRose, the tournament was a resounding success, leaving participants eagerly anticipating next year’s gathering.

Bumper Pool at the Skiff Supply Compound


Live Music at Skiff Supply

The Trip and the Tournament

This year I was able to make a special trip down to Hopedale and connect with a few friends. Todd Jurgensen and Chris Fredette, two good buddies from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania were game to make it work. 

The plan was for them to make a drive down to the Tampa Bay area of Florida and pick up a skiff to add to Todd’s fleet. Although they weren’t all that excited about the time behind the wheel you could tell that Todd was itching to get his hands on that Hell's Bay!  

Hell's Bay Boatworks

I planned to meet Todd and Chris at the airport and hitch a ride to Hopedale. Sleep where we can weather an extra room, floor of a garage, or in the truck was about as far as we got ahead of ourselves. Knowing we had a bunch of friends around we knew we could work something out that would be suitable for a few hacks. 

Regardless of where we stayed, we were planning on one day of warm-up fishing and two days of hitting the water for the tournament. Given we were outsiders we knew the competition would be stout and we had a chance. Slight as it may it was a chance to compete and have fun. 

Lo and behold everything went to hell as storms rolled in. I’m talking heavy winds and rain to the point that several anglers didn’t even show up. There loss! We endured sideways rain, gustin, and blowing winds and ya the fishing was relatively dismal but we had a ton of fun on our warmup day. Next up is the competition.

Chris eating his favorite - Boiled Peanuts

Wake early in the morning and meet as a group to assign fellow teams to our group and review rules. Next up battling for a spot on the boat ramp and a quick launch so we could hit the water where we scouted. The weather was still bad and the winds were high we figured if we picked up a Sheepshead we were in the chase. 

Morning Tournament Meeting


After a day of hard polling, draining the trolling motor, avoiding lightning, and attempting to stay dry we came up empty-handed. When we returned and it was late, the informal count was 3 fish landed on day one. We had bets going and I think we all overestimated just how difficult the fishing was. Many locals kept saying, “I’m going home and getting out of this crap weather. It’s all about the food and beer for me!”

Line on the deck...but not for long with all the wind

Needless to say, this is how the weather went for the remaining day of the tournament. Unfortunately, I didn’t even participate. Instead, I lay on a sofa feeling like death as I was one of the soon-to-be many who picked up influenza and changed flight timelines just to get home and into a bed for a few days. Either way, I was able to collect a few more photos and hear the results. It wasn’t us and I believe the top angler had 3 Sheepshead in the boat.  We ended up with a big old donut regarding Sheepshead but we had fun fighting the elements.

A redfish in the boat

Instead of the Fishing

What was purely unique about the tournament wasn’t the fishing. We’ve all been there with good weather and the fishery is awesome. We’ve also all had a chance to experience some of the New Orleans hospitality and food. However, what was different was the way that Miles put together the Sheepy Tournament and the community followed. I believe there were almost 50 boats signed up and the sign-up had to be shut off. What a showing of anglers. We had anglers from all over. People you recognize throughout the country who were able to make a special trip of it.  

Here is where the big change was. The food and drink options never stopped. I can’t tell you how many times I looked over my shoulder and there were baked clams, cold clams, sushi, pulled pork, cajun shrimp and so much more available when around the shop and compound. On top of that beer, mixed drinks, live music, and of course tons of great attitude. From a pleasure standpoint, the after-party gatherings were top-notch organized and provided a blissful evening with friends.

You have to say thanks to all the sponsors like Costa, Grundens, Yeti, Fishpond, and many more I’m sure I’m missing, who chipped in to make this thing happen. Congratulations to Miles and his small crew too for such a successful event and useful platform for fun and conservation. 

Skiff Supply and Sheepy Tournament Sponsors

Interested in participating in the next Sheepy Tournament or exploring the world of fly fishing in Louisiana? Visit the Skiff Supply Company for all your gear needs, and consider booking a trip with Miles LaRose for an unforgettable angling experience.

Visit to book a trip or see the shop.  

***Do you want to get deals on equipment, fly fishing trips, and lots of information? Become a member of the Loyalty Club on the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast.

Christian Bacasa, Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

By Christian Bacasa
Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast
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