Met up with my buddy Chris this morning. It was going to be a high tide in the morning and falling out to a negative low. The plan was to fish for trout until the water got low enough to attempt to spot some reds in the shallows. First spot was a wash. Second spot however…game on. We were into trout on a pretty steady bite for an hour. Not monsters but they were of a size we could have kept them if we wanted. Then did a small move and got into some nicer fish of which two were invited home for a fish fry. After a bit the water got low enough that we could go to a certain flat I know to look for reds in the skinny. We started seeing them almost immediately. Chris and I would switch off poling and fishing quickly because when one would get hooked up the school would mill around. We did not get a true double hook up but it was pretty close a couple of time with back to back to back fish. These were all really pretty reds in the 28-30 inch range and ran plenty of fly line and into the backing. All in all a great day.
Scott and I coach lacrosse together. Today we went fishing together. It was cold over night and it even snowed. But it was supposed to be sunny and light breezes and I figured the sun would bring reds onto the flats to warm up. It was a chilly run across the bay to the creek but once we got there it warmed right up. I started poling the Copperhead along the shoreline ad wasn’t really seeing anything and was getting ready to leave when I saw a big boil and some fish smacking shrimp out in the middle. So what do you think I did? If you said “Go on over there,” you were right. And sure enough there they were. Scott made a perfect cast and he got to see his first redfish eat in 8 inches of water. We really loved seeing the fish in the clear shallow water. We ended up working the area for the next four hours and caught around 20 fish. All by sight fishing. He used a spinning rod with a DOA shrimp and I used y 8 wt with one of my Critter flies. We were around fish all the time and never waited too long for our next chance. Great day. Here are some pics:
I went with my buddy Pete to Venice this past weekend to find some big old red fish like we never see in the shallows in NC. We saw lots of fish and fished in challenging conditions with lots of wind, cloudy water and (on the second day) cloudy skies. We still managed to hook into some really nice reds including the second biggest one I’ve caught on fly.
This is what it looks like when a 20 lb redfish comes up to a fly
Heading into the backing
Another yeah buddy but moreso!
Greg and Pete with friend
It was a great trip to an amazing place. I was doubly amazed by the amazing amount of avarian wildlife. I saw birds I never see around here and heard bird calls that I am pretty sure I have never heard before and I thought I was familiar with most of them in this country. The marshes around Venice are loaded with wildlife and of course redfish. I got the impression that a decent angler could catch slot sized redfish almost anywhere he wanted to look and the every time we drove past boats fishing for speckled trout they were hooked up. The real treasure is the extra large redfish. They are not every where and Greg and his crew have them dialed in. If you are looking for a shot at the biggest redfish you will ever catch on fly, this is the place to go.
Sometimes the anticipation of the trip is too much to handle. So you tie flies. I’m not much for flytying as an end unto itself. I tie when I need them and tie very practical things that seem to get the job done. These seem a little gaudy to me but that’s how they do it where we are going this week. Do you know where? No fair saying if you knew already
Low tide at ten. Nice light and a chance to do some sight fishing. I figure with the cold front we have coming at the end of the week this could be my last chance. I got there a little late and could not get my boat onto my flat so I got out and waded. I walked the whole thing and didn’t see a fish. That gave me a bad feeling. Maybe the reds were not going to use this spot anymore this year. I was bummed. I walked back to where my boat was now sitting high and dry and I noticed there was a boat that had come into the channel next to the flat and was fishing for speckled trout, and catching them. It was an old friend so I just walked over and we chatted across the channel. Of course I cast a fly out there too:
I didn’t say they were monsters. I got 20 or so like this. A bite on every cast for a few minutes. I looked back to my flat and there was some action on the far end that I felt impelled to get a closer look at. As I got to within 50 yards I saw two tails waving seductively. This was what I was waiting for. I stalked closer and waited. Of course it got cloudy right at this particular moment so I cold not see anything. Then I picked up a little swirl and cast just to the side of it. Strip, little strip. Grab! Strike. Ruuuuuuunnnnnn. Yes.
I’ve started doing some morning plugging along the beach looking for trout in the suds. To say the action has been a little underwhelming would be something of an understatement. But I did get these monsters:
There is nothing in the ocean that fights like a foul hooked mullet. No really I mean it. There really isn’t another thing you can catch that will pull sideways and do nothing else like this guy did.
Both fish were released to
borethrill another angler.
Ever have one of those days when everyone’s on your case from your teacher all the way down to your best girlfriend? Well this wasn’t one of those days, but it was a little frustrating seeing the fish wag their tails at us and the wind not allow any kind of presentation at all. Especially with an old friend on board who I was really looking forward to showing some of the great sight fishing I’ve been doing lately. Actually saw fish in every spot I expected to see them, and a few I didn’t, but it was blowing so hard we couldn’t even make a cast until the boat was so close it shut the fish down. Pretty frustrating on that point. However, we did see a bunch of fish doing cool stuff in shallow water, so there’s that. Also, pimento cheese sandwich for lunch. Win!
It was incredible! No hyperbole at all.
Started out slowly. It was a high tide falling out, starting around 7 and ending around 1. Water was high when I got there so I was tossing a topwater plug. Worked through some familiar water with no bites. Decided to head up a back channel. As soon as I turned in, a nice fish slammed the Rapala Skitterwalk like it hadn’t seen anything better….well, ever. I was right on the edge of a strong current so the fish put up a good showing with some strong runs and good head shakes.
I kept on through the channels, casting the Skitterwalk, and got a couple more fish. Including one that brought it’sentire ehad out of the water when it chomped down on it. Then I saw one come up to it and turn and flip and totally freak out but not hit it. Then I realized that the water was getting shallower and I switched to my flyrod. At this time I was using my old Minn Kota trolling motor and standing on top of my Yeti cooler. I figured this would give me good visibility. It did… of the fish spooking as the prop of the motor would hit the sand. I was perplexed. I got out of the channel and back out onto a more open area with a big flat. I switched back to the Skitterwalk and almost immediately got another redfish. I also saw another fish with that one and realized that I needed to try flyfishing again. This time I kept the trolling motor put away and got out my old trusty Stiffy pushpole. This involves a complicated transferral of hands to push pole and rod when a fish is spotted, but you will see that it all come together on this day. Merely minutes later I saw a fish pushing minnows across the flat in about a foot of water. I eased on up towards it. I was able to just barely pick him out and laid a cast just past him. He saw the fly and rushed it then took off like a bonefish when he felt the hook! Awesome! Getting fish on topwater is fun but this is way better. I eased him on in and got a little video of his happiness when I released him:
Now it was game on. I noticed that a grass flat that is usually under three feet of water was about exposed and thought that might be a good place to check. It was. The fish were tailing on top of the turtle grass. Feeding on small shrimp or crabs. I spooked a couple before I finally put it all together. I actually had the push pole between my knees when I cast to this fish and he simply loved the little Critter Fly with the Flymen Fishing Company sculpin head:
It went on like this for the next two hours. I would spot a fish, switch the push pole to the fly rod, cast and the fish would happily slurp my fly. The water was amazingly clear and I could see everything as it happened. Since it was a big open flat, every fish took off into my backing.
I finished up with this fish and decided to get a selfie before I headed in as the tide had stopped moving and sometimes you have to decide when enough is enough. I had caught enough fish and was blessed to have had a day like I had:
What a day…