Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Luck be a Lady...

That past two weekends were chock full of activity.  Some were fishing, but most was drinking insane amounts of beer, much to my dismay.

Last weekend my roommate's friends from Georgia came into town and we drank...till 5 am on Friday Night. Poor life decision? I have no qualms with people who partake in alcohol from time to time, but in this case, I had made early plans to go look for redfish tails in one of Brian and I's secret spots. This was a poor life decision. 

I woke up dazed, confused, and fully aware of the previous evenings events.  I gathered my fishing gear and loaded the kayak into the truck and was off. Brian, who has sense moved out in preparation for his marraige, met me at the launch.  I sucked down a Capri Sun and a bottle of water (Capri Sun was left over from the previous evening's "Capri-la" Tequila Shooters) and we were off. I was hung over.

As I battled the hangover, each paddle seemed to taunt me. The bayou opened up into Brian and I's favorite marsh and we began to search.  As my brain throbbed, redfish tails and feeding frenzy's eluded me.  Off in one of the bayou offshoots I noticed some surface activity. Must have been the sensitivity to light and sound...

I tossed my supreme hair shrimp at the swirl and instantly there was a slurp on the surface.  Suddenly a missile shot out of the water and spit my hook. I found a lady fish.  No luck, payback by the fishing gods for thinking that I could kayak fish with a hangover.  Off to my right, another swirl within casting distance. I once again placed the shrimp near the shore and this time, a bigger lady fish took. This one decided to stay hooked. After a lively fight (I thought I had found a Baby Tarpon bastion, which would be the first I heard of in Mississippi) I landed him and got a few shots.

I'm not hungover...

This day produced no redfish.  They were there, but the tides were higher than typical and even low tide wasn't low enough. Also, the previous week was wet and rainy; no doubt reducing the salinity and sending the bait that had been in the bayou previously out into the Mississippi Sound. Honestly though, I think this was the lesson the fish god's have tried to teach me before.  Late night drinking and early morning fishing typically don't mix, unless you get a lady to take your shrimp. Yes I went there.

This past weekend, I went to Ellijay, Georgia at the base of the Appalachian Mts. We stayed approximately 10 miles from the trail head for the Appalachian Trail, on the Coosawattee River. The cabin was amazing and we celebrated Brian's Bachelor party.

As would be expected at a Bachelor Party, I spent the weekend intoxicated or hungover, which once again caused my plan to have a successful story to post from the Coosawattee to go awry. I managed to catch two small bluegill in a slow moving pool on the river. Sorry, no pictures.  There was, however, a foe swimming in the Coosawattee that I am traveling to Michigan to try my hand at.  After walking up on the Golden Ghost, I got an opportunity to see how spooky they can be, which I think will be a valuable lesson during my travels.

Thursday, I travel home to try to get an opportunity to land a Carp on the flyrod. Blog posts to come.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


So I spend my day typically designing ships. Big ones. I like my job and most days, I stay pretty busy. The problem with a job where you spend your whole day designing big things that operate in the ocean is that when you are fish crazy, you tend to digress.

Well today, one of my digressions led my roommate and coworker, who's currently in the slow process of moving out, to ask me, "How come you stopped posting on your blog?"

I didn't have a very good answer. This was my opportunity to show my friends, family, and anybody else who might be interested in the kind of fishing we do on the Mississippi Gulf Coast to get a taste of how lucky I am. I was even more surprised when he stated that the blog he currently is very active on writing used to have a link to my blog. He must have liked my posts, they must not have been crap.

Needless to say this inspired me.  Why don't I post anymore?  Good question. I haven't stopped fishing, and I even have my own personal notebook where I record my fishing trips. You know the technical stuff like tides, temperature, location fish, etc.

Anyways, this is my return since I believe it's important to showcase the outdoors and the activities that I love so much. Even more, my closest fishing buddy and roommate is moving out and getting married and suddenly I realize, it's not going to be as easy for him to just grab his kayak and go fishing whenever we want to like it has been the last year and a half. Now he'll have to ask permission to go fishing, and for that reason I think posting on a blog is something that will allow us to share stories when we're not fishing together.  It's weird how blogging about fishing connects you to so many other people around the world. Anyways...

I'll REstart off by talking about a secret spot.  It's a special spot.  A spot of wonders. A spot of miracles. It's the spot I hit with my room mate a short while back.  He offered to take me and I promised I would only use my fly rod.

This blog started off as a blog about fly fishing and the major reason I hated writing on it was that I wasn't catching fish fly fishing. And by in large, fly fishing has been amazingly difficult and frustrating for me. This trip restored my faith and my understanding of why catching a tailing redfish in the bayou on a fly rod is magical.

Brian and I put our kayaks in and paddled through the winding bayou. I was amazed that as we entered the mouth, a crab boat with an outboard cut up and into the bayou, a peculiar choice for a deep draft outboard boat.  Leave it to the locals though, they know these bayous better than anyone.

As we paddled the bayou opened up into a pond (local expression that confuses me to this day, in Michigan, a pond is a huge mud puddle, this is just a bayou marsh). As we entered, Brian and I parted ways. I couldn't help but notice the similarities to two hunters parting ways for their remote deer stand or turkey blind. He was soon out of sight and out of mind. The sun was barely over the tree tops. As I paddled, I suddenly realized Brian had found in this spot what I had been hoping to see since I picked up my fly rod.


There must have been a dozen redfish tails sticking out of the water out in front of me.  I began to shake, similar to when a big flock of geese circle around in response to your calling.  I stopped breathing and prepared my fly rod to cast. Lift...backcast....crap.  I'm was so excited that i tangled my leader on the first cast.  I spent the next 15 minutes untangling my leader, while explosions of feeding redfish seemed to concentrate in the area directly around my kayak.

I paddled and caught back up to my roommate who was concentrating on a fish of his own. He motioned with his hands the size of the fish he just missed with his gurgler and continued to cast.  Suddenly, a golden back appeared a short distance ahead of Brian.  I positioned my kayak and made a false cast at that golden back that I knew belonged to a redfish with an Ultra Shrimp I had tied the night before.  The shaking had subsided and given way to urgency and determination.  I got the fly airborne and managed to get it to him in three false casts. This is not a typical feat for me. I take 4 or 5.  The fly landed just in front of his head.  One strip, Two Strip...BOIL. HE SAW IT. HE FOLLOWED. The take was epic.  Success. 

He made two beautiful runs, causing my drag to whine and my blood to rush.  Their strength is so impressive.  A largemouth this size would not pull like him.  After a tug of war lasting approximately 15 minutes, I was able to successfully land him for my trophy pic. 

This isn't a big redfish. I don't claim it to be.  But, sometimes the littlest fish can restore your enthusiasm and give you hope and motivation that yes, one day, you could actually be half way decent at something so difficult as fly fishing. Notice the fish hitting in the background of the last picture. There were more in the bayou and after a few more hours, I managed to get one more follow on a topwater popper.  Lesson learned there, redfish are clumsy and foolish surface feeders.  I amazingly hooked two lady fish whose wild acrobatics resulted in spit hooks both times.  It was a good day though, because sometimes a guy needs to be reminded why he loves what he loves.

I caught this fish and then my roommate had to go and trump me...


Either way, starting this blog was a good idea a year and a half ago. I shouldn't have stopped. I already feel better knowing this article will be posted for everybody shortly. I'll try not to wait a year and a half to post again.