I finally rolled out of bed and went about getting my kayak strapped down to my truck. The instant I stepped out of my garage, the chill hit me. I thought to myself, "I must be nuts." This can be said for all fly fisherman I think and since I wasn't enduring quite the extreme environment that steelhead fisherman experience, I think looking back, I was being a wuss.
I pulled up to the launch and began to get my gear ready. Not long after, my friend Brian (Michissippi Fly Author), pulled up with his kayak strapped to his truck. We unloaded and noticed off nearby, a flock of birds seemed to be working a spot nearby. We also noticed how low the tide was. The tide was out and the North wind that had chilled my bones had also blown the water out, causing the water to drop further beyond the typical tide. This turned our typical fishing destination into a giant mud pie. We couldn't have made it up in our normal spot with our kayaks even if we had wanted to.
After tip toeing into our kayaks to avoid getting any wetter than we had to, we were off. A few minutes later we were huddled up to the opposing shoreline, attempting to avoid the wind, working our way to the birds. We turned the corner of the bayou and the birds were up in a smaller branch. Upon entrance to the smaller branch, there was an immediate eruption and swirl on the water. This made me feel better; swirls typically mean redfish. We paddled further and suddenly on one of the exposed banks, a back emerged from the water to my right. A red back. A fish back. I went into hunter mode.
Brian was paddling to my rear and says to me, "I think there's redfish in this bayou." In my head I was giggling at this comment. Unfortunately I over paddled and drifted by the back and didn't get a shot at the fish. As I drifted back I snuck up on a red sitting in the shallows chasing shrimp. I saw him clear as crystal. He actually chased the fly I dangled in front of his nose, but spooked immediately once he saw my kayak!
Behind me, Brian targeted the fish I left and hooked up with him. He gave out a hoot as he began to get dragged through the bayou by the redfish.
Brian eventually landed the redfish for a nice trophy shot! Halfway through his fight, all I could think was geeze, just land him already so I can get a chance.
|Brian's First of Three!|
Five minutes after, the sediment I kicked up settled and shortly after, a v-wake appeared at the mouth of the inlet heading my way. As it moved, little shrimp fleeing the hungry predator popped out of the water. I prepped for the opportune moment. In the middle of the small channel, a seagull feather floated. As the v-wake approached, it stopped and swirls of a stopping fish continued in the direction the fish was headed. As I watched, the redfish surfaced to analyze the feather. It's back pierced the surface, it analyzed the feather, and after determining it was not food, he lowered. At this point I placed my fly. The wind stopped for just a second and the fly landed perfectly! After a small swirl the line shot out of my rod. Drag screamed as I tried to unbeach myself to take the tension off my line. I couldn't unbeach myself! The fish began to turn left down the next maze and I desperately struggled to unbeach myself. Grabbing my paddle, I swiftly shoved it down into the mud while holding my rod in the other. Slowly I slid as my weight shifted from being supported by the mud to being supported by the buoyant force of the water. The redfish continued to head down the maze. Suddenly the mud gave way and I was free. As I made ground on the lively redfish, my heart began to slow after that near close call. The redfish made two or three more spirited runs with me in pursuit before I lipped the fish and placed him in my lap. Victory.
|This fish likes feathers.|
To make the situation even better, the fly I was using was an original fly I tied myself to impersonate a shrimp. I'd had good luck blind casting it in the surf out front, but I hadn't had the opportunity to try it yet on tailing redfish. After having several shots with other flies that weren't original designs leading up to this fish, it was great to switch over to my fly and have it get gobbled up by a hungry redfish shortly there after.
I continued to fight the wind and the reeds which were more difficult to work with than typical due to the extremely low tide. I managed one more hook up with a redfish that spit the hook and also landed a very tiny flounder that happened to snag itself.
At first, I was very mad. All the fish I saw and I only managed to hook one. The one fish does make for one great story though and when I got all my gear put away and my kayak hung in my garage I had to smile. The fish rose, looked at a feather, and then ate my fly and gave me a fantastic ride. I caught an October Red which I had been wanting to do since I picked up a fly rod for the first time last year. It still is amazing to me that what is a normal weekend activity for me, people pay hundreds of dollars to do. I also did it on my new fly rod to boot. Once the sun came up, it actually was a pretty nice day on the water. I also learned that if you get a good north wind, its going to cause the tide to fall a little more which is good for the redfish. This gives me warm and fuzzies for my Thanksgiving and Christmas Break.
I'm sure shortly, Michissippi Fly will have a nice post on this trip from Brian. Check it out!