Saturday, February 23, 2013

Oil Slicks

As I told many of you on my last blog post, I joined the Historic Ocean Springs Fly Fishing Club (HOSSFLY) last month.  Its a group of guys that get together monthly to discuss all things fly fishing related in the area.  I was briefly a member two years ago and stopped going. Turns out that I fished against the president of the club during my tournament win in the fall and he was very adamant during our captains meeting that I join the club.

I went to the meeting in February during which they had the president from the nonprofit organization On Wings of Care.  Bonny Schumaker, president of the organization, is the pilot of one of the planes that are regularly used by the organization and an ex-NASA employee.  In the last few weeks, if you've followed the news, oil sheen was found near the deepwater horizon wreck which caused the Coast Guard to have BP re-investigate the Macondo blowout for leakage.  That was Bonny's doing.  She has become Public Enemy Number 1 for BP.  She does aerial surveillance in the Gulf of Mexico and regularly finds oil slicks and sheens, files sighting reports to the appropriate governing organization, which causes problems for owners of drilling rigs.  She had pictures from Pascagoula just down the road of an oil slick from the 2010 disaster that was here today, gone tomorrow. How close in was BP really using those dispersants? Who knows. On Wings of Care is a non-profit that runs on donations, and if you're feeling charitable, maybe you can give them a few dollars for fuel and maintenance of their aircraft at their website.  I also think it's important to see that just because the news isn't covering it, doesn't mean the problems suddenly have ceased to exist.

Taken from On Wings of Care Website, 2-23-2012.  Shows the Deepwater Horizon Wreck Area on 1-27-2013. Slicks 7 nm long and 1 mile wide were found.    

I have a very complicated view on these companies that I care not to get into on this blog, but I will say this.  Industries like this need a sort of checks and balances from non biased parties to make sure they are doing their job safely and with minimal impact on the environment.  And I don't trust Uncle Sam enough to make sure that happens. This is my only sway into politics, I promise.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dead of Winter

From my earlier blog posts, you'd get the idea that the fishing around the Gulf Coast stays pretty regular throughout the year.  Well, that's definitely not the case.  It's that time of year where your early morning alarm clock rings to go fishing, you roll over to check the weather forecast, and, more times than not, you roll back over and turn the alarm clock off.  For about a month now, the temperatures rarely climb above the lower sixties and the water temperatures reflect that.  The reds still stage in the shallows, but they seem to be more opportunistic.  They sit in cuts and channels and ambush passing prey.  From the vantage point close to the water in the kayaks, it's very difficult to pinpoint their positions and more difficult to catch them

Because of this, Michissippi Fly and myself planned a trip to Pensacola to target Little Tunny (Bonita, False Albacore) in the surf. That trip was a complete bust fishing wise.  Although a little cool, we still managed to enjoy the time we spent with the ladies in our life.

This little guy came right into camp, no worries whatsoever! Could have captured him, but I didn't want leperacy.

We also did some prospecting up in Moss Point, MS.  Every time I drive east on I-10 past Moss Point, there is a particular stretch of water that I have been wanting to check for tailing reds. We decided to get a late start and go up that way and check it out.  I saw several fish and had several legitimate shots at catching them.  My accuracy was not spot on that day and I ran into a problem I never had before. The redfish were drawn to that spot because of the endless sprawl of downed limbs and lumber that held bait.  However, if you did not place your fly directly upon the fish or near by, two or three strips would cause a snag which would then spook the fish.  It wasn't my day to catch a fish, which I realized when what seemed like a perfect cast hurled over and as the loop unfurled, the wind caught the fly and sent it barreling into a nearby log. The subsequent thud alerted the drum (unsure if it was black or red) and sent him barreling to the deep channel nearby.

Shoeless in Moss Point
From that trip, I decided I needed to add a weedless slightly weighted fly to my arsenal.  I modified the well known borski slider to be a bit more grungy looking based off an online recipe and this was the result. (Planning on a recipe soon to come.)

I got to test it out today in a spot between Pascagoula and Gautier and picked up this little rat.  I'm hoping that I can catch some bigger ones up in Moss Point next time I get the opportunity. Other pictures from this trip are below.

I struggle with this blog sometimes.  I feel obligated to post successful fishing trips regularly and when I don't I get frustrated. That's just not fishing though, is it?  If the trips were successful each time, everybody would fish and love it. You have to find the bright side to all such situations so you can keep coming back for the good times. My bright sides are as follows. My proficiency with my new GoPro Camera is increasing as I get closer to my goal of a video edit of my fishing trips catching tailing reds.  I found some new places to fish that should produce when the weather gets better and supply great shots of tails in the fall for my edits. I also have taken the down time to hit the vise and learn a new pattern which will help for new "terrains" where redfish may be hiding.  Finally, I joined the local saltwater fly fishing club, The Historic Ocean Springs Fly Fishing Club (HOSSFLY) at the recommendation of one of the fly fisherman I fished against in my tournament win this fall.  I think this will provide me several new opportunies and help me network and pick up some new friends and local fishing knowledge.

While I was on my kayak today, I chatted Michissippi's ear off on everything.  It made me realize something. I have a lot to say and have learned a good bit since I've started fly fishing.  Tying recipes, opinion columns and gear reviews, tactics, and general opinion type posts will be put up for your viewing pleasure.  Please stay tuned.  I'm very excited about where I want to take this blog.