Monday, May 28, 2012

Tearin' It Up

This weekend, a morning trip to the marsh resulted in a repeat performance of last week, only better.  I set off for my "secret spot" around 7:00 am on Saturday.  Like last weekend, the tide was rising, but high tide was much later in the day meaning the mud flats I had been fishing would only have a couple inches of water on them.  This had me concerned that the fish wouldn't be up on the flats yet, and that I'd have to wait several hours, but the shallow water ended up working to my advantage.

In this section of the marsh, there are small branches off the main bayou that open up into large, shallow ponds.  I entered the first pond and slowly crept along the shallow edge, literally dragging my kayak through the mud in spots. My first shot came when I noticed a redfish cruising slowly along the bank.  It had its back and dorsal fin sticking out of the water!  I've read about this, but this was the first time I'd ever seen it.  The wind was whipping up small waves that made the fish surprisingly difficult to spot.  The fish was very close and spooked as soon as I raised my rod to cast.  After that I spotted several more finning fish from a distance, but they disappeared by the time I moved within casting range.  Changing my approach, I essentially beached myself in the mud and waited for the fish to come to me.  It didn't take a long time before I noticed a redfish feeding behind me, disturbing the surface of the water and chasing bait along the edge of the pond.  One backwards cast and he was on.  The fight that followed was quite entertaining because the water was so shallow, he was wallowing in the mud more than he was swimming.

A small, muddy redfish

After a period with no luck I moved onto the next pond.  Immediately I noticed a disturbance near the edge that didn't look super likely but was worth a cast. One cast resulted in an explosion.  This one took off like a racehorse. After several spirited and exciting minutes, I brought a 24 inch beast to hand.  My biggest redfish to date!  From what I read and hear, 24 inches is about the biggest redfish you'll find in the Mississippi marsh this time of year.

Most redfish I hoist into the kayak by grabbing them with one hand around the middle.  This one was too fat to get a good grip, and I had to tail him to bring him in.  He was so big I found it difficult to take a picture of him.  I could barely hold him with one hand, and I had to lean back to get his entire length in the shot.  This is where a fishing partner would have come in handy, but for some reason nobody seems to want to get up at 6:30 am on Saturdays...  At least now I have some motivating pictures.

After soaking up the glorious moment for a while I went back to work, poling along the most productive mud flat I know in the marsh.  Immediately, I saw 3 fish cruising in the shallow water, all of them making small wakes to indicate their presence.  My first cast wasn't super accurate but got the attention of the lead fish, which followed but did not take.  I picked up the cast and set it back down right on his nose.  He grabbed the fly before it even touched the water (slight exaggeration).  This one wallowed in the mud for a few moments before reaching deeper water and taking off like a rocket.  I was giggling like a little kid - this was too much fun.

And with that I decided to start back to the launch so I could meet up with some friends and play disc golf.  What a great way to start a day.  Why can't every day be like this?

Redfish have see-through tails...


  1. Are you standing when you cast in that sit-in? If not, is it difficult to get the line out of the cockpit?

    1. I'm sitting down when I cast - its not wide enough to stand in. I haven't found it to be too difficult to get the line out of the cockpit, but I'm mostly making very short casts (like 20 - 30 ft), so it actually doesn't require that much line even being out.