Monday, July 9, 2012

Epic Sightfishing - Saturday

I tied on the popper and started paddling around looking for tails.  I spotted one and approached.  The popper landed directly in front of it - no change in behavior.  The redfish slowly meandered across my field of vision.  I put the popper in front of him again.  Nothing.  The tail changed in direction and I could tell that it was now headed away from me.  Against my better judgment, I cast the popper all the way over the fish and popped it right back over his head.  This time I watched as the fish rose up to the surface, slowly turned around, and started following the fly.  In slow motion, his giant head bulged the surface of the water like a submarine, and in one mighty explosion, he attacked the fly.  He missed, but in a matter of seconds, my fishing life was changed forever.  Never have I experienced such a rush.

Saturday morning produced several moments like this.  In the end, I only managed to hook one fish.  But it was a big one.  I remember saying in a previous post that a 24" redfish is probably the biggest you'll find in the marsh this time of year.  Haha what a joke.  This guy was 29".

Let me just take a moment to complain about the size of fish I've been catching recently.  Its become increasingly difficult to take quality pictures of these fish.  Simply holding the camera in front of my face like normal doesn't allow me to fit the whole fish in the picture.

I have to either hold the camera over my head...

or off to the side of my head.

I know, life is rough...

I literally stopped fishing at this point and just soaked up the moment.  The fish were still there, but I didn't care.  I got out some water and snacks, and it wasn't till a tail popped up 10 ft to my left that I couldn't resist and scrambled to get my rod out again.  That one got away, and I paddled back to the launch after the activity cooled off.

The cause of this epic topwater sightfishing is that I finally made the decision to give the "secret spot" a rest and try another place that I'd been scoping out via google earth.  It turns out this new spot is even better.  I hadn't seen a tailing fish since last November, but this weekend I saw many, many tailing redfish.  I guess there is just something about this spot that encourages it.  The new spot is unlike anywhere I've paddled on the coast.   Deep, deep, into the marsh, the water is clear, and the bottom is covered in weeds.  All of the marshy places I've fished before in Mississippi have had fairly mirky water with bare mud bottoms.  The weeds are what prompted a switch from my trusty old Clouser minnow to a small popper - the only thing high enough to not get tangled.

I've watched videos of redfish taking topwater flies (like this one from R.A. Beattie) but up to this point I'd never experienced it myself.  I even recall a local fly fisherman telling me that redfish don't feed on the top as their mouths are designed to feed on the bottom.  Now that I've experienced it myself, I can truly say that fishing for redfish on the surface is the most exciting fishing I've ever done.  It might not be the most effective method - they seem to miss a lot - but I'll gladly trade a few redfish brought to hand for the adrenaline rush of a big red chasing a topwater fly.

I could go on and on about this spot, but I'm going to save that for another post.  After all, I went there on Sunday too!


  1. I've never caught Reds on a topwater fly, but I know they're a hoot with topwater lures. Awesome that you found them tailing!