Thursday, July 12, 2012

Epic Sightfishing - Sunday

Saturday night found my buddy and me anxiously preparing flies for a highly anticipated trip to the "new spot" the next morning.  My buddy tied up some shrimp and crab patterns.  I attempted to recreate the gurglers I had seen in topwater redfish videos.  To that end, I went to Walmart and found some sheets of craft foam that looked like just the ticket.  The lady at the checkout asked what I was doing with the foam, and I replied, "making fishing lures."  She laughed and said, "Get down with your bad self." 

We got down with our bad selfs bright and early Sunday morning.  We booked it from the launch as the place is a multi-mile paddle.  I couldn't wait to show off the new spot and see if the magic would repeat itself.  Long story short, it did.

Within minutes of arriving, I saw several tailing redfish.  I got the attention of one of them and was rewarded with a huge explosion.  I proceeded to break off on the hookset.  ASlkdfjiwoefj!  Not only was I angry about losing the fish, but also about already losing one of the gurglers I had tied the night before.  Crazily, a few minutes later I spotted something small and red floating on the surface of the water.  It looked like a piece of foam.  It looked like a gurgler.  It was my gurgler!  

Meanwhile, my buddy spotted a fish with its back out of the water.  HIs new shrimp pattern was just the ticket.  Redfish on!

The redfish in this bayou are extremely dark compared to all other redfish I've seen.  I absolutely love how their appearance varies based on habitat.  The redfish I've caught out at the barrier islands and near the coast tend to be more pale and silvery in color.  Fish caught in other sections of the marsh tend to have a beautiful gold color.  These ones are more of a dark bronze.  It must have something to do with the clear water and dark, weedy bottom, but I can't say for sure.

The day continued with lots of action.  We saw tails, backs, and wakes galore.  I must have had 5 hits and no hook ups.  Setting the hook while popper or gurgler fishing can be tough.  With a Clouser, I often just strip once to twitch the fly and then watch the fish to suck it down before strip setting.  However, with a popper, the fish will often hit and miss and you have to keep the fly in the strike zone as well as keep stripping to continue the action.  This can make timing the strip set very awkward.  With the first fish of the day, I felt the take on one strip and tried to set it with another one.  This was too late as he was already bolting with fly in his mouth - an easy way to snap your tippet.  Another time I got too excited and lifted the rod like I was trout fishing.  This pulled the fly out of the strike zone and didn't give the fish a second chance.  Even when I didn't screw up, the fish still missed.  But I knew it was only a matter of time.  

Unfortunately, time was against me.  I had arranged to watch the Wimbledon final with a friend in the afternoon.  With less than 30 minutes before I had to start paddling back, I spotted a wake.  It was headed diagonally toward me.  My cast wasn't perfect - it landed several feet in front of him - but I knew right away he was on to it.  Strip, strip, strip, strip, WHAM!  Fish on!

It was another big one.  He took me on a journey, weaving in and out of patches of grass.  Several times he propelled my kayak into the grass at the edge of the marsh.  But eventually, I brought him in.  Sweet victory. 

This one was 27" - my 3rd largest of the year.


  1. Gorgeous fish! Looks like I'm gonna have to make a trip over there haha

    1. No joke man, I'd be glad to show you around!

  2. Nice to see you keep at it. Sight fishing is challenging. Great pics and darn nice fish!

    1. Thanks! Its challenging but worth the effort.