Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Corny title, I know.  Two weekends ago, I finally got out on the kayak to do some sightfishing.  Due to a late start and the increasingly earlier sunset, I only had about an hour to fish by the time I actually paddled to my spot.  Wouldn't you know I saw more feeding redfish than I've ever seen in my life.  There were multiple occasions where I could see three crawlers at the same time.  It was insane.  The most insane part?  I didn't catch any.  I had one eat, and a bad hook set resulted in a spit hook.  It was a combination of bad luck, bad casting, and some spoiled fish that wouldn't eat anything unless it bonked them on the nose.  I ended up leaving the fish, still crawling in mere inches of water, in order to get back to the launch with some daylight left.

The missed redfish haunted me all week.  I knew what I had to do to treat my condition.  I had to catch a redfish.

My buddy Aaron and I checked out the tides and decided to meet up Sunday morning.  The predicted tide looked decent, but I was slightly concerned that it wasn't quite low enough.  On my way to the launch, my fears were quickly allayed and reversed!  A large area of marsh that is typically underwater lay completely exposed, a small channel of water running through the mud.  I realized that the strong north wind that had been blowing all weekend was producing, in essence, the opposite of a storm surge - probably a familiar concept for most coastal fisherman, but new to me.  With the water level down at least a foot from predicted levels, we were forced to abandon our planned destination and opted to paddle into a bayou we'd never explored.

With our typical sightfishing locations seeing less than optimal conditions (no water...), this place was experiencing perfect conditions.  We immediately spotted redfish crawling along the bank, squirming in what is typically more than a foot of water but was now only a few inches.  I spotted one approaching casting range on my right.  It took me a few casts to get the fly close enough, but my third cast landed a picture perfect three inches in front of his face.  No hesitation: fish on!

Did I mention it was cold?  By Mississippi standards anyway...
After a spirited fight, Aaron snapped a picture for me, and then we split up and went into full redfish hunting mode.  In a few minutes I saw another redfish crawling in some extremely skinny water across a sand bar from me.  I paddled straight for it, conveniently beaching myself on the sand bar.  Fish #2!

I kept heading further up the bayou, and I kept seeing fish!  I had one coming straight for me that I spooked, but in a matter of seconds, I spotted the silhouette of another fish (or possibly the same one) just under the surface.  The water was clear enough to allow limited visibility even from a kayak.  The nicest red of the day ate on the first cast.


He/she was particularly fat presumably from the huge amount of shrimp that were in the bayou.  In fact, you could tell when a redfish was on the move because a line of shrimp would jump out of the water wherever the fish swam.

After that I spotted a couple more fish, and lost one after a brief battle.  From there the action cooled down and we called it a day.  And a great day it was.

Be sure to check out Aaron's blog as he's got a couple recent posts up, including his report on this trip.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Back in Action

 So I'm sitting at work anxiously waiting for the clock to hit 5:00, and my buddy Aaron sends me a picture.  Its a redfish that he just caught wading off the beach.  That's it, I thought, I'm going fishing tonight.

The past few months have been crazy busy for me, and fishing has been put on the back burner.  My few short fishing outings have been relatively uneventful, and I have not once had the opportunity to get out on  the kayak and stalk some redfish, despite this being an excellent time of year for that.  Meanwhile, my buddy has been tearing it up this fall (although not documenting much of it in his blog).  It was time for me to ignore my responsibilities and just go fishing.

When I showed up,  Aaron had already landed several flounder in addition to the redfish.  He just needed a speckled trout to complete a Mississippi slam.  It only took me a few casts to get on the board.

From that point on, I could do no wrong.  Every cast resulted in a hit and most resulted in a hookup.  Oddly, I had on the wispiest little Clouser, stripped of the majority of its bucktail by previous fish.  I've heard that sparsely tied flies are sometimes the best ones, and I may have to experiment a little more on this theory.

In the midst of countless speckled trout, I managed to land a few small redfish as well.

Since I was used to the feel of a speckled trout, every time I hooked a redfish, I thought for a moment I had a real big one on.  Redfish fight so much harder than comparatively sized specks.

Aaron managed to complete his slam, and even added a couple white trout (super slam?).  We ended the evening throwing gurglers in the dying light.  It was hilarious to see specks shoot completely out of the water, flipping head over tail, after missing Aaron's gurgler.

It was a great evening of simple, fantastic fishing.  Wade fishing from the beach here in Mississippi can be a feast or famine experience.  This feast has re-energized me to do more fishing.  It doesn't have to be a day-long kayak trip to a secret location.  It can be simple as fishing from the beach for an hour or two after work.  I'll gladly go through a few evenings empty handed for another evening like this.