This weekend I finally made my way back. The "secret spot" did not disappoint. From the hours of 7 am to 11 am, I was absolutely surrounded by redfish. I cannot believe how many shots I had. There was a period of about an hour where I poled up a narrow branch of the bayou and spotted redfish literally every 15 yards. Some were cruising down with the tide, periodically crashing bait at the edge of the grass. Others were laid up on the edge of the channel, heads pointed into the current. It was nonstop action.
I had 6 eats and landed 4 on the day. Given how many fish I saw, I could have done a lot better. My conversion rate was abysmal. The great thing about having like 500 chances at fish in one day is that you learn a ton. It was like a whole season of fishing packed into one day.
|Why so crabby?|
My main excuse is that I was fishing solo from the skiff today. I fish for reds three different ways: kayak, two people in the boat, or alone in the boat. Having owned the skiff since March, I've learned that at my current skill level, it is easier to catch redfish from the kayak than from the boat. The biggest reason is that they simply spook much faster when you're in a boat. That's assuming there is a person poling and a person fishing in the boat. When its only you, it gets even harder. This was actually the first time I've managed to land a red in the boat by myself.
|Poling from the bow is the best option when going solo|
One of my big lessons from the day is about fishing in current. As I described earlier, I found a lot of redfish while poling up a narrow branch. The branch had a very defined channel (~3 - 4 ft deep) and shallow edges, with most of the redfish being spotted in the shallows right next to the drop off. The current was ripping through the channel, and I was usually trying to cast my crab fly from one side to the other. Many times, I cast the crab fly within a foot or two of the fish. As the fish turned to make a move on the fly, the fly would get pulled into the current. Instead of chasing it down, the fish would nonchalantly disappear into the depths as if they were able to sense something was amiss. I'm not sure what the takeaway is here. I didn't really solve the problem - I actually caught most of my fish in areas where the narrow branch opened up into a wide marsh pond. My ideas are casting further into the shallows, using a heavier fly, or using a minnow imitation which might look more natural swimming in the current.
Overall, it was still a wildly successful day in my opinion. The best development is that most of the fish I spotted were not breaching the surface in any way, which I depend on when kayak fishing. Instead, I was able to take advantage of the height of the boat and spot fish in the relatively clear water that can generally be found in the Mississippi marsh for the next few months. Its going to be a good winter.