Category Archives: redfish

Why Firsts Are The Best:

Recently, the family and i loaded up and headed north to Charleston to meet up with other friends and attend an annual social event hosted by Flood Tide Co.

I’ve been friends with the founders of the lifestyle brand for years and it makes going to the event more like a family reunion.

While in Charleston there are a multitude of amazing places to eat, drink and generally enjoy yourself.  We made sure to take full advantage.

The first that is referred to in the title came for my friend Marc.  He had never fished a flooded spartina grass meadow for tailing redfish, so it was a priority to give him a shot to cross off a bucket list item.

Despite being windier than most would like, we found a couple of kindred souls willing to brave the gale and swell on the Wando River on Friday morning.

We powered through sporty conditions as the wind and tide worked against each other, stacking up chop that at times made me wonder why we had ignored the small craft advisory.

Once we made our way far enough up the river, leeward shorelines welcomed us.

Marc took the bow of my skiff and we started our search.

His wonder and excitement was palpable.  It was truly special to see his wonder and amazement as we pushed along over a meadow that had only hours before been high and dry.

We finally spotted a redfish tailing and maneuvered into position for a cast.  The ending was less than favorable thanks to a “trout set”.

With a mistake behind us, we found another fish and began what would turn into a 8- 10 minute game of cat and mouse as the fish would appear and disappear in the grass, moving along in search of prey with zero clue as to our presence.

The pace got a bit frenetic as the wayward redfish moved steadily towards us.  Casts were going long, wide, short; pretty much everywhere they could without being in the “spa” they needed to be.

In response to my suggestion; “hit it on the head…” Marc’s fly dropped by the fish’s left eye, maybe 3 inches away.  The response by the redfish was a definitive surge to inhale the crab.

And, just like that, Marc had his first Lowcountry redfish on the fly.

We had a hard time wiping the smiles off our face the rest of the day.

Firsts do that to a man.

 

 

IFTD 2015 – Playing Hookie on Day 3

After spending two days at the Flood Tide Company booth, I ducked out to film a little with Catch 1 Films on the home water; Mosquito Lagoon.

ONE: mosquito lagoon

Its always great to spend time on the water with friends.  Being able to relive the moments in film is priceless.

 

 

 

 

 

Life Gets In The Way

The past weeks have been busy ones.  Aside from the usual things that make up a normal day, I’ve found myself working hard advocating for a skatepark to be built in the town where I live.  My son skates & loves it.  The lessons it teaches him, I love.

You would think that by 2015, elected officials would be more receptive to providing a fair shake to all sports.  Despite being globally popular and skateboarding being the second fastest growing sport in the US, the idea of a skatepark still scares a lot of politicians.

At any rate, I’ve still found a few minutes here and there to fish and by and large its been great.  The bass and redfish along the Space Coast of Florida have been obliged to tussle, and for that, I’m thankful.

Though the writing here on Salt Bum had slowed, I was still putting thoughts on paper.  Check out my latest ramblings in the Spring editions of The Drake Magazine and Southern Culture On The Fly.

Drake Spring 2015

SCOF Spring 2015

 

Restraint

Its on.  There is plenty of social media chatter regarding the onslaught of shoreline cruisers along the Space Coast.  The buzz is confirmed, get out there.  Light flies, natural colors; you’re welcome.

 

I’ve been putting in a good bit of time plying the Mosquito Lagoon over the past couple of weeks.  When the opportunity presented, I took a few moments to simply enjoy the view.

 

 

On one of those recent afternoons I had the pleasure of spending part of my day with T.J. Saunders doing work from the front of the skiff.  If you ever find yourself visiting Tampa and need a guide, look him up:

Lucky Fly Charters

He is a masterful fly tier, if you need some tasty crustaceans or baitfish patterns, he’s your man.

After Equinox – LC Journal

There is something about the south that draws you in and wraps its arms around you in a big comforting hug.  From the mountains of appalachia where Southern Culture On The Fly is composed and published to the marshes of the Lowcountry where Flood Tide Co. calls home, there is a vibe that invites you into the fold like a long lost brother who’s home for the weekend.

Every time a new video drops, you know its going to be sweeter than molasses.

After Equinox is no exception

LC Journal – Doug Roland

 

Bahamas Style: Redfish On Fly

Until this week, I’ve always thought there was only one place to go to enjoy wading for redfish in a place that evokes the feeling of bonefishing a Bahamas flat.  A few years ago it was the Lower Laguna Madre of Southwest Texas where I had experienced it for the first time.

The Gulf Islands National Seashore is also just such a place.  Recently I spent the better part of 3.5 hours walking the shoreline there looking for redfish in gin clear water over hard sand bottom.  The set-up is identical to what you normally see reserved for bonefish.  My timing was off, I was there on an extremely high tide, so I passed on wading and remained on the narrow ribbon of beach along the water’s edge.  Nonetheless, I saw a handful of redfish, all solitary hunters, that were plying the same shoreline.  This time they were a bit too wary of my offerings and all of the shots I took ended without a hook-up, despite a couple of promising follows.

There are literally miles of flats available.  Hard sand bottom with sparse sea grasses stretch on from horizon to horizon.

The idea of spending time on the Redneck Riviera has grown in appeal by significant digits.

For now, I’ll carry the panhandle skunk back home with me, but rest assured, I’ll return again with a sharper plan and better timing.  I love bonefishing, I love it even more when the expected gray ghost is actually a copper rocket.

Wading The Flood Tide in North Florida

While its often the South Carolina Lowcountry that is top of mind when talking about flood tide opportunities for redfish in flooded spartina.  The flats of St. Augustine and Jacksonville up through Fernandina are also prime for stalking redfish up in the grass.

 

Whether you choose to fish from a skiff or wade, its some of the most rewarding flyfishing that you’ll experience.

Here is a little taste of the North Florida good life from GShank on Vimeo.

 

Gotta love the marching fiddlers.  Excellent shots!

Flood Tide – Mosquito Lagoon Edition

The lunar influence on the tides around Mosquito Lagoon are measurable, but unlike the tides of the spartina flats to the north it is a sustained level that impacts the estuary more so than the periodic incoming and outgoing tide cycle.

Fishing the flooded spartina in St. Augustine and Jacksonville is no doubt a worthwhile experience, but there are “flood” opportunities in Mosquito Lagoon. One of the most readily accessible of these atypical high water season fishing areas is manmade.

Over past decades the quest for control of salt marsh mosquitoes lead to the digging of many ditches across the entire lagoon to reduce breeding habitat. More recently, there has been an ongoing effort to remove the unintended consequence of this work, artificial upland areas created by piling spoil adjacent to the cuts.

Use Google Maps to locate remediated ditch lines where water is now allowed to sheet along the marsh and on high tides you will find redfish meandering along in the mangrove shoots looking for an unsuspecting crab or mosquito fish.

A Differing Approach

Tailing redfish are extremely fun to target when sight fishing. Depending on the type of bottom they are feeding over, they can also be frustrating beyond belief to feed successfully.

One of the reasons for it in thick grass is the fact that their vision is impaired by the grass itself.

The next time you’re experiencing apparent refusals, keep in mind it may simply be that the fly is not being seen.

Switching to a top water fly may be contrary to conventional wisdom, but it works.

Cast a foot or two ahead of the direction the fish is feeding and wait for it to move. A couple of subtle strips is usually all it takes to get their immediate attention and you find yourself clearing line and getting on the reel.

The fall lunar cycle is piling water up inshore, now more than ever, you might consider this different approach to tailers. It could spell the difference between success and failure.