Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mid January 2013 Redfishing

Redfish Bogagrip
Redfishing around New Orleans

Wow what a great day in the Biloxi marsh. The winds were brutal the sky was partly cloudy and all looked bleak leaving the launch. We were hitting 1 foot white caps in Bayou La Loutre. I first stopped to check some clear water for that east wind direction no fish anywhere. After 30 minuets or so I had resided to chat up Jeffery S because I feared this half day trip was in vein. The wind was so high I had to continually idle up wind just to stay close to banks that may have had 5 feet of calm water next to them for 10 yards. The tide should have fallen to 0 but instead rose at an unbelievable rate. The water was into the grass before the sun was high enough to illuminate 15 feet past the boat. I knew I had to change tactics and find areas small enough to pole. I picked a small pond and saw a few nice fish as they hauled ass from the boat like we had leprosy. Every time JS raised his rod to cast it looked like he had thrown a stone at the fish. I eventually had to go down wind in drains holding deep water.

Boom Shaka lacka. There was a nice 10 lb fish in the mouth of the drain. JS shot was off but at least we now had hope. The next fish I saw was a monster guarding the gate to a drain. I called the fish at the 11 o clock position 50 feet. JS did not pick it up at first but then made a fine cast. The fish ate but JS missed the strike. I called a second fish but JS went back for the first. To my surprise the bull ate again. It was on like donkey kong. JS never had a redfish near that big. I screamed for a better hook set and JS stuck that big boy. After and average fight for a 27 lb fish I hand landed her to Boga grip for pics. I turned the boat and polled Tring to go back upwind and blew downwind into a nest of nice reds. Mud puffs went everywhere as the fish scattered into deeper water. Oh well.
I idled back upwind and did everything I could to keep the boat on the calmer bank. Big fish after big fish blew out. I think the wind was just too much for the 8wt St Croix because JS never got upwind enough to properly present the fly.

I changed tactics again to better position my caster. The water was so high now I went over an oyster reef flat that is usually inaccessible. Fish scattered like someone hit a hornets nest with a baseball. Still no eaters. The winds fell below 20 kts so I tried a downwind bank that always holds fish. Two 20+ lb fish were under the boat before I was even on my platform. Scanning as far as I could I picked up 2 more good reds at 40 ft. JS saw one and took a shot. The wind was still rough and the shot was short. His next shot actually hit him in the back but landed perfectly in front of the fish that was now way to close for comfort. The fish ate so close JS could not set the hook at first. Luck was on his side as the fish made a strong run allowing a line set. Another 20 lb redfish landed for his moment of fame in front of the camera.

JS had to get to a meeting for 2 pm so time was basically out. The water was so high I ran to shallowest area I could before the clock struck 12. Boy It did not take long for JS to call his own monster red. I did all I could to stop the boat but that damn wind was too strong. JS made a perfect cast on his first attempt. The fish ate aggressively and quickly had JS into backing. Most big boys fight but this was an exceptional 28 lb competitor. It probably took a good 20 minuets before I touched the leader. Several clicks of camera and the day was over. I idled off the flat tired for a half day but what a half day it was.

Second Trip

The next trip started early due to a 5pm date with an airplane. Our first stop I spotted a crawling redfish at 50 yards before entering the pond. Once I polled into the pond Jeffery casted at a fish tail flicking in about 8 inches of water. The cast was 4 feet in front of the redfish but he charged like a pit bull and ate the fly immediately. The water was at about -1 foot on the outside of the marsh by the islands. I could only get in the mouth of the opening due to low tide. We blew out a nest of about 10 reds. JS got a few shots at the singles as they did not want to leave the area. The fish knew we were in their home turf and their attitude had changed so it was time to move to another location.

The next stop was a deep drain that lead to the same pond. We blew out a couple at the mouth as I slowly polled the deep side of the narrow channel. At an intersection I spotted a nice bull red on the right side with its top fins exposed swimming the middle of the drain leading to a dry pond. I think Jeffery really did not pick up the fish. When the 20 pounder got within 15 feet I could see his fly was beside not in front of the small bull. At that time some other fish we did not see sitting in the deepest part of the intersection blew out. This scared the little bull and that spot was done.

The next couple of stops did not produce any shots. The tide was slack and the fish were on the bottom. All we saw were mud puff after mud puff. I ran back toward the inside of the marsh in hopes of catching a tide change. The tatic worked. Although the fish were not at the surface they were there. Jeffery took a shot at the tail end of a nice 30 pound redfish. When the fish did not move Jeffery declared it was not a fish and perhaps a red log. I called for him to shoot again but he was convinced of the log theory. You should have seen the look on his face when that big boy spun around and hauled ass creating a wake the looked more like a dolphin than a redfish. On  that stop JS hooked one other bull that came straight at the boat and ran down the left side. Before he could clear his line for a hook set the fish came off. After a few more shots the spot was done so we went scouting which some call prospecting for more fish.

We stopped at another intersection and the bottom turned into nuclear mud puff city. I may have polled 20 yards farther when JS spotted a big fish up high and swimming at 20 feet in the 11 o'clock just like you like them. He made a good cast and the fish followed. He stripped all the way into his leader. The redfish saw the boat and spooked. JS took another shot at the bolting fish. To my amazement the fish did a 180 and followed again to within about 7 feet of the boat. The red wised up to the situation and sank out of sight. After a long period polling we picked up a few fish but they really just were not cooperating. There were only 1 or 2 legitamate opportunities for bull redfish. JS had to catch a plane so we packed it in around 2 pm for the long ride back to the dock. Not much luck was to be had on this particular day in the Biloxi marsh.

Mid January summary

This was an amazing week in the Biloxi marsh. Plenty of bull redfish can be found in the shallows. This time of year that is not uncommon. The weather was tough to say the least with higher than average winds but the fish were out in good numbers. Early in the week bull redfish were on the move and aggressive. Later in the week I actually saw alot more big fish but most of them were on the bottom which made for shorter casts which require more accuracy and quicker reaction times by the client. Needless to say this is a much more difficult situation especially for people who do not constantly sight fish redfish in Louisiana. Jeffery Sherman fished two days this week. Monday he went 3 for 3 on the super aggressive bull redfish. I am sure he felt like superman about his casting and presentation that day. The next day a front came through and mid week was unfishable. The next day we fished Jeffery caught some nice fish but  when it came to the bulls he probably went 1 for 12. That one fish ate so close to the boat Jeffery never got the hook set needed for the car tire like mouths of a redfish. The fish were there but most of the big fish were just not moving high enough to be easily seen until we were 15 to 20 feet away. Still in all this week was a great week. On the way to the airport it was abundantly clear Jeffery wanted to stay for another day on the water.

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