Wednesday, February 6, 2013

First trips in February

Hunting in skinny water
February is starting out with a bang. I am seeing plenty of average sized redfish and a good number of bull reds. Dolphins stole the show on the first two trips. We saw a pair hunting in the skinny waters of a canal on the first trip. The water was so shallow that the top half of the dolphins were completely exposed. When they are in this mode all you see is violent tail trashing, massive accelerations and just a general malaise of scared bait fish and dolphins converge.

Rene E had his day on the water. I qualified him on casting and decided we needed to start with some of the smaller more aggressive redfish. Rene got multiple easy shots at these shallow water reds producing this fine example of a Biloxi Marsh redfish.

Fine example of a redfish
It was only a half day so around 11:30 am I went hunting for larger fish referred to as pigs. It was not long at all before I spotted a marsh monster on the surface at 50 yards.
I stuck my stiffy pole in the muck at 35 feet from the fish allowing it to slide through my hands.Wind would push us into Rene's casting range which is little too close for comfort. The first shot was short but the second shot was definitely close enough to produce an eat. As Rene stripped he must have hit the fish with the fly because she spooked instead of eating. The bull redfish swam along side the boat but strong cross winds kept his fly landing behind the fish. This missed opportunity was a lot of fun to watch because the client's get so pumped up.

Morning run
The next two boat trip called for the same game plan. Get the clients some practice on smaller aggressive fish then look for the big boys. Several good opportunitiess presented themselves but did not produce an eater. Again time was short due to a half day trip on this Super Bowl Sunday. After enjoying a pod of dolphins playing underneath the boat we went searching for big fish. I moved to a new bank and polled parallel about 20 yards out. We immediately began seeing big black drum. This is an excellent indicator bull redfish are probably in the area.

 Dolphin mother with baby

Single dolphin appeared three feet from the boat

I continued to put more distance between the boat and the bank. Soon I found the line and started seeing big redfish. The clients were having trouble seeing the big fish deep in tinted water. I had to call adjustments to position and distance for each of my  fly fisherman's casts. Dave got a shot into the eat zone on a big boy and the bull began to follow. He ate the fly so close to the boat that a good hook set was impossible. I called for a better hook set when the fish makes the first run. The client made the mistake of letting the redfish pull the rod down. When the rod is pointed at the redfish there is no shock absorbing quality. All the pressure is on the leader. The client tried to stop the 20+ pounder's run causing the fish to break off. Wanting more time with the aggressive bulls both clients began frantically dialing their cell phones in hopes of contacting the other boat. No cell coverage sealed our fate. Today is the story of the one that got away.

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