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With a favorable weather outlook, I went back to the coast this past weekend to look for big redfish. Winds were acceptable for most the day and water clarity was pretty good, but the tide was up, and with the South wind, it increased water levels even more than normal where I was at, making it a little tough to sight fish. I didn’t see too many redfish throughout the day and those that I did see were not very aggressive to the fly. So all that adds up to a pretty unproductive day for me on reds.

Morning was a little frustrating, but I eventually came upon a large amount of big black drum. They were a little more willing to take a fly, though I did have to basically feed it to them. I caught three of them, one at 35″ and two at 37″ (one being 27lbs and the other 29lbs). You would think fish of this size would fight pretty hard, but only one gave me a good run. The other two were basically just dead weight on the end of my fly rod once I hooked them. To be fair, I was trying out a new Echo Carbon 10wt that seemed to whip them pretty good. I did enjoy using that new rod this past weekend, I hope to be able to use it more in the future on bull reds and other hard fighting offshore species.

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I did get the redfish skunk off in a canal heading back to the launch (go figure). It was a tough day at the start, not a whole lot of action overall, but thanks to some big uglies, the day was saved.

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Had an unforgettable day on the water yesterday. Conditions couldn’t have been better, the weather was amazing and the fish were cooperative. When the weather is nice paddling is never a problem, so a long exploratory trip was the plan. I put in probably 10-12 miles yesterday and hardly even noticed it, yesterday or today. I guess that speaks to the comfort of Jackson’s Hi/Lo seat.

I headed out to a spot that my friend Brendan tipped me off to that may be just the place to run into some bull reds in shallow water. The chance of catching a bull red on the fly from a kayak is at it’s peak this time of year, as water clarity is at its best and bigger reds venture further inshore, putting them relatively close to some of our kayak launches.

It just so happened the first fish of the day for me was a 36″ red, probably my best on the fly from the kayak. I never measured my previous best, but this one seemed bigger.

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I spent the next couple hours catching and releasing upper/above slot reds in some of the cleanest, clearest water I’ve seen in Louisiana. Probably some of the saltiest too, I paddled over a sea turtle while I was out there. The smallest red I had on the day went 25″.

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Then, it finally happened. I came around a marsh point and saw groups of dolphin working the water. One dolphin in particular was along the bank, headed straight for me. I tucked myself next to the mangroves because I knew that as soon as he saw me he would bolt. I didn’t want that to happen under my boat. Sure enough he saw me, did a 360, and swam away as fast as could be, kicking up mud the entire way. I thought he blew it for me, but in the cloudy water was a big red, swimming in circles. I have no idea why, I just knew that I had to get the fly in front of him. As soon as I had a good shot I dropped the fly in front of him and he inhaled it. It was a great tug of war that made me nervous midway through. As I was fighting him a 5 or so foot shark swam along side the bank within spitting distance of the kayak. I was worried he would grab the red so I let him run a little ways. Luckily the shark had no idea what was going on, kept on his way, and I was able to get out and land the fish. He was 41″ and had 10 spots scattered along his body, a beautiful redfish.

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I began the long paddle back towards the launch, sightfishing along the way. My day had been made, I wasn’t sure how it could get any better, save for an even bigger fish. Well, I ran into an even bigger fish, a giant black drum. I made a nice cast that plopped down right in front of the brute and he ate as soon as it hit. The first run he went on put me into my backing. Quite possibly the first fish that has ever done that to me. He taped out at 36″ and had a very unique dent in his head. Probably the heaviest fish I’ve ever taken on a fly.

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I took an alternate route back to the launch. It had me wind my way through mangrove lined bayous, they had deep water along the cut banks and mud flats on the point bar. These are things geographers notice. With the water being gin clear it felt like I was back in the 10,000 islands with the Jackson team. I picked up a few more reds in the bayou, one went 31″ and another went 40″. He looked out of place he was so big.

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Like I said earlier, it was an unforgettable day. It’s amazing what a 12ft boat and a little courage can get you. Two redfish over 40″, two personal bests in a day, multiple upper and over slot fish, and everything caught on the fly. Most came on a fly that Blake tied up. I’m not sure what it’s called, but we’ll be sure to put up a SBS for it soon. Brendan pretty much gave me the final piece to a puzzle I’ve been trying to solve for a few years now. I can’t thank Brendan enough for the tip and to Blake for letting me be the guinea pig with his flies.

I’ve got a lot of video to watch/edit from the trip, I’ll try to get something up by next week.

The rain finally let up last Thursday and it has been nice and sunny ever since. With clear skies, highs in the low 60’s and winds from 5-10 mph, yesterday was too nice a day to not go fishing. With all local freshwater blown out I made the drive down to the marsh to try my luck with the redfish. I figured it might be tough with salinity levels a bit lower due to the rains, but I’m really not sure if that was the case. We’ve had a couple tide changes since it rained and I didn’t fish an area directly impacted by a pump station.

Started the day throwing an articulated crease that Blake tied up. That was the wrong fly to start the day with. It was in the mid 40’s, the fish were still holding to the bottom so they really didn’t move for the crease. I had a few follows and finally got one to eat, but I had to switch flies. I tied on a black clouser that would produce the rest of the day for me.

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The 2nd fish of the day was a brute, probably the biggest red I’ve caught on fly from the kayak in a few years. It was a 31″ bull-in-training that put up a hell of a fight. I’ve been exploring this spot since November and I knew that I had a chance at a bull here. At 31″, it’s not much of a bull, but I know the true beasts are out there.

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After that fish, I did a lot of paddling. Total on the day was around 9 miles, scouting new areas and looking for bull reds. I picked up a few fish here and there and ended up catching another beast, different species though. A big, ugly black drum that also measured in at 31″. On the surface one would think that a 31″ black and red drum would be roughly the same weight, but I can attest that black drum are much fatter, that thing was heavy, much heavier than the red. The fight was awful. I hooked it and it just sat there. I was basically just pulling it’s weight toward me. It didn’t even make a run when it saw the boat or the net, it just bobbed on the surface like a buoy.

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Towards the end of my trip I found this shell bar that was the perfect place for a Cuda 12 hero shot. The Cuda has been a fantastic boat for all of my inshore adventures. With stability that allows me to stand for hours and a comfortable seat for long days on the water. Storage options abound with multiple hatches, a large rear tankwell, and space under the Hi/Lo seat. I could go on and on, it really is an awesome little boat.

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