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Come on out to the Massey’s at Towne Center this Thursday at 7pm to talk kayak fishing with me.  I’ll be doing a seminar intended to help shorten the learning curve for folks getting started in kayak fishing, with an emphasis on catching redfish.  I’ll also talk a bit about sight fishing redfish and catching them on the fly.  Should be a lot of fun and I heard there will be some raffles, I do hope some of y’all can make it out.

The AFWC was held down in Delacroix earlier this month and though I didn’t fish the event, I did get a chance to fish with a friend who was in town for the event while he was staying in Delacroix.  James McBeath is the Director of Marketing over at Jackson Kayak and a former Musky Fly Fishing Championship World champion.  We’ve had the pleasure of fishing together in the 10,000 islands of Florida and the Pacific coast of Panama  and I was excited to get the chance to fish with him again, but this time on some local water.

We picked a really great day to get together as the weather turned out to be absolutely gorgeous – it was about as good as you could ask for when it comes to Louisiana redfishin’.  Little to no wind, bright blue skies, tide not too low or high, and absolutely perfect temps, which all added up to great sightfishing conditions and active redfish.

We explored an area within the AFWC boundaries that I had yet to fish and was happy to find as I fought and landed more reds than I cared to count, and in some of the shallowest and clearest flats I’ve ever seen in Lousiana.  A bonus to fishing in Delacroix was the bass bycatch – It shouldn’t, but it always surprises me when I see them on the end of the line while I’m redfishing.

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It was an absolute pleasure to fish with James again.  I have not done a whole lot of fishing in Delacroix and am still learning the area so it was nice to check out some new water with James and have some success while we were at it.  We had a lot of fun, caught a bunch of fish and hopefully I was able to help him in some small way with his top 10 finish in the AFWC.

Got out again this past weekend with Blake in his boat.  Kind of a last minute deal that I wasn’t fully prepared for, but whats nice about going in someone else’s boat is you don’t have to be all that prepared when you get asked to go – you just show up and hope you can borrow some tackle.  A buff was the only thing I needed that I didn’t have as the bugs at the launch were horrendous and those buffs are a life saver in buggy conditions.  Of course once we were out on the water they weren’t too bad.

Conditions early on were great; winds were calm, skies were bright and sunny, and the water clarity ranged from decent to exceptional.  The tide was a bit lower than I’d like in a boat, but very manageable.  Basically all the boxes were checked that would indicate it would be a good day, but that actually wasn’t the case.

The first canal we stopped in we saw backs out of the water and tails up and we couldn’t help but think it was about to be on.  I was able to connect with a decent little bull.

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After that fish activity became sparse, those tails disappeared and with them went the fish.  We picked up and moved as the water clarity in the canal was dirty due to the tide ripping out.  We found some absolutely gorgeous water, some of the prettiest I’ve seen for Louisiana.  It looked like Florida at times, unfortunately redfish were few and far between.  For as much bait as we saw on the flats it was kind of amazing how few reds we saw.

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So we picked up and moved again and found more pretty water.  This time we found fish too.  It’s a big problem though when you find fish and they won’t eat.  I really have never seen such tight lipped redfish.  We were putting good casts on them and they just didn’t want anything to do with our offers.  It was almost as if they were already spooked when we showed up – maybe we were fishing behind someone else?  Whatever the case we poled our way along the flats off the coastline of this island and eventually found some active black drum.

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These were baby drum, not yet earning the “big ugly” moniker, they were actually quite pretty fish.  It was nice to feel the tug of a fish again.

So what we thought turn into a badass day ended up being really tough, but I feel like we made the most of it.  Sure, not too many fish caught, but we did put in some good scouting.  We found some really nice flats with stunning water.  I wish we had found more fish, but maybe we were just in the right place at the wrong time.

I’m not sure why some spots seemed void of redfish or why those redfish we did find did not want to eat.  Maybe barometric pressure, maybe they were spooked, who knows?  I can count on my hand the times when I’ve been on redfish and they won’t eat, it’s frustrating when it happens.  Here’s hoping that it was just a fluke and our next trip out will be a bit more successful.

I had an incredible day on the water last weekend.  I touched seven reds and only two made the slot – the rest were over.  It was really one of the better days I’ve ever had for quality redfish.  The problem is, it could have been even better.  It became an unforgettable day when I let the big one get away.

It started off with a nice, long paddle down a boring canal, then into some big water, and finally taking a cut into some classic southern Louisiana marsh.  Conditions were pretty good for sight fishing with calm winds and low tide, but spotting fish was a little tough early on due to the cloud cover and poor water clarity.  Patience paid off though, and soon enough the redfish were giving themselves away.

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The day was progressing nicely, I had caught a handful of redfish ranging from 26-33″ and was starting to lazily make my way back to the launch, not quite ready to call it a day and fishing along the way.  As I was paddling a large, featureless canal heading back to the truck I see the distinctive wave of a giant redfish tail from a distance away.  Low tide in the canal had turned the bank into a nice sand flat and I just so happened to be in the right place at the right time as this beast of a fish was slowly cruising my way.

I was in a great spot to catch this fish.  My momentum was carrying me toward the bank as he was swimming toward me, still a distance away.  I was able to get set up and quickly strip off some free line.  I had time to make a few false casts to assure that I was on target with my cast and sure enough my aim was true.  I led him by a good amount and when he saw the fly he inhaled it.  A few solid strip sets later and the fight was on.  This was a huge fish, definitely bigger than anything else I had caught today and maybe bigger than anything I had caught this year (42″ being the largest).  I fought him the same way I fought every other bull redfish I’ve caught this year and I think that is what ultimately led me to lose this fish.  I don’t baby these fish, I don’t let them run, I typically crank down my drag and win the fight in 10-15 minutes.  I can usually do this because I fish a short, stout leader that can take the abuse.  But I underestimated the power of this redfish in particular and 15 minutes into the fight, when I thought I may have had him whipped, he made one strong head shake and my line went limp.

He broke me off and left me speechless.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it is always heartbreaking.  What could have potentially been the biggest redfish I’ve ever caught on the fly and I farmed him.

The only thing I could do was re-tie and keep fishing.  Fortunately I was able to seek a little bit of redemption in another 32″ fish, who did his best to give me the slip.

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Overall it was a crazy good day, but it’s going to be really tough to forget about what could have been when I let that big one get away.