Archive

Tag Archives: Sightfishing

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.

0708cf3c-d74a-4e8b-9ffd-6ecd46e0dc20_zpsotztglbr

cb85d0c4-37a5-45b2-bbbb-63b38e5c5f0e_zpsoulaycfx

408f4c3c-f17b-4f99-91f3-859beb6ed530_zpsqiysz56u

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.

b271674c-04b9-48df-bd4e-338046695a74_zpsjtl5y6yu

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.

048bc993-c784-42c3-befa-a73c9e479c92_zpsahuttnwh

05a25d28-4f76-469c-b023-3f4019fa3fdd_zpshs82jg1o

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.

img_7535_zpsgdivparl

DCIM100GOPRO

img_7537_zpsd7ss97bw

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

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.

img_7540_zpsuso2uoeh

DCIM100GOPRO

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.

I was able to get out and fish for the fourth weekend in a row, which is surely some sort of a record for toddler dads.  I can’t thank my wife enough for that.  Sunday’s forecast was too good to pass up so I headed to the coast for more bull red action.  What has been nice about each one of these trips is that I’ve been able to explore new areas, fish new water, and still find some success at each new spot.

There was frost on the truck and the yak as I left the driveway early yesterday morning, temps had made it in to the 40s though by the time I arrived at the launch.  It was chilly to start, but with a nearly three mile paddle ahead of me to get to where I wanted to fish, it never really felt that cold.  I was appropriately dressed and was taking off layers before I even got in the kayak.

On my paddle I couldn’t help but notice that the marsh in January, despite the cold, is so full of life.  Nutria, otter, dolphin, and countless numbers of birds had their morning activities interrupted as I glided through their habitat.

The tide was very low and the water was much dirtier than it was last weekend, but winds were light and it was a bluebird sky, so conditions would be favorable for some sightfishing, I just needed the sun to get up and warm up the flats.  Surprisingly, it did not take long for me to see some activity.

I was in a canal making my way toward a large bay when I noticed a lot of nervous baitfish near the opening of a marsh drain.  There was a big red chasing bait in some super skinny water along the bank of the canal.  I had a rod in front of me still rigged from last week’s Minimalist Challenge and was able to flip a Vortex shad in front of the red and he inhaled it.  This was a fairly narrow canal an without much of an area to run the fight was actually much shorter than you’d imagine, maybe just 5-10 minutes.

img_7367_zpsvnmejuih

img_7390_zpsog1ez4pp

img_7368_zpsk6628rbx

img_7369_zpswfygkpog

This red measured just over 42″ and I was back in the 40s for the first time in a long time.  This red had to be fresh from the Gulf as it was covered in sea lice.

I put the spinning rod down for the rest of the day and picked up the fly rod.  The next few hours were pretty quiet.  Not many fish spotted and quite a few rejections from those I did see and was able to lay a cast in front of.  Conditions were at their best about mid-day and things started to pick up.  I made it to a point in a bay that was surrounded by shallow flats.  The flats were loaded with skittish redfish.  I caught a few fish, but had dozens of refusals, it was a very humbling experience to say the least.

img_7391_zpsyddcdixw

img_7393_zpskj3ncd9m

img_7399_zpsdkwhagkf

img_7394_zpsoguojryc

I began the long paddle back to the launch and was a little bummed that I didn’t tie into any bigger bulls with the fly rod while conditions were at their best (Biggest I had caught on the fly so far was 31.75″).  I had a few chances, but just couldn’t connect.  As I made it back into the same canal I caught the big red to start the day, a chance at redemption floated to the surface.  After a good cast and a slow twitch, the line came tight and I had caught another bull.

img_7402_zpsqbri3fxz

img_7411_zpsbqfmzhy4

img_7414_zpsox57tsht

This fish was a fat 35.5″, which is the same length as the big red I had caught on my trip with Hays. I think this fish was probably heavier though, he had a full belly.

It was a great way to end the day and really made that three mile paddle back to the launch much easier.

Blake and I finally got the opportunity to take a trip together in his “new” boat and it did not disappoint.  The weather was nice with temps comfortable, winds fairly light and cloud cover pretty patchy – conditions to sight fish were excellent.  The only thing working against us was the tide – water was high in the marsh.  Thankfully though, clarity was great, so we still did a pretty good job of spotting fish.  Blake gave me an ample supply of bow time and I can safely say that I was able to connect on a majority of my chances.

084950_zpso0ouz98h

img_6891_zpsy0olsblw

Things were pretty slow very early on but got better as the sun kept rising.  I had one good fish break me off, but the 7wt ended up getting a pretty good workout on upper slot and baby bull redfish throughout the morning.

100101_zps25am3mmh

img_6893_zpsq8z3ubb8

Blake eventually let me get up on the platform and I feel like I did a good job knocking off the rust – it’s been a LONG time since I poled a boat around.  I’m still not very good at it, but I’m happy to report that Blake was able to land his first red on the fly from the bow of his boat, which is hopefully just the first of many more to come.

img_6896_zpszmvqecll

The boat should open up a lot of new water for us and it’s going to be a blast exploring it with him.