When I look at my YTD column and see that I’ve only caught 5 redfish this year, it really reflects the fact that I’ve been extremely busy and the weather has been crazy! The Easter Triduum is one of my favorite times of the year when I get to spend a lot of time in prayer and reflection. I usually do some fishing on Good Friday before I go to church, a tradition that was started many years ago with my family in Thibodaux and Labadieville. This year, I played horn for four services beginning Saturday and ending at about 1:15 on Easter Sunday, so…I was happy to see that 1) the winds were going to be down Monday 2) I was off of work 3) I had a yard pass because Lisa did have to work and I wasn’t going to be missed! The “honey-dos” could wait another day! I tried to contact my usual fishing buddies but none of them could make it so I went out on my own to an old reliable spot in Leeville.
The morning started out dead calm and the gnats were out in force. I found that the Amber Romance worked well today and I didn’t get eaten up! I started the morning off with a large popper but didn’t get a hit. I was hoping to catch some nice speckled trout or a redfish on the popper but I couldn’t entice anything to hit. I think I missed the spring migration of speckled trout further south to spawn. Oh well, I’ll have to target redfish.
I’m not one to continue with a fly if it doesn’t produce to I switched to a time-proven gold spoon-fly. The water was high and fairly muddy and by now the wind had picked up but it was only blowing 5-8 and was easily fishable. I concentrated on the lee side of the wind-blown marsh and looked for signs of fish. It’s really hard to sight fish for redfish when the water is this muddy so it’s important to be very observant and stealthy. The kayak lends itself well to this kind of fishing.
I had push-poled my way across a lot of water without seeing a thing when I noticed some tiny baitfish jumping out of the water. It wasn’t much. Just a couple but it got my attention and there I saw redfish number 1′s back working in the grass. I positioned my kayak in a way where I could work the bank and made a couple good casts as close to the grass as I could. The old adage about two-feet ahead and two-feet past the fish was definitely not going to work here. I was just going to have to put the fly as close to him as I could just to get his attention. I think it was after the third cast that the fish came out of the grass to see what was the commotion. The very next cast and he pounced upon it. It was text-book and I landed my first redfish of the morning. I noticed it was a bit different though. It was wearing something.
I had caught my first tagged redfish. Well, I take that back. I did catch a tagged redfish some 30 years ago but this was one that I had tagged last November that had grown 2 inches and had travelled a mere quarter mile from where I had originally tagged it.
An 18 inch redfish is perfect table fare so this one was released into my ice chest! I didn’t even pull up my stake-out pole and made a couple of casts with the spoon-fly over some oysters that have held redfish for me in the past. Two casts later and I’m hooked up again. This fish fought differently though. Could it be? Yes it was my first flounder on a fly! The flounder is the coveted species that makes up the saltwater cajun slam that can put you in the money in the BCKFC’s Paddle Pallooza tournament. It was a good one too at 15 inches.
So, I had caught my first tagged redfish and my first flounder on a fly rod! What a great morning. I pounded my usual spots looking for a speckled trout to complete my slam but couldn’t get one for the life of my. I did get a slam of sorts by way of a black drum though.
On the way in, I fished an area I remembered that stays dry during the winter but does get water in it during high tide conditions and it usually has clear water in it. I spooked a nice redfish and was mad at myself for not being more careful. I put my stakeout pole in and decided to cast to the spot where the fish dashed off to. Well I wasn’t paying attention and was startled by a commotion in the water where I had cast. The fish had slammed my fly and I didn’t strip set. I pulled back like I was bass fishing and broke the tippet off at the fly. Now I was really mad at myself but I saw that the commotion had alerted another big fish and I saw the direction of its wake. I looked in my box of flies and decided to tie on my black and gold charlie. Two casts later and I had a nice 22 inch redfish on.
Overall it was a great day! I saw reports of guys catching limits of redfish just a few miles north of my location. I do want to fish some new water this summer. Oh well, it’s off to Disney with my band. No more marsh fishing until after graduation in May.