With the end of another semester of teaching, a friend of mine, Neil Borel, and I fished the weekend before Christmas in the Leeville/Golden Meadow area. We were greeted with very little water due to strong northerly winds the previous two days and low tide to boot. We planned to fish the some of the sand pits (deep holes that were dug when they built the highway) Saturday morning. We got a late start on that very cold morning and we found out that we got there a little late as we heard the bite was on very early in the morning and then it quit around 7:30 or so. I was able to catch one pretty speckled trout and a bunch of dinks on my fly rod. Neil managed only one keeper trout as well on minnows. We knew we needed more than two specs for dinner, and since all the places in the area that sold shrimp were closed, the pressure was on for us to catch some keepers that afternoon. I headed a little south and broke out the “commie” tackle. I quickly caught two keeper redfish and a rat red on a gold spoon, so I new I had taken care of dinner. Neil caught a half dozen pretty specs and a nice redfish on live minnows. I capped the afternoon with a beautiful redfish on a spoon fly.
Sunday morning, I fished with my fly rod only. I caught a beautiful 27 and 1/2 inch redfish on the fly rod (photographed, tagged, and released). It was a textbook fish. I paddled into an area of calm water that was protected from the wind by the levee. I saw just the tip of its tail slightly break the surface and then a minnow or two jump out of the water. Then I saw more of its tail as I paddled slowly and quietly toward it. I made a couple of false casts and then I put my gold spoon fly about a foot in front of it and made a couple of slow strips to get its attention. Then I saw the huge torpedo-like wake and the big boil as it ate. When I set the hook, it swam toward me and I stripped in line as fast as I could. I knew that the fish really didn’t know it was hooked so I got ready for the big run. When it saw the kayak, it took off like a bullet. I think that’s why I love catching redfish in shallow water. They have no where to swim except horizontally, which leads to huge runs that can be very challenging. After a fight that seemed like ten minutes (it was realistically only five) I landed my biggest of the weekend, and on a fly too!
After that, I then managed to lose another redfish and commit a comedy of blundering errors as I spooked fish in the shallow water (my hull scraped barnacles and spooked tailing fish that I was targeting). I even put my fly right on the back of a tailing red. It took off right at me and then exploded in the shallow water when it saw my kayak! I called it quits, when after stalking another tailing red, I set the hook on it and it took off toward my kayak, creating more slack than I could take up. As it passed me and took up the slack on its own, it snapped my tippet like it was a piece of thread! Oh well, it was a fun day on the water anyway.