Avoiding the skunk

Near Skunk!

One of the reasons I usually don’t “skunk” on fishing trips is I pick a day when the weather will be favorable for fishing. This usually begins with winds: they have to be under 10 mph. Next, there should be some descent tide movement. Finally, I don’t really enjoy fishing in rain, dodging water-spouts, etc. so I usually check the rain forecast too. This past weekend looked like the stars would line up for me, so I decided to make a trip down LA 1 on Sunday morning.

I joined fellow fly fishermen, Mike and Victor, down at the “Telephone Post Hole,” a sand pit off of the highway that was dug out to build the road. This spot is a well-known wintertime honey-hole for speckled trout. We enjoyed a beautiful morning of fishing with a gorgeous sunrise. Mike actually hooked about a four-foot alligator garfish but he lost it at the boat. We fished some of the deep holes there with clousers and were rewarded with a few small redfish for our efforts. I tagged and released two of them, while Victor tagged five or more. Mike isn’t in the tagging program but I believe he also caught and released a few undersized, “rat” reds too.

I decided to pick up and head back up north to Forcheon. I had been down there a month ago and I had experienced similar conditions…cold with no water in the marsh. The difference today was that the water was going to be rising all day, as well as the thermometer. I found myself to be the only guy at the public launch. Talk about ominous! Well, I paddled out to some spots that I’ve fished during the spring and summer and was shocked to see mounds of oyster bed where there was once water! I will check my route on Googlemaps, but arms feel like I push poled and paddled six miles in very shallow water. The disappointing part is; I paddled all that distance and didn’t see the first tail or pumpkin color of a redfish. The only thing I saw other than small schools of baitfish was a lone stingray.

At around 1 PM, I was thinking about heading in, getting a bite to eat, and launching again further north, toward Golden Meadow when I decided to try a shallow area near the launch that had been productive in the past. I finally spotted my first redfish, but as expected, I spooked it in the shallow water. This was encouraging though, so I push-poled a little further. I was rewarded with a beautiful sight…two redfish were heading down a little cut in the marsh over some very clear water on top of a bunch of oysters. I put a fly I call the “black and gold Charlie” about 2 feet in front of the lead fish. I watched its predatory instincts kick in as it stalked and chased down the block and gold-looking piece of baitfish. The dog-gone fish whiffed and missed on its first attempt. I made another cast out two feet in front of it a second time and WAM, textbook eat! I had to horse the fish in more than I’d like to due to the abundance of oyster shells in the area but my leader and tippet held and I was able to land a nice fat redfish. It measured right under 24 inches so it was going in the ice chest.

I had great expectations of battling with a few more redfish in the same area but I couldn’t get any to eat. I spooked a few and a few more said no to the fly. 😦

Overall, it was a great trip. I REALLY got some exercise in with all that paddling, I caught a fish to enter into the Massey’s Tournament, and I brought home some fish for ceviche` for supper! I also got some neat video that I will be processing in the next couple of weeks.  I did learn a few things about the area I was fishing. I made a mental note of where all the oyster reefs are and can’t wait until the water comes up in the spring…along with a new crop of young redfish willing to play. 🙂

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Today’s trip map. Nearly 6 miles, not including the paddling I did at the TPH.

 

Black and Gold Charlie

This is my first fly tutorial. I found myself sitting at home, two days before Christmas, without a car (it was in the shop) with nothing to do. I couldn’t fish, my school work was completed…so, I decided to try to invent my own redfish fly.

First of all, it’s really a combination of a gold fly that Stephen Robert ties and a Charlie that Mike LaFleur ties. I have to give them credit for the inspiration.  Here’s the recipe:

First, I started with some gold ribbon from an old Christmas present saved from last year, thinking that it looked like it would make good fly-tying material.

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Attach a gold cone head to a size two hook with some gold metallic thread. (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago). I actually didn’t get a picture of that but here’s one with the gold thread on it. I tied this fly with gold hooks and stainless hooks. I figure the gold will get destroyed by a redfish before it rusts 🙂

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I then tied in a thread base down to a spot just past the bend of the hook and cinched down the end of some of the gold ribbon.

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Wrap the gold foil ribbon to the cone, tie it in, and then push the cone back down on the ribbon and tie a jam on the other end by the hook eye. Be sure to push the cone down over the gold foil far enough to leave a place to tie in the wing material.Image

Then tie in the wing material. Here I used a small dump of black craft fur. Be sure to flip the fly and tie it on the correct side.

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Finally, whip finish and coat with your favorite head cement (zap-a-gap, Sally’s, or whatever you use). The finished product:

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I can’t wait to get to the marsh to try these.