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.

 

My shot at tying spoon flies

I have been fishing with a fly rod since last fall and have had some great trips with the “buggy whip.” I only consider myself a novice at the sport, but I’m gradually improving my technique. Since last fall, I have also begun attempts at tying my own flies. I’ve caught fish on several clouser patterns (specs and a few undersized redfish), but  I’ve really had success with the fluff butt (black body with a chartreuse tail) this spring, fishing for bream, bass and sacalait. I recently tried my hand at tying a few spoon flies.

While I was very proud of my creations, I was quite disappointed that I had two of them disintegrate during our recent Back Cast tournament. I was told that it was due to the fact that I used 5-minute epoxy and not 30-minute epoxy.

My first set of spoon flies. Notice the two on the right.

Well, after some research on the internet and the purchase of a $9 wheel used for a disco ball, I was able to make my own fly drying wheel.  This would allow me to use 30-minute epoxy and spin the flies so I don’t get any clumping on the flies.

Here are my improved versions of the spoon fly.  I hope to see them hanging from inside the mouth of a big redfish…soon.

Here are my eight completed spoonflies.

My Pink Charlie spoonfly

For when they’re biting on anything that’s pink.

My "black spoon of death"

This is my version of the “black spoon of death.

Gold spoon

This one is my version of the Johnson Gold Spoon.