Last year I found a spot where the redfish tail all day long, eat any and every fly in the box and push so shallow they need four wheel drive and sunscreen to keep their exposed backsides from getting burned… Oh no, I am starting to sound like a freelance fishing writer!
On a serious note there are few places where the fish do tail for long periods of time, eat most everything you throw at them or swim so shallow they look more like snakes than fish, but such places do exist and they are deeply guarded secrets that you share only with the closest of friends. A buddy of mine told me the other day, while discussing past disasters in the US, that he doesn’t believe in “conspiracies” because he has never known of more than two people keeping a secret together, ever… He makes a good point which is why I won’t tell what it is that I found over a year ago almost to the day.
Yesterday I had the good fortune to spend some time with friend, photographer, fly tyer and angler extraordinaire Walker Golder. Some of you have seen his photos in the Aug/Sept issue of Saltwater Fly Fishing magazine that we did on fly fishing Wilmington Redfish. We hit the water early yesterday and I had high hopes of locating some fish on the low tide that require wading, I had not been to visit these fish in over a year. Much to both of our surprise they were, as expected, living out the tide in a small tidal creek busting shrimp, tailing on crabs and cruising so shallow up the banks for a meal they really did need sunscreen! The subsurface flies I had tried just weren’t getting any attention so I tied on a Hell’s Bay Hopper to imitate the shrimp these redfish were chasing and eating so aggressively. On the first cast to a fish the fly landed dangerously close and not only did the fish not spook but it tailed! I had to gently slide the fly a few inches away or risk bumping the fishes back… Once in the clear I gave the fly a short “pop” and the red literally pounced on the fly, what a rush. Sadly the hook point must have been barely plunged in and the fish pulled free in the first 3 seconds of the fight.
After feeling defeated Walker pointed out several more fish working the area around us and we resumed the hunt. As luck would have it a fish came down the bank 40 feet from us in pursuit of shrimp. I gently cast the fly as close as I dared gave it a strip and watched this redfish follow the fly with his back out of the water for five strips of crushing anxiousness and then he clobbered the fly in a frothy whitewater strike. A quick fight ensued and the prize came to hand for some photos and a release. It was the highlight of my summer’s personal fishing. I have shared this experience with some great people and special fly anglers and the feeling of catching that fish is almost as good as the feeling of watching someone catch that fish.
It is only going to get better with fall approaching and while I can’t make the fish tail or back or eat top waters I will do my best to take you to potential areas where they do and I would love to see your picture here too. So if you are interested in fly rodding for reds or learning something new on the water don’t hesitate to call me to set up your next angling adventure.
Tight Loops & Lines,
Captain Seth Vernon