Hill & Ladd Hamrick brave cold for winter Redfish on Fly!

Winter Redfish on Fly on North Carolina's Cape Fear Coast

February 3, 2009
Hill and Lad and Turkeys Reds Nov 20090003.JPG

Good Morning Friends & Anglers,
On the day before Thanksgiving I was scheduled to guide to hardcore fly fishing junkies from Charlotte, NC. Hill and Ladd Hamrick of Charlotte, NC were visiting family for Thanksgiving and their dad managed to get himself and his boys out on the water for some fantastic fishing over the holiday.

I picked the guys up at Figure 8 Island around 8am and it was a cold morning to be sure. We had a thirty minute boat ride to get to the fish and it was going to take each of us a little while to thaw out. The air temperature was hovering around 47 degrees when we left the dock that morning. I had my duck gear on to keep warm and was genuinely concerned about the guys but they braved it with no complaints.

At our first flat Ladd was up on deck with his eight weight ready. The guys are twins and they each cast a fly exceptionally well. I gave Ladd the bearings on where I had been seeing fish on shore and no sooner had we poled into position did I spot them. The fish must have been cold because we were looking at a school of over 300 fish all balled up on a shallow flat sunning themselves. The first fly I tried with Ladd was a baitfish imitation that I have an incredible amount of faith in for catching drum. On Ladd’s first cast the fish parted around the fly, that’s when I knew they were cold… I backed off of the fish and we downsized our fly to a small shrimp similar to what we throw in the Bahamas for big bonefish.


We made another approach, Ladd put the fly where he should and we had a follow, take and lost the fish on the strike. I was feeling better about our fly change already. It was Hill’s turn at bat. Same fly that just proved itself and Ladd’s rod, Hill took the bow. At the sight of the school he turned around and looked at me in disbelief. I shook my head and said, “they’re cold fellas, use a slow retrieve and get the fly right in on them.” Hill followed the instructions perfectly and by the third attempt I was frustrated that these fish were simply too cold to eat. I convinced the guys I had another school of fish in another location that I thought would be more apt to eat and asked Hill to reel in.

On our next stop Hill was back up and in the first 50 yards of poling we spotted the school. He hooked up instantly on his first presentation and we had the skunk off of the boat. The twins took turns on the bow with the fly rod working the fish until we had 5 or 6 fish hooked up and three landed. We stayed on these fish until it was time to turn the boat around and head back to the dock. My only disappointment was that the first school of fish was uncooperative preventing us from a few more caught fish.

Winter fishing is great here in Wilmington, NC and sight fishing is at it’s finest on the Cape Fear Coast. If the weather is mild it makes for some wonderful days on the water. Hats off to Hill and Ladd for braving the cold, I hope the redfish on the end of your fly line helped warm your spirits. I can’t wait to do it again in 2009!


Tight Loops & Lines,
Captain Seth Vernon~


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