Wind: ~10 mph from N
Tide: no range based on Shell Beach station, but N wind had the water pushing out hard
Water Level: above grass line and falling
Water Temperature: ~70 F
Water Clarity: 3/10 to 5/10 depending on spot
Water salinity: did not check – likely no salt
Weather/sky: high thin clouds gave way to sunny day
Temperature: ~ 80 F for high
Moon: waning, almost new
Solunar period: major 2 p.m.
Launch: slipped the Hobie Compass in about 7:15 a.m., out at 4:30 p.m.
Water covered: ~ 8+ miles
Other fishers: Dan R.
Gear: #8 weight fly rod
Flies/lures: Waldner’s spoon fly
Strategy/ patterns: blind and sight cast for redfish
I thought Reggio would be a good place to fish today. I had not been here since last fall. Duck hunters and low water cause me to fish other places until spring comes. Normally the aquatic vegetation (Elodia, coon tail, and widgeon grass) provides for very clear water here. The late season hurricane last fall scoured the bottom, and the vegetation is abnormally thin right now. A mud bottom means the wind and tidal movement will create dirty water, and that makes sight fishing a real chore.
Dan and I covered over 8 miles, most of it was done by poling along shallow broken marsh and shorelines. We saw a few redfish through the dirty water, but mostly we saw scads of annoying spotted gar that were chasing each other around and mating. I cast to and hooked two redfish only to have the hook pull out during mid-battle. I also accidentally caught a small bass and hooked two spotted gar. I got one of the gar to the kayak and dropped the line so that it could self-release. I went into one pond and found it held at least a dozen large alligators. I probably saw another ten or so gators at various places in the marsh throughout the day. They are really active this time of year.
Later in the afternoon the wind began to calm down and the redfish seemed to become more active. One pushed a wake as it came out from under a clump of grass, and I made several casts to where I thought it might be. After several tries the line went tight and I landed a really nice fish of just under 27”. Upper slot redfish have been about all I have caught lately. Of course, I will not be able to find any on the next tournament day. I fished a bit more and it was time to head in. I think I’ll let the marsh here repair and rebuild itself for a while and fish some other areas that fared better after the fall hurricane. My fishing partner brought his drone and took some cool video of me poling and casting to fish. It was interesting to see the “drone’s eye” view of me in the marsh.
On the way in I ran across a couple of small alligators, a larger 8’ gator, and a 6’ gator that acted a bit unusual. Typically, alligators just submerge as I come upon them in the kayak, but the 6’ gator came toward me until it was about a paddle length away. Just as I started to lift my paddle to whack it, it sank down. I sure hope no one is feeding it and encouraging it to associate people with food. This is illegal and a really bad idea that could end up harming the alligator and/or someone.
Another thing I learned was that the Compass paddles pretty well when the Mirage Drive is not in. Today the water shallow and stumpy in most places, so I pulled out the Mirage Drive and put the plug in the drive hole. I paddled when I wasn’t poling and was enjoying it so much that I paddled all the way back to the truck. I think I’ll do this more often.