Pushepatapa Creek 7-10-2020

It was a hot day, so rather than broiling in the marsh I went creek fishing with the New Orleans Fly Fishing Club. I brought the little kayak since the banks are sometimes rough and there are occasional deep holes. A small kayak works well for getting around the trees and other obstacles in the swift water, although there can be shallow, swift runs where it’s difficult to paddle upstream. In those cases I had to get out and walk the kayak up to deeper water. I went about half a mile downstream from the put-in and found a nice eddy where the sunfish were stacked up safely out of the current. I parked the kayak and got out and waded to mid-stream so I could cast a little better. A #12 foam caddis fly imitation and a leggy sinking spider did well. I got a dozen or so colorful sunfish and a little spotted bass. Wading in the cool water under the shade was a nice way to beat the summer heat.

Port Sulphur, LA 7-4-2020

                                                                   

Wind: 0-10 mph westerly direction

Tide: predicted to rise about 2’ based on Empire Jetty Station

Water Level: good to start (in the grass), came up more during the day

Water Temperature: ~84 F

Water Clarity: fair, 1.5 ft. visibility

Water salinity: trace of salt (3-5 ppt)

Weather/sky: mostly overcast, brief sunny periods later in the day

Temperature: 78 degrees F, up to ~91 F for high

Moon: about full

Solunar period: major period 2 pm, minor 7 am.  

Launch in and out: slipped the Hobie Compass in about 7:00 am, out at 4:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 6 miles

Other fishers: solo    

Gear: #8 and #10 weight fly rods

Lures: Capt. Rich Waldner’s spoon fly

Strategy/ patterns: blind cast and sight cast to redfish

The forecast called for a 70% chance of rain and an overcast day. I got no rain but the overcast sky and the lack of tailing fish killed the sight fishing idea for most of the day. The high water meant the redfish were able to go back into the grass and avoid me.

I caught a couple of small redfish early and then caught a few baby speckled trout while blind casting to the pockets and points along the shoreline. I did a lot of searching in the ponds and broken marsh. Redfish were there. Although I couldn’t see them I heard them drum when I passed over them.

Later I got deep into some marsh ponds and the water started to clear a bit. I worked around a tight cut and flushed a nice sized redfish out of the grass. It circled around and I got off a close range cast, and it gulped the spoon fly. I went about 20 yards further and spied another redfish coming at me. It was closing fast but I got a cast in front of it, stripped quickly, and dropped the spoon fly in front of its nose. It flared its gills and sucked it down. After a few minutes I got the 29” redfish in, snapped a photo, and released it without ever lifting it from the water.

I saw several sheepshead coming out of the grass too, but I could not get them to play. They were probably waiting for the snails to come back down off the stalks of grass as the tide dropped.  

Port Sulphur, LA 6-27-2020

Wind: 4-10 mph East/ South East

Tide: predicted to rise about 1’ based on Empire Jetty Station

Water Level: good to start (in the grass), came up more during the day

Water Temperature: ~83 F

Water Clarity: surprisingly clean (3 ft. visibility) but deteriorated as wind and shrimping activity both picked up.

Water salinity: trace of salt (3-5 ppt)

Weather/sky: mostly overcast

Temperature: 78 degrees F, up to ~88 F for high

Moon: waxing 1/3 of full

Solunar period: major period 7-9 am, minor 1-2 pm.  

Launch in and out: slipped the Hobie Compass in about 7:00 am, out at 2:00 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 5 miles

Other fishers: solo    

Gear: #10 wt fly rod, bait caster

Lures: Capt. Rich Waldner’s spoon fly (the only one you need for reds), Vudu shrimp on the bait caster

Strategy/ patterns: sight cast to redfish

I brought the bait caster today since I did not know how the wind, sun, and water would be. The forecast called for a 20% chance of rain and an overcast day. I got no rain but the overcast sky and the lack of tailing fish killed the sight fishing idea.

Since the sun was low early in the morning I started throwing the bait caster with the Vudu shrimp and hooked up with a redfish of about 18” after only a few casts. A quick photo and release and it was on its way. This quick result seemed promising and I switched to the fly rod. I was not seeing any fish and so I casted the spoon fly blindly into some likely pockets along the shoreline. Pretty soon I caught a redfish about the size of the first one. I got into some broken marsh and picked up another clone of the first two fish.

A lull in the action came, so I switched sides of the pond and hit some broken islands on the windward side. After a while I switched back to the Vudu shrimp. A few minutes later I got the best redfish of the day – right at the upper slot size of 27”. It was released after a quick photo. A couple minutes later I hooked into a nice sheepshead of 6 lbs. I love to eat these fish so I kept it. I switched back to the fly rod but didn’t catch anything so after a while I returned to the opposite side of the pond where the water was cleaner. I stood up and started poling downwind. When I came to irregular features or indentations I stopped and fan casted. This turned out to be an effective strategy that yielded a couple more redfish. Most of the fish I caught were tight on the bank today.                                                      

The best moment of the day was when the sun came out for a few minutes around noon. I stood up and poled downwind and came to a feeder bayou that was emptying into a larger pond.  I spotted a lone black drum of about 20” and got it to eat the spoon fly. I decided to invite the black drum home for dinner. I ended the day with 4 redfish and a sheepshead on the Vudu shrimp and 4 redfish and a black drum on the spoon fly.

On the way home I stopped at the Becnel’s roadside stand and picked up some boudin, spicy hot boiled peanuts and creole tomatoes. After I got everything washed up I cooked the black drum and sheepshead on the grill.

#hobiefishing #hobiecompass #Allenreels #TFOrods #Waldnerspoonfly #redfish #blackdrum #sheepshead #kayakfishing #bayoucoastkayakfishingclub #neworleansflyfishersclub

Hopedale, LA 6-20-2020

Wind: 0-10 mph N, later SE, S

Tide: predicted to rise about 2’ based on Shell Beach Station

Water Level: good to start (in the grass), came up during the day

Water Temperature: ~82 F

Water Clarity: dirty in canals, clean early but deteriorated quickly

Water salinity: fresh

Weather/sky: mostly clear, occasional high clouds

Temperature: 75 degrees F, up to ~93 F for high

Moon: waning, sliver

Solunar period: major period at 2 pm.  

Launch in and out: slipped the Hobie Compass in about 6:30 am, out at 5:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 8 miles

Other fishers: solo    

Gear: #8 fly rod

Lures: Capt. Rich Waldner’s spoon fly (the only one you need for reds)

Strategy/ patterns: sight cast to redfish

It was still, hot, and humid on the paddle/pedal out to the marsh. My cooling perfomance fishing shirt wasn’t performing well. I got into the first duck pond, stood up, and poled across the shallow pond. It wasn’t long until I spotted one off a cut in the marsh. It was nervous and spooked but came circling back around me. I cast a couple of times to it but it didn’t see the spoon fly in the weedy water, but the third time was the charm. It ate the fly and took off up a little cut. I had to fight the fish from around the corner but eventually got it to come out and go into the net. 

There were other redfish in the area, and I got ready for round 2. I cast to a nice fish about 30 feet away and it took off with the spoon fly. The fight was quickly over when I applied some pressure and the fly line broke just above the connecting loop. I had to tie on a new leader with an impromptu nail knot to get back into the game. I got reset and stood to cast to the next fish. A stingray came cruising by with a redfish following closely that readily took the spoon fly. A little later I took a short video of a stingray that was joined by a second ray with a small redfish cruising behind it.

The tide was rapidly pushing in really dirty water and it shut down the sight fishing. I went back further into the ponds but the water didn’t clean up. So I tried a different area about a mile away. The water was no better here, but I tried a pond off the first pond and it was a little better. I tried blind casting to some likely places and caught 3 more fish and then headed for the truck.

#hobiefishing #hobiecompass #TFOrods #Waldnerspoonfly #redfish #kayakfishing #bayoucoastkayakfishingclub #neworleansflyfishersclub

New Orleans City Park, 6-6-2020

Tropical storm Cristobal is pushing in from the Gulf of Mexico this weekend and the wind and tide forecasts are looking poor for a trip to the coastal marshes. I opted to fish from the bank at Big Lake in City Park. The water was low and rather dirty, and I started out with a chartreuse mop fly on the 3 weight. It didn’t last long as I snagged it in a tree when I misjudged where my back cast was going. I switched to a #12 foam caddis and caught several small bluegill. I was using a 6x tippet and had trouble tying the flies on this morning – had to switch from the sunglasses to the Rx glasses. I moved over to my secret spot and was able to sight cast to several Rio Grand cichlids that were spawning along the shorelines. I got them to eat the foam caddis and also tried a little red fuzzy worm fly that worked well too.

Cocodrie, LA 5-21-2020

IMG_2679IMG_9680IMG_9687Wind: 5-10 mph S

Tide: predicted to rise about 1’ , high at 10:40 a.m.

Water Level: high to start

Water Temperature: ~75 F

Water Clarity: about a foot of visibility

Water salinity: did not check

Weather/sky: mostly clear with some occasional high clouds

Temperature: 72 degrees F, up to ~90 F for high

Moon: waning, almost dark.

Solunar period: major period at 12-2 pm.

Launch in and out: slipped the skiff in about 7:30 am, out 2:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ lots

Other fishers: Ron Ratliff, #marshdawnguideservice

Gear: #8 TFO TiCr fly rod

Lures: purple/black syn fiber ”shrab” type pattern

Strategy/ patterns: sight cast to redfish and others

 

I met Ron at Coco Marina and in a few minutes we were skimming across the marshes of Terrebonne Parish in his flats skiff. I had heard that Ron was a good guide and I have wanted to fish this area for a while. Cocodrie is further south (and saltier) than where I usually fish (St. Bernard Parish) and the redfish are larger down this way. We made about a 15 minute run and settled in on a nice looking bank. We were greeted by a tailing sheepshead, and Ron poled me over to it. I got off a few casts that were a little bit long or wide and then the fish spooked. A few minutes later I got a chance at a nice black drum. It ate the fly and slowly swam off. I stuck it with the fly and it took off. Unfortunately I had a line management issue and as the fish raced away the fly line tangled below the first guide. I pulled the line with my hand to keep the tangle from going through the guides, and this resulted in the fish escaping.

Ron got me several shots at some good redfish today – including one really impressively big one. For some reason the redfish were in a funky mood all day and showed no interest in the fly. I think it was, in part, due to the turbidity. They just did not seem to see the fly very well.

About noon we worked a wind-protected bank and the black drum began to show up. I got shots at around a dozen or so really nice black drum. I managed to fool three of them. They ranged from about 25-40 lbs. I’d never caught black drum on the fly so this was a first for me.

Later that afternoon I had a few chances at redfish (refused to eat). I also got another shot a sheepshead. It looked interested, but somehow decided against biting at the last instant. The wind was picking up and the water was getting dirtier, so we decided to call it a day. I appreciated the tips and promise to work on remembering that right is on the right side of the boat and left is on the left. I thanked Ron for a great day on the water and headed back home to New Orleans.

#TFOrods #redfish #sheepshead #blackdrum #neworleansflyfishersclub

 

Reggio, 5-10-2020

Wind: 5-10 mph NE

Tide: predicted to rise about 2’ based on Shell Beach Station

Water Level: good to start, came up a bit during the day

Water Temperature: ~70 F

Water Clarity: dirty in canals, clean back in the ponds

Water salinity: fresh

Weather/sky: mostly clear with some occasional high clouds

Temperature: 60 degrees F, up to ~76 F for high

Moon: ¾ waning

Solunar period: minor period at 4-6 pm.

Launch in and out: slipped the Hobie Compass in by combat launch off Highway 300 about 7:00 am, out at 5:30 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 6 miles

Other fishers: solo

Gear: #8 TFO BVK fly rod, Allen Kraken reel, Rio Redfish floating line

Lures: Waldner’s spoon fly

Strategy/ patterns: sight cast to redfish

There was a strange cold snap for May. It had been rainy and cool, and this was the first post-front warming day. Usually a post-front “bluebird” day is not a good day to fish. But it has been warm for a while now and a cold front isn’t that cold now. It turned out to be a good day, although the wind pushed me around when it gusted.

The aquatic vegetation (“weeds”, “grass”) has grown very thick and it blocks off much of the water, leaving only small channels cut by the crab trappers for passage in the kayak. The mats of vegetation forced me to take a roundabout path to get into the duck ponds. The water was clear and as the sun got higher I started to see fish. The first redfish of 20” or so came at about 8:30. I saw it tailing in about a foot of water (above about 2 feet of weeds) and got it to see the spoon fly. It gulped it down, and I caught and released it pretty quickly. I got another similar one out of the pond and then poled my way around to the next pond.

The next pond was a jackpot. I could see 5 or more redfish working and they were spread out over the pond. I cast to a big tailer, it took off making a big wake, and we had a tug of war for a minute. I was trying to keep it from taking the line under the weeds and it was refusing. I pointed the rod toward the fish and pulled down hard and said “stop” and the fish said “no way”. The #15 tippet broke at the loop and the redfish got some new lip jewelry. I knew better, but went a little low on the strength of the mono and paid the price. I upgraded to #20 and put on another spoon fly. I ended up getting 4 redfish out of the pond, but did not catch the spoon fly thief.

From about noon until 3 it was slow. I saw a few fish but they saw me too. They would start moving away and the wind always seemed to be pushing me away from them. It was difficult to get off a decent cast to them.

I went into a more open area and noticed it had some deeper water. The water here was a little stained and combined with the depth and the color of the bottom it was nearly impossible to spot fish. But I could hear them drum as I passed. Usually when a redfish drums as a warning it’s all over and casting is a waste of time. I tried anyway and got the best fish of the day. The fish was able to put on a good battle since the water was deeper and less weedy. I went about a hundred yards and the scenario repeated, this time with a 20” fish.

Other stuff: I saw a big black hog with a piglet walking along a bank. On the way in a gator of about 8’ in length shot into the water off a canal bank as I came near. This happens regularly. But then the gator popped up about 15 feet off the port side of my kayak and seemed to size me up. I kept going and conflict was averted. Maybe the display of curiosity or aggression was seasonal in nature. I sure hope that people have not been feeding it.

#hobiefishing #hobiecompass #TFOrods #Allenflyfishing #spoonfly #redfish #kayakfishing #bayoucoastkayakfishingclub #neworleansflyfishersclub

Delacroix, LA 5-1-2020

Wind: 0-2 mph most of the day coming from all directions, 5-10 mph after 3 p.m. from East

Tide: predicted to rise about a foot and a half based on Shell Beach Station, but instead it fell during the morning, then came back up in the afternoon, should have been rising all morning,

Water Level: low, lower, and then and rising

Water Temperature: 76 F

Water Clarity: very clean in the marsh ponds

Water salinity: fresh

Weather/sky: bluebird sky and sunny all day

Temperature: 65 degrees F, up to ~82 F for high

Moon: half, waxing

Solunar period: major period at 8-10 a.m., major period 2 p.m.

Launch in and out: slipped the Hobie Compass in by combat launch off Highway 300 about 6:30 am, out at 7:00 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 8 miles

Other fishers: solo

Gear: One #10 fly rod

Lures: Rich Waldner’s classic spoon fly, other crab flies

Strategy/ patterns: sight cast to redfish

Forecast was for a nice sunny day and no wind – perfect for sight fishing with the fly rod. I was surprised how low the water was at the combat launch spot off highway 300. I barely made it out to the open water. A friend was launching at noon and the tide had dropped out even more and he had to go elsewhere to launch. Weird. Water levels should have been normal and rising all morning, and with no wind I’m not sure what happened.

I picked a spot to start that was a couple of miles out from the launch. I tried not to get distracted and made it out there as the sun was just getting high enough to start seeing down into the water. About the time I was thinking of standing up to sight fish a squad of redfish cruised by, drummed and shot away. I hadn’t realized it yet, but the dropping tide had emptied all the flats, cuts, and bayous into a larger pond and the redfish were all crowded into this area. It was by far the most redfish I’d ever seen. There were wakes and tails all over this pond and they were easy to see – like a big koi pond. I caught a couple quickly and then as the sun got higher they got really spooky. I spotted them, but they spotted me too and often ignored good fly presentations that normally got eaten 99% of the time. Sometimes they scattered away from the fly as if they thought it would bite them. Every now and then one would take the fly and I’d pull it in with the 10 weight TFO Mangrove rod. I had upped the size of the rod due to the thick aquatic vegetation out there to get the fish in quicker. Last week I fished with a more limber rod and lost a few to the aquatic weeds.

I chased the redfish around most of the morning, and then they sort of disappeared. I poled down a bank and spooked some sheepshead and then spied a redfish cruising. I cast to it and worked the fly past the strike zone – and then an unseen fish hit. It had a dark back and at first I thought it was a rogue speckled trout, but then it got closer and leapt from the water. Bass!

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The water was getting dirty from incoming tide and a little wind starting up, so I crossed the big pond and tried a sheltered area that usually held clean water. I spotted some redfish, but again they were spooky. When I could get a shot off, it was hard to get the fly to them in the dense, weedy water. One of the largest redfish I’ve seen this year, maybe 36”, cruised by at about 40’ with an eye on me. I was hoping it would stop and turn back but it was aware of me and wasn’t going to give me a chance. I did a little blind casting and caught a couple of smaller slot fish and headed for the landing.

I felt like I should have caught lots more fish, but have to consider it a good day on the fly rod with 7 reds and a bass. I saw several stingrays cruising the marsh today, a couple of small alligators, and a couple of big gar.

#hobiefishing #hobiecompass #TFOrods #Allenflyfishing #spoonfly #redfish #kayakfishing #bayoucoastkayakfishingclub #neworleansflyfishersclub

Delacroix 4-26-2020

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Delacroix, LA 4-26-2020
Wind: 5-10 mph early, gradually increased to 15 mph from NNW by 8 a.m.
Tide: rising all morning to a high of 1.8 ft at 4 p.m. based on Shell Beach Station
Water Level: normal and rising
Water Temperature: 76 F
Water Clarity: very clean in the marsh ponds
Water salinity: fresh
Weather/sky: cloudy at dawn and turned sunny and clear after 9 a.m.
Temperature: 70 degrees F, up to ~82 F for high
Moon: new, waxing
Solunar period: minor period at 9-10 a.m., major period 4-6 p.m.
Launch in and out: slipped the Hobie Compass in by combat launch off Highway 300 about 6:30 am, out at 4:30 p.m.
Water covered: ~ 5 miles
Other fishers: Kevin A.
Gear: One #8 fly rod, crab nets
Lures: Rich Waldner’s classic spoon fly

Strategy/ patterns: sight cast to redfish with spoon fly, put out baited crab nets and try to dip net the crabs

IMG_2626

Sunday’s forecast was for a nice sunny day and winds under 10 mph. I talked with my buddy Kevin and we made a plan for flyfishing. When we got to the launch at dawn there were clouds that were streaming rain off in the distance. The wind was blowing at least 10 mph to start the trip. The clouds vanished pretty quickly and gave way to a beautiful day except for that dirty old nemesis of the fly fisher that goes by the four-letter word of “WIND.”

A couple of weeks ago I fished this area and saw lots of nice sized crabs, so I thought I would bait a few crab nets and try to catch some with a dip net. On the way out I crossed paths with a tailing redfish about 30 feet away. It gulped down the spoon fly and I got it into the soft cooler bag. I had broken my favorite fly rod getting a redfish out of some weeds two weeks ago, so I was trying out a new rod that I bought from a friend for $25. It’s a nice 9.5 ft. Albright 8 weight, but I found it has a slower and more willowy action after fishing with it. After catching this redfish I learned that the rod is not so good for getting fish out of the weeds. I think I’ll bring my 10 weight rod when I fish this aquatic jungle.

IMG_2630

Back to the crab nets. I baited them with turkey necks and spaced them about 20 yards apart and then fished. I came back and “ran” them about 2 hours later – no action. I checked and pulled them in about 1 p.m. and still nothing, although it looked like a couple of them had been picked at a bit. I saw a few crabs in the ponds during the morning, but not nearly as many as there was the last time. They seem to have migrated away. I tried to dip a few with the net, caught one but it escaped as I was sorting the muck out of the net, captured a decent one, and then missed a couple. My crabbing skills are weak, but I’ll work on it. Later in the day I spotted a lot of crabs in about a foot of water but I didn’t feel like playing with them by that point. Seems they had migrated to more shallow water as level was now higher. By that time my mind was stuck on catching redfish.

I was standing and sight fishing and seeing some fish, but they were seeing me too. I had a group of three redfish moving around a point and coming right at me. I made a short cast to them and the bigger one made a swipe at the spoon fly but missed. This mildly spooked the group, but they quickly settled down and I got a 20” redfish out of the gang.

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The wind picked up and it became more difficult to pole the kayak around. It was slow, noisy, and awkward going upwind and, when standing, too fast and risking a fall going downwind. I was largely restricted to poling crosswise to the wind.

Things were slow for a while. I plodded around a pond for a while and saw a few fish but they were wary and spotted me easily. After I picked up my crab nets I opted for a change and tried to find the fish in more shallow areas. I found a little island with about a 10 foot wide cut between it and a large bank. The water was only a foot deep and it was very weedy, with the wind pushing through the cut. I saw a flash of an orange redfish feeding and put down the stake pole. I cast into the cut a few times with no action and then a nice upper sized slot redfish came out toward me. It came so close that it was hard to cast to it at such close range. It made a swing and a miss at the spoon fly and went back into the cut, so I cast in after it. But instead of getting the larger redfish I got a little 14” redfish. The bigger one left, but it gave me a clue that the fish were in shallower water.

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I moved over to a new area of ponds and it wasn’t long until I started spotting fish. The water here was only a foot to a foot and a half deep, and this was where the crabs had gone. The downside was that the wind was blowing 15 mph with higher gusts and it was hard to maneuver and cast to them. I finally got the spoon fly in front of one, hooked it, and it took off under the clouds of aquatic weeds and algae. I tried to keep pressure on the fish but it had wound around the weeds so much that it created a slack line and escaped. I repeated this a few more times. I was spotting fish and getting them to eat, but then losing them to the weeds after about a 30 second battle. The new rod was too flexible to put much pressure on the fish. The afternoon proved very fruitful in that I finally was seeing fish, but with the wind and shallow weedy conditions, it was hard to hook and land them.

The last fish I caught was fun. I spotted it and it didn’t spot me since I was behind it. I moved in range, got a good cast to it and it automatically ate the fly. It tried the “bury in the weeds trick” but I tracked it down and got to it before it shook free. It was a really orange one of about 26”. I let it go to be caught another day.

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I was poling in about 2 feet of weedy water when something exploded under me. By the time I could realize what had happened I looked at the front of the big wake moving away from me and saw a huge alligator gar that was about 6’ long with a girth about as thick as my waist. Always interesting stuff to see in the marsh!

#hobiefishing #hobiecompass #buff #redfish #flyfishing #kayak

 

St. Bernard Parish 4-4-2020

Wind: 0 early, gradually increased to 10 mph from E by 2 p.m.

Tide: Low ~ 10:30 a.m., range of 1 foot based on Shell Beach Station

Water Level: normal

Water Temperature: 70s

Water Clarity: dirty in canal, clean in the marsh

Water salinity: fresh

Weather/sky: overcast

Temperature: 70 degrees F, up to ~81 F for high

Moon: 2/3rds waxing

Solunar period: major period 10:30 a.m.

Launch in and out: slipped the Hobie Compass in by combat launch off Highway 300 about 6:30 am, out at 3:00 p.m.

Water covered: ~ 5 miles

Other fishers: solo trip

Gear: One #8 fly rod, bait casting rod

Lures: Spoon fly, and inline spinner bait with gold blade/chicken on a chain Saltwater Assassin

Strategy/ patterns: sight cast to reds with spoon fly

I looked at the weather for Saturday and Sunday. Saturday would be overcast with less wind, Sunday would be sunnier but the wind would be greater. I put my bet on Saturday since I wanted to fly fish from my kayak. It’s easier to control the kayak and the fly line when the wind is down, although it’s harder to spot redfish on a cloudy day.

I brought the bait caster because I prefer to throw it over the fly rod in the early morning when I can’t sight fish. I picked up a couple of small redfish by blind casting as I worked my way into the marsh.

The water was beautiful today, and I could easily see shells and crabs on the bottom in about 5 feet of depth. I worked my way into more shallow marsh. It was about 2 feet deep, but had a foot or two of aquatic vegetation that took up some to all of the water column. There were lots of big mullet and gar around, and they were constantly fooling me into thinking they might be redfish. But after a few seconds to minutes of watching closely I could tell the fakes from the targets and kept poling along.

I got into one pond and worked around to the top and as I started around the fish began to show up. I couldn’t usually see the whole fish under the water, but just saw an occasional flick of a dorsal or tail fin as they move along under the surface. I made some decent casts and got some good strikes. I only misfired on one pair of reds that I had spooked and then trailed for a bit. A number of casts were at “point blank” range where a cane pole would have worked as well.

The fish came from crabby waters, and I suspect they had been on this diet for a while. That probably accounted for their remarkable orange color. Shellfish have a red-orange compound called astaxanthin and I think the redfish accumulate it when their diet consists of this source of food. It’s the same compound that gives flamingos their orange-pink coloration. When flamingoes are fed non-crustacean food sources that lack astaxanthin they become white. Larger redfish and those from more saltwater environments seem to be more steely in color, maybe because they are not exclusively on a crab and shrimp diet.

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I ended up with 10 redfish, with 7 coming on the fly rod. Two were below the minimum slot size and one was over, about 30” long. Not too bad for a cloudy day.