Pair-a-docs-ical Fly Fishing at Hopedale 3-5-2016

Fishing Report

Date: 03/05/16

Place: Hopedale

Wind: 0-10 mph from multiple directions

Tide: (Very) Low at 11 a.m. Water rapidly rising during the afternoon, over a foot

Moon: waning, 1/8th moon

Solunar period: major period at 9 -11 am, minor at 2-3 pm

Sky: very sunny with a few scattered clouds

Temperature: 72 F for the high

Water Temperature: 65 F or so (water felt cool)

Water Level: super low, and rising during the afternoon, over a foot

Water Clarity: very muddy, 6” or less visibility, but found a few spots of 2’ visibility

Time on the water: 8 to 3

Water covered: About 6.5 miles

Other fishers: Kevin Andry

Kevin Andry and I got together for a fly fishing trip to Hopedale. Kevin is “music doc” on the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club’s  forum (bckfc.org) and my screen name is “snake doctor”. So together we make a pair-a-docs when we fish together (bad, I know). We combat launched the near Breton Sound Marina. Both of us brought two fly rods, one rigged for reds and the other for specks. We schlepped across a mud flat and launched into a beautiful day that held great promise for fly fishing. The wind was forecast to be light at 5 mph from the east, but it would turn out to be very fickle over the day. It switched around from every direction, one minute still and a few minutes later it would be strong. When the wind would drop the mosquitoes and gnats went on the warpath. We were able to keep them at bay (mostly) by being covered up well and by using repellents and Victoria’s Secret Amber Romance. But if there was a chink in my armor they surely found it.

We headed into an old reliable pond in the marsh, but found it hard to fish because of the muddy low water. It was the lowest and dirtiest I have experienced there. There was a ton of activity from baitfish. I could see that I spooked some resting fish and started blind casting. I tried standing but the muddy water hid any fish that might be there. So I sat back down and threw a crab and fooled an 18” redfish into biting. I thought about throwing it into the cooler, but then felt it might be bad luck to keep the first fish. After a few minutes of no action we moved on in search of better water.

We worked a bayou with moving water but it was too dirty to expect much success. It opened into a big pond and Kevin went left and I went right. About 100 yards down the shoreline I found a draining cut that had made an area of clear water. Then I saw a redfish crashing bait on the bank. A little farther up the cut there was another feeding redfish. I pedaled the Outback upwind and around the cut so that I could move back to them quietly with the wind pushing me. I spooked a big sheepshead in the process and tried to cast to it without success. I drifted back to the reds and got a hit in the crab but lost the fish after a short fight. The fish were spooked at this point and I spent too much time trying to catch them. I eventually missed two more fish that bit, but I failed on the hook set. So I headed on down the bank, and missed another red, and then hooked up on a nice thick 24” fish. After releasing it I did not go 20 yards until a redfish rounded a little point and it was headed straight at me at close range. I flipped the spoon fly at it, but it did not see it on the first pass. I tried again now that it was about 5 yards from me and it spooked when the line hit the water. I went around the point and cast into a little pocket next to an old duck blind and got a hard strike on the spoon. For an instant I thought it might be a nice red, but it turned out to be a spunky bass of about 13”.

I pedaled around and ran into Kevin, who was approaching from the other side. We conferred and decided to fish a bit longer. Kevin spent a lot more time standing and poling his kayak than I normally do. So I learned a few tips from him today. I have found that I spook lots of fish when standing, so I do it occasionally. Kevin stands and scouts a lot more than I do. He spooks some fish, but also gets some good shots at fish that I would not normally see from my seated position. It was not long after we talked that he hooked up on a nice redfish on one of his homemade spoon flies.

I pedaled back around to the shore that had produced the redfish a couple of hours ago. I went to the same cut as before, but was a bit disoriented because there was no barnacle- covered post sticking where I expected it to be. It turned out I was in the correct place, but the water had risen by over a foot in just a few hours. The tide was flying in to fill up the hole, and it was stirring up chocolate milk colored water. The clean pocket of water was now gone, and if there were any fish I could no longer see them. It was now after 2 pm and Kevin and I headed back to the launch site.

I ended the day with 2 redfish and a bass, and Kevin with 3 reds. Kevin upgraded his redfish for the BCKFC/Massey’s Fish Pics tournament. Not spectacular results, but not bad given the dirty low water. We got enough fish to make it interesting day and avoided the skunks.