Wind: 0-5 mph in the morning, 10+ after noon from E
Tide: Falling, low at about noon at Shell Beach station, range 0.7 ft
Water Level: pretty low, lots of shoreline showing, frequently bumping bottom in the kayak much of the day
Water Temperature: ~ 70 F
Water Clarity: clear to very clear in most spots, some muddy spots later in the day due to wind
Water salinity: very fresh
Weather/sky: partly cloudy, good sunny periods
Temperature: ~ 68 F, going up to about 80 F
Moon: new waxing crescent
Solunar period: minor period @ 8:30 to 9:30, major period about 4:30 p.m.
Time on the water: Slipped the Hobie Outback kayak in at 8 a.m., packed up and driving home about 5 p.m.
Water covered: ~ 7 miles
Other fishers: solo trip
Game Plan: keep moving, find fish
Gear: two #8 fly rods
Lures: Waldner spoon fly in chartreuse, silver and white deceiver
Strategy/ patterns: The water was very low in most spots and I had to paddle instead of pedal the kayak for most of the day. I had planned to go out to a particular area but spotted a feeding redfish along the way. This caused me to move to a small pond where I could see several fish working. I detoured for several hours to chase reds here. It was very shallow and there were lots of aquatic weeds and algae in water that was only about a foot deep or less, but the shallowness helped in spotting fish. I had to work the spoon fly pretty quickly to keep it weed free. The first fish was pretty easy. I got the spoon fly to it and it ate. It was about 20” and it made it into the fish bag. I moved around and got upwind of another working fish about 15 minutes later, drifted silently in range, cast and the fish inhaled the fly before I could strip it. It was about 24” and I released it. I chased after a few reds and had a lull in the action. Then things seemed to pick up again. I landed a 22” red that I put in the bag. A few minutes later I hooked into a nicer sized redfish that went close to 27” and I released it as well. I decided to give this group of fish a break and went looking for some trout.
I went across the pond and hit some really shallow water that grounded the kayak. I decided to push through rather than turn back and after a few minutes of plowing I got to deeper water. I made it up to a cut with a scour that was about 6 feet deep where I often catch specks, but no one was home. I threw the spoon fly and the deceiver in the trout hole without any luck. So, I moved on to some other redfish spots to look for more fish.
When I arrived there was a nice big tail with a black dot that was flapping and I got upwind and drifted down to the fish. By this time the wind was strong and I couldn’t see the fish when it went under water. The fish went down and I cast in its general direction without success. I kept bringing in gobs of algae on the fly. Then I drifted too close and the redfish bolted away and grunted (drummed), leaving with a big wake. A few minutes later I passed over several fish that grunted as I spooked them. I went up into a small pond and suddenly saw a 30” red that was about 20 feet away and closing. I guess I got the fishing equivalent of “buck fever” and as I tried to flip a simple cast to it the spoon fly hit and wrapped around my rod. The fish spooked and I said a few special words that were appropriate for the situation. I found several other nice sized redfish but somehow always managed to snag my fly on underwater weeds or spooked them as I made a cast. It was getting frustrating. The fish were much harder to see now than when the wind was still earlier in the morning. By the time I spotted the redfish they were too close and saw me as well.
Finally I hooked up with a little bass by blind casting to a likely spot. Later I caught a small redfish hiding right behind a wind-blown point. I headed back in and had to paddle most of the way. The water never really came up in spite of the east wind. I cleaned my two redfish and grilled them for supper the next evening.
Other notes: Lots of big flocks of ducks today….. heading north. I saw two decent sized gators of 6 and 8 feet (they’re back), and an otter. It was good to get back out and catch a few fish.