Fishing Report 11/4/2019
Last week, I did not fish. What?! That’s right, for the first time in a very long time, I missed seven days of fishing (in a row). For the past few months, I have been battling a repetitive stress injury in my right elbow. As it turns out, I fish too much. During a quick fishing trip, I will cast several hundred times. On longer trips, my cast count often exceeds one thousand. Plus, somewhere along the line, I got old! Excessive casting and old age are a bad combination. According to my doctor, a course of steroids, powerful anti-inflammatory medication and no fishing would help my elbow to heal. After disregarding this advise for months, I realized this was something that would not simply go away. Thus, my fishing hiatus.
Hopefully, my elbow will recover soon because the next few weeks will offer some of the best fishing of the year. As the water temperature drops below the middle sixty-degree range, most of the baitfish and shrimp will leave the creeks. This leaves Redfish, Trout and Flounder with a big appetite and not much to eat. So, they will be chasing and eating everything they can fit in their mouths. Ironically, I have this in common with the fish.
Call your friends. Grab your family. Go fishing. Someone must do it. Until my arm recovers, I am depending upon you!
A lot of fly anglers spend more time at their vise than on their skiffs. While I enjoy tying flies, I enjoy catching fish more! As such, my files are all very simple and easy to tie. They are not very pretty but they do catch fish. This time of year, Redfish, Trout and Flounder (along with everything else that has fins and teeth) get really focused on eating shrimp. Thankfully, a sparsely tied tan Clouser Minnow looks just like a shrimp.
Recently, I started using Steve Farrar’s Flash Blend for all my shrimp and glass minnow flies (which are sparsely tied Clouser Minnows). This material is easy to work with and provides a translucent silhouette in the water. It helps me to quickly tie simple but effective flies (that catch fish).
Step away from that vise and go fishing!
Recently, a few people have been asking questions about how the tide influences my approach to fishing. In the Lowcountry, we have a tidal range of 5 to 6 feet. Subsequently, we have a consistent 2 to 3 knot current as the tide rises and falls. Tidal range and current are helpful factors for anglers that plan accordingly.
As the tide begins to fall, shrimp and baitfish funnel out of the marsh through small drains and creek mouths. Trout, Flounder and Redfish have this figured out and position themselves accordingly. So I tend to fish this pattern early in the falling tide.
When the water flow from small drains and creek mouths begins to slow down (and food is no longer being funneled), I move to larger creek mouths or marsh points that are still being swept by a good current. These areas are predator feeding stations and should be productive until slack tide.
At the bottom of the tide, I focus on Redfish in shallow water. Not just any shallow area but areas with oyster bars and a depth transition (like a channel). Bait gets concentrated in these areas and Redfish can often be seen chasing it around. They are literally fishing in a barrel. Anglers with shallow draft skiffs can fish in the same barrel.
Three patterns for three stages of the tide. I hope this helps.
Last week while speaking at the Summerville Saltwater Anglers meeting, I was introduced to Grant Allison. Turns out Grant was working on a school project that required him to catch a Trout, Flounder and Redfish. The project was due this week and Grant needed a little help catching the fish. So I invited him to fish with me on Monday. It was blowing 20 knots when we launched the skiff. Rather than fight the elements, we tucked into a small creek and began casting Z-Man StreakZ 3.75 lures on 3/16th ounce Trout Eye finesse jigs. The bite was slow but Grant managed to release a few Trout and a Flounder. However, the Redfish eluded us. As the sun set, the wind finally let up. With just a few minutes of daylight left, we moved to a wind sheltered shallow area and immediately spotted a school of Redfish. It took a little doing but Grant finally got a Redfish to eat his StreakZ. Using the last rays of sunlight, we took a quick picture and released the fish.
Grant is an excellent student. Based upon our trip, he is an even better angler.