Thanksgiving week was filled with lots of family, friends, food and fishing. Unfortunately, on several days, gale-like conditions made fishing a bit of a challenge. Of course, I went fishing anyway because the best catch in fishing is time with family and friends. Thankfully, the fish were cooperative, even in the tough conditions.
On one of the really windy days, Elliott, David and I set out to catch a Redfish on the fly. The main river was blown out. So, we began our search for Redfish in a small wind sheltered creek. The tide was falling and nearing dead low. There was not much water left in the creek. This made locating Redfish much easier, as their backs and tails were often above the water line. Finding them was easy. Accurately casting a fly in gale-like conditions was another matter entirely. Our first few casts did not even land in the water. The wind would catch the fly line and blow it onto the bank. After a few adjustments, my brother David (finally) made a good presentation. The fly landed a foot or so in front of a decent size Red. We held our breath as the fish slowly swam forward and inhaled the fly. The Redfish was feisty, and the fight took longer than usual. All the while, Elliott and I were giving David a hard time. When he landed the fish, we were all happy. David unhooked the Red and was releasing it, when Elliott took a picture. It would have been a great picture, but it captured me looking stupid in the background. This gave David and Elliott cause to give me a hard time. Things change fast on family fishing trips. Standing on the poling platform, watching Elliott and David laugh (at me) reminded me of why I fish (so much). Fishing is about time, moments and memories. Catching fish, well that is just a bonus!
As we approach Thanksgiving, Fall is giving way to Winter. Several consecutive cool days and cold nights have dropped the water temperature below 60-degrees. While I am not much of a cold weather person, the cooler water is welcome. It has the Trout and Redfish feeding like me on Thanksgiving Day. Nothing is safe. If I can fit it in my mouth, it is going to get eaten. Regardless, of how much I may have already eaten. This gluttonous behavior was on display early Saturday morning. I launched the skiff 30-minutes before sunrise. The short ride to my first fishing spot was brisk. I pulled back on the throttle and deployed the trolling motor a good distance from my fishing area. The water was slick calm and I did not want my boat wake to disturb the shallows. As I slowly and quietly approached a submerged oyster bar, the water above the bar erupted. Finger mullet were jumping and running for their lives. I picked up my favorite bait casting outfit and cast a Shimano Colt Sniper top water lure towards the feeding activity. Before I could impart any action to the lure, a Redfish ate it. If you heard hooting and hollering before sunrise on Saturday, it was me. Until the sun cleared the horizon, it was cast, catch, release and repeat. The epic top water bite stopped soon as the sun’s rays hit the surface of the water. I thought the Trout and Redfish were still in the area but unwilling to strike a surface lure. So, I put the bait casting outfit away and un-racked my fly rod. On my third cast to the oyster bar, a small Redfish ate my fly (a brown and white Whistler pattern). While fighting the fish, I noticed the light was perfect for a picture. When the small Redfish came to the skiff, it posed for a quick picture and then swam away. Rather than make another cast, I sat down, admired the view for a few minutes then went to breakfast a Honey Comb. Why should the fish be the only ones to eat a hearty breakfast? Speaking of eating, have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Wind and rain made fishing this week a bit of a challenge. The combined weather elements made for extremely poor water clarity. This shut down the Trout bite and made casting lures or flies to Redfish in the shallows nearly impossible. Fishing was tough but not nearly as tough as the drive from Mount Pleasant to Daniel Island!
On Sunday, my son Elliott and I set out to catch a Redfish on the fly. Conditions were not optimal. Shoot, they were downright awful. Light rain, strong wind and poor water clarity had us considering a change of plans. However, we decided to stick with the original plan. Regardless of how difficult it would be. Turns out, difficult was an understatement.
The water clarity was like chocolate milk. We could not see Redfish swimming in water that was less than a foot deep. Sight fishing was a total bust. Rather than give up the quest for a Redfish on the fly, we decided to slowly pole the shallows and cast to feeding activity (shrimp and baitfish jumping). This time of year, shrimp and baitfish are jumping everywhere. So, we ended up casting the fly literally everywhere. Back in the days when Elliott and I were tournament fishing, we called endless casting with no bites “grinding”. That is exactly what we did. Move and cast. Move and cast. Move and cast.
After a few hours of grinding, our spirits were low. I recommended that we quit and go eat a late lunch. Elliott was not ready to throw in the towel. We kept on. Move and cast. Move and cast. Move and cast. Then unexpectedly, a Redfish managed to see and eat the fly. Elation!
Fish was slow. But, it sure beat sitting in traffic!
Now that we have set our clocks forward, there is an extra hour in the afternoon to go fishing. Recently, Elliott and I took advantage of the additional daylight and released a few Redfish On The Fly. It was a little breezy but my Shimano Asquith 8 weight made presenting the fly effortless. The Reds were hungry. The sunset was beautiful. Another great fishing trip with my son.
The Charleston Boat Show was this weekend. Thanks to Erin and Mel from Ankona / Salt Marsh Skiffs for letting me hang around the booth and talk about fishing! Also, thanks to everyone that dropped by to see me.
While at the show, I had the opportunity to speak with several guides and anglers. The frigid water temperatures brought on by the recent snow storm, definitely moved our fish around. Thankfully, temperatures have returned to a more typical range for this time of year. Redfish are back in their normal late winter haunts. However, Trout have yet to do so. Hopefully, they will show up (in good numbers) soon.
Given the situation, I plan to target Redfish on the fly for the next week or so. This will give the Trout more time to get back into their normal winter pattern and me more time to cast my 8-weight Shimano Asquith.
As a Christmas present to myself, I picked up a Shimano Asquith 8 weight fly rod. The Asquith has significantly enhanced my casting distance and accuracy. It is by far, the best fly rod I have ever owned.
After a few days of catching Trout during higher stages of the tide, I put the Asquith to work on Redfish in shallow water. Being by myself, I poled the skiff looking for schools of Reds. Once located, I used the Power Pole Micro to hold the skiff within casting distance (50 to 70 feet) of the fish. The Asquith made covering that distance a breeze. It was easy to cast then pick up and shoot the line again. Quick follow up presentations to passing fish paid big dividends. All of the Reds I caught were on follow up casts.
The Asquith is the best gift I ever gave to myself!
Went fishing on the Clinch River over the weekend. Drove through a snow storm to get there but it was worth it. Completed a Clinch River Trifecta, releasing a Rainbow, Brown and Brook. Thanks to Mike Bone for braving the elements and putting us on fish.
Thanksgiving week was all about family, food and fishing. When I was not eating, I was fishing with my family. The bite was good all week if you adjusted your techniques to match the weather conditions.
Early in the week, the weather was warm and the barometer was steady. My niece, Sarah, did great sight fishing Redfish in the shallows.
The next day, a cold front passed through bringing with it a light rain and cooler temperatures. The falling barometer had the Trout feeding actively. My brother in law (Mike) and nephew (Lee) released over 100 fish casting Z-Man StreakZ 3.75 on Finesse Jigs.
The next day brought blue skies and post cold front conditions. My brother (Dave) and son (Elliott) doubled up On the Fly with a couple of nice Redfish. The water was very clear and the fish were very easy to see.
Today, my wife (Amy) and I got out of the skiff to enjoy the perfect weather. After a picnic lunch, we released a bunch of small Trout. Post cold front had the Trout in deeper about (10-15 feet). Once located, vertical jigging a Z-Man TubeZ on NedlockZ jig kept us in steady action.
Cold and Windy Trout On the Fly
This week, one of the first cold fronts of the season passed through the Lowcountry. Leaving behind, strong northeasterly winds and lower water temperatures. These conditions are a mixed blessing for anglers. When the wind is blowing against the tide, the Wando River can be downright nasty. However, anglers willing to brave the rough conditions will often find ravenous schools of Trout and Redfish.
On Friday and Saturday, the nasty conditions kept me off the water. On Sunday, conditions were not much better but Elliott and I decided to go fishing anyway. The Wando River was rough but my new skiff handled the chop extremely well. After a short run up river, Elliott and I began fishing on a shallow flat with a slight channel running through it. I cast a Z-Man TRD TubeZ on a 1/5 ounce NedlockZ jig into the channel and erratically hopped the lure back to the boat. Halfway through my retrieve, a Redfish crushed the lure. While I was fighting the fish, Elliott staked the skiff with the Power Pole Micro and fired a cast into the channel. He hooked a Redfish as well. We released our fish and then immediately caught two more. After releasing the second set of fish, we decided to put away the spinning tackle and switch to flyrods. Given the strong breeze, casting was a bit of a challenge. It took me a few tries but I eventually made a long cast into the channel. The fly, a chartreuse Clouser Minnow, was eaten immediately. Elliott and I figured it was another Redfish but when it came to the skiff it was a nice size Trout.
We continued to work the channel with our flyrods and enjoyed steady action with Trout and Redfish. The fish were still biting when a strong gust of wind caught my front cast and the fly hit me in the arm. Good thing the fly was tied on a barbless hook. It came right out and only hurt a little bit. Just enough to convince me it was time to stop fly-fishing.
Conditions on Sunday were not optimal but Elliott and I managed to catch a good number of fish. I even caught myself!
Trout on a Z-Man Trick ShotZ
Like Halloween, the fishing this week was scary good! On Saturday, I experienced perhaps the best Trout bite ever. My brother Dave and I were fishing a submerged oyster bar in the harbor. The bar was about 2 feet deep and directly adjacent to deeper water. We cast Z-Man Trick ShotZ on 1/5th ounce NedlockZ jigs on top of the bar and let the incoming tide sweep the lure into deeper water. Our retrieve was a slight jigging action. Trout in the 14 to 20-inch range were crushing the Trick ShotZ before it could hit the bottom. We caught fish on almost every cast.
After releasing 15 to 20 Trout each, we put away our spinning tackle and began casting flies into the area. Results were the same. More Trout! We literally got tired of catching them. So, we left them biting and went deep hole shrimping. The shrimp tricked us. After several casts of the deep hole net, we had zero shrimp. Dave and I debated catching more Trout but decided to target Redfish in the flooded marsh instead. A quick run run up the Wando, put us on a small school of Reds hanging around a shallow marsh channel. I cast a Trick ShotZ ahead of the first fish and it slowly swam forward and ate it. The fight was spirited and the Redfish won. Dave was still making fun of me when the school came back into casting range. He picked up his fly rod and made a quick presentation. A Redfish inhaled the fly as soon as it hit the water. Unfortunately for me, this one did not get away and I was reminded of it for the rest of the day.
Fishing is really good right now. REALLY GOOD! So, treat yourself to some Halloween fun and go fishing.