8.17.11 summer photo of the day

When I was in Charleston last week, the tides just happened to be right in the late afternoon for fishing for tailing redfish. These tides only happen about 20 times or so a season and last only a couple of hours. The water floods the grass marshes and the redfish come in with the tide looking for their favorite food, fiddler crabs. To a redfish, a crab is like ice cream to a toddler. To catch them like this requires a special set of techniques and skills. First, you must know where the right flats are. This is a closely guarded secret amongst fly fishermen. Some you can only reach with a boat, others are sneaky walk in areas. We had to cross a neck deep creek to get to one. Second, you must be really good at spotting the fish. Sometimes they are tailing with their heads down and their tails out of the water, other times they are cruising looking for crabs. Other times they will be in such shallow water that their backs stick out or in water so deep you can’t spot them at all until they swirl the surface. Once spotted, you must sneak up on them to get into casting range, then after all that you must place the fly in a perfect spot, where the fish is going, not where he has been and not too close or he’ll run but not so far away that they can’t see the fly. Then they have to eat your fly. Once on they are great fighters, it is no sure thing that you will land one. One my very first trip to try to catch a red on the flats, I hooked up on my first cast, had him to my feet when he turned and ran once more and somehow he spit the hook! So this time, with the help of my friend Mad Mike, we had 3 days of fishing for anywhere from 90-120 mintues. No fish the first day, although we spotted two that were very big, the windy conditions thwarted our casting, Mike caught one the second day, breaking his rod during the fight. On the third day, I finally caught my first tailing redfish. All of those things came together in one great moment. It was awesome. I can’t wait to do it again.

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