They wobble and dive like a crank bait, float like a cork and have tails (or lips) that work as weed guards.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that shrimp and crayfish don’t wobble while swimming and crawdads, well, they don’t float. But I’m guessing that the smallmouth north of me and the redfish and speckled trout east of me will overlook those two little facts and crush these things.
I’ll keep everybody posted on developments.
(Oh, and a quick up date on the summer of fishing: things have been great, don’t want to talk about it too much for fear of jinxing myself and, uh… Yeah that’s it.)
You can’t slather on enough sunscreen to keep from burning at least some - I tried. I applied. Then I reapplied. Then I put on some more. I still burned. So I found a new appreciation for technical fishing clothes and yes, though it pains me to say it, even the Buff.
Fish don’t like the smell of sunscreen
Just because I can hit a child with a fly while he’s running full-bore across a field at 80 ft and with a 20 knot wind blowing doesn’t mean that I can successfully cast to a feeding permit 30 ft away when the breeze is barely rippling the water - Buck fever is a horrible affliction.
I may be too easily distracted - “Oh look a baby lobster.” “That’s a neat looking sponge.” “What is that, Stag-horn coral?” “What a cool looking bird!” “Fuck! I can’t believe I poled right over that fish! I shouldn’t have been looking at that goddamn lobster/sponge/coral/bird!” And yes I do talk to myself like that when I’m alone.
Being ready for the proper fish is hard - I learned long ago that having more than one fly rod rigged and ready to go in my kayak is a recipe for tangles, unending frustration and sometimes broken rods. On this last trip I learned that I’ll see permit and redfish if I have my shark rig ready to go and I’ll see nothing but sharks and ‘cuda if I have my other rod ready to go.
Bonefish don’t exist - They are a fiction created by “big fly fishing” to sell rods and flies so fat cats in the industry can continue to rake in the millions. All photos you may have seen are CGI. If you claim to have seen or caught a bonefish personally you are obviously in the pocket of the “Man”.
A shark the length of my kayak can swim in 2 ft of water without making the slightest bit of disturbance on the surface - What the hell is that about!?!?
And the only possible way to truly become proficient fly fishing in the Keys is to spend a lot of time fishing there - So I’m going to have to start going down there at least once or twice a year. I’m sure my wife won’t mind…
If all goes according to plan, Saturday morning I should be near Beaufort, SC shooting ducks on a private, seldom to never hunted pond at sunrise and chasing redfish and speckled trout with my fly rod the rest of the day.
The weather north of where I’ll be will be cold, windy and miserable which should push the ducks down. The temperature in Beaufort is supposed to be in the mid sixties, the sun is supposed to shine and the wind isn’t supposed to blow too hard.
On paper this should be a great day.
I don’t know how this will work out in reality.
See, when it comes to out-of-town fishing/hunting trips I’m notoriously unlucky. Usually I don’t even get to the destination. And on those rare occasions that I do, things always seem off enough that the locals are commenting on it.
This particular trip seems like it’s going to work out though.
Of course my wife was complaining about a sore throat this morning.
And the three year-old has been extra whiny today for some unknown reason.
And the baby has been crying all morning because he seems to be teething or something.
And it’s predicted to start sleeting/snowing here about the time I should be leaving tomorrow…
Well, it’s only the second day of the Every day in May challenge and I’m already having problems. This does not bode well.
The subject is Home Waters and it should be a relatively easy topic for me to write about but I’m having a hard time putting how I feel into words. This is probably because it’s an emotional subject for me, as was what I wrote about yesterday, and honestly I’m not one for… sharing. Not real emotions anyway. I’m fine with bitching about things. Most of my agitation is mock agitation and I’ve always thought of ranting as a sport, but I try to stay distanced from anything that elicits any sort of poignant feelings. Yet, when thinking of the rivers, creeks and bays I fished the majority of my life it gets me a little verklempt. Being relatively recently removed from these waters I guess some deep feelings are to be expected, though I didn’t expect it to feel so close to mourning.
I’ve lived farther away for longer periods of time but I was younger with more money and fewer children and making trips back to what I’ll always consider my home was no big deal. If I was desperate for the reel screaming pull of a big redfish (which in my heart of hearts will always be a spottail bass), the smell of pluff mud or the taste of shrimp that were caught within hours of when they were eaten, I could make plans and be where I wanted within a week or two. I would often make the fourteen hour drive from Brooklyn to Charleston just to spend a long weekend. Didn’t even think that much about it.
Now I live three hours away and planing a trip to Charleston is akin to making a shuttle launch; everything has to be just right. How much do we have in the bank account? Is everyone feeling well? What needs to get done at home before we can leave? Is anything else scheduled? Where we going to stay? And god help me if I try to head down to do something that involves timing the tide and weather because, so far, it’s proven impossible.
I guess that’s why I get emotional about my home waters; they’re so close but still so far away.
This upcoming Friday afternoon water will flood onto my favorite stretch of marsh for stalking tailing redfish on. The time of day, time of year, weather and past experiences all tell me that the fish should also be flooding onto that particular piece of marsh that afternoon.
I can’t be there.
And I was cool with this.
I don’t live in the area anymore and trying to make the trip that afternoon would be a giant disruption in my families rut routine. Never mind that I’d, at one point in my life, schedule everything around the “tailing tides” and go as far as making-up family emergencies to get out of work so I could meet the spotted-tailed ones as they made their way into the grass. You know, that’s all in the past. It’s a different point in my life. Everybody moves on. Blah, blah, blah…
Then I watched this video:
This video isn’t just some guys catching fish in the Charleston area, this is a video of some guys catching fish in the Charleston area where I used to catch fish in the Charleston area!
It makes me feel homesick, jealous and little disgusted all at the same time. It’s been a long time but it reminds me of that feeling when you find out your ex is now with somebody else…
Actually it’s more like finding a sex tape of your ex and the new person they’re with on the internet. And it looks as if the new person is better at it than you.
Body: UV Polar Chenille and grizzly variant saddle hackle
Back: White foam
This particular variation of the gurgler is my go to topwater redfish and speckled seatrout fly. Other colors that work really well are all white and chart.. The all white version actually caught my buddy Andy this speckled trout:
Andy’s guide claimed that it was the largest trout put in his in years. So yeah, it’s a pretty effective fly.
Where were you yesterday afternoon? We were supposed to meet at the usual place. The grass flats were covered with water, the bait was everywhere, the sunset was beautiful but you weren’t there. I know you aren’t always the most reliable but dammit I was really expecting to show up this time. I sat there waiting all afternoon and into the evening and still you didn’t show. A few times I thought I saw you in the distance just to find out it wasn’t you but a mullet or some other less desirable species. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I even wore my best fishing shirt for you. And you never showed up.
I flirted briefly with giving up on you completely. I thought “I don’t need this. This frustration just isn’t worth it.” But who am I kidding. You may not always be there for me, but when you are it’s nothing less than magical. I’m not ready to give up what we have and I probably never will be. As much as I hate to admit it, when the time is right I’ll be on that grass flat, fly rod in hand, looking and waiting for that next little piece of joy that you, and only you, can bring me. Why can’t I quit you?