The Gulf Coast Council of the FFI is having its 4th Annual Fly Fair in Ocean Spring MS on September 16. It’s a great opportunity to meet and hang out with fly fishing people from our Gulf Coast states. There will be well known fly tyers, casting instructors, auctions, raffles etc. And the venue is conveniently near my redfish grounds which means I will be able to do a two-fer. I will be going out into the marsh with some of my friends in the Magnolia Fly Fishers on Friday and then do the Fly Fair on Saturday.
I love my little marsh even though the fishing is not that great, nothing like Louisiana, though I have had bad days there too. The good thing is in the Fall the early AM high tides will help get the redfish into the marsh. The fish, for some reason just seem to start showing up in the Fall. Staging for spawning possibly? Migration of bait? Crabs? Maturity of the Ruppia grass? Maybe it’s just that the skinnier water from the early AM high tides makes it easier to see them. I don’t know but I do know I see more fish starting in the late summer, early fall.
Other factors exist that don’t help the fishing in my little marsh. Unfortunately in Mississippi we still have commercial fishing for redfish, Jackson county allows Pogie boats to come in close (unlike Hancock and Harrison >1 mile) and my last time out I observed trawl net fishing on some of my favorite flats. Making things worse, the marsh is receding at the rate of ten feet per year and to top it all off it has six hundred million gallons of toxic water captured in phosphate stacks just a half mile from it just waiting to bust loose and ruin it all. I feel for the Pebble Mine people in Alaska because their nightmare is the same scenario except ours has already been realized, toxic water that will ruin the fishery basically always there, just waiting for a break, and break it did back in 2005. Of course nobody cares about any of that, the marsh isn’t a big tourist draw like the beach. But I care, I just can’t make enough noise to be heard.
Even with all that is going against it, I have had some good days in my marsh as the photos show, these were all fish caught in my little MS marsh. I remember one day when the wind was absolutely howling. I couldn’t even push the kayak properly. I was having to push the kayak as it hugged against the marsh to get it to move straight and prevent being blown sideways when I picked up the paddle. I still managed six nice redfish that day. I also remember a day when I caught over 15 reds. Of course conditions are worse now and I haven’t done well in a couple of years. Last trip out in the early summer, zero, zilch, nada.
But with all that, I still love my marsh and I plot and plan, consult my journals and try to improve my redfish index. I am very familiar with the marsh and just my knowledge of it can generally produce fish of some kind, if not redfish. There are drop offs and currents that hold specks and flounders and sometimes Jacks and Spanish will run against the bank. As it turns out, September 15, the day before the fly fair, the tides look pretty good. Thankfully I am obligated to fish as the club asked me to take some members.
So I am looking forward to leading a cadre of redfish warriors from the club into the marsh Friday. Hopefully I will get in a pre-fish and will have some news on the fishing a couple of weeks ahead of the trip, stay tuned.
But Saturday Sept. 16 you should try to make the Gulf Coast Fly Fair if you can make it.
The Fly Fair is at the Ocean Springs Civic Center which is where it has been for the previous three years. For more information read this pdf, 4th Annual GULF COAST FLY FISHING FAIR.