I made a trip to the marsh with Magnolia Fly Fisher Mark (right) this past Monday, 5/22/23. We had initially planned on Thursday but the weatherman, my constant antagonist, predicted windy weather. Our guide suggested Monday and we made calls and shuffled things around to work the trip in on Monday.
True to form, the sunny weather did not pan out and there was a haze most of the day, but happily the wind stayed abated.
This was Mark’s first redfish trip and he had beginner’s luck all day. When I would get on the bow, no fish. When Mark got on the bow, fish would show up, albeit not cooperative ones.
I had only two decent shots until the very end. My first fish was a brute that I only noticed lying on the bottom as we almost passed him. I offered him a P&B mullet and I practically dragged it over his face, but he only looked annoyed. Another fish I spotted at 12:00 swimming away. I dropped a purple and gold spoon in front of him, but he just kept swimming, only looking mildly annoyed as I continued to cast in front of him.
Finally, at the end of the day, after Miles ran the skiff almost ten miles to find some cleaner, clearer water, a fish showed up at my 11:00, high and happy. I dropped a P&B mullet about two feet in front of him and he charged it.
Taking the bow after I landed my feistier than usual fish, Mark had several opportunities but the fish didn’t seem to want his fly, a Black Charlie. Since my fish had eaten the P&B I suggested to Mark that he use it and to save time I just handed Mark my rod rather than taking time to tie on the fly. I jokingly said “don’t break my rod”, when I handed Mark the TFO Mangrove, my favorite rod.
There is not any better luck than that from a borrowed rod or gun. I’ve seen many nice deer taken with a borrowed gun. I took one of my largest whitetail bucks with a borrowed gun. I caught one of my largest redfish on a rod I borrowed from my friend “Rusty Hook”. I didn’t think about that effect when I loaned Mark my rod but the luck did follow it.
After Mark took the borrowed rod from me, it was only a few minutes later when a brute of a fish showed up and flared his gills on the fly. The fish was big and fought like an anvil, pinning himself to the bottom under the grass. It was then that I was shouting “don’t break my rod!” in earnest. It was funny to hear Miles and I giving conflicting instructions to Mark. My instructions were to not reel the loop knot into the guides, to spare my rod, and Miles was instructing him to reel the leader inside the tip to get the fish off the bottom. Luckily Mark handled the fish just fine and the rod survived the ordeal.
(Left) Guide Miles Larose (@Shallowsouth) and Mark, with my still intact TFO Mangrove. Note the tag in the fish below the dorsal which was installed by Miles.
It was a low numbers day but a good day for sure.