Swedish version

Joe Guide’s Mathematical Formula
for sight fishing tailing Redfish
in the Spartina grass Flats North Carolina

By Outdoor writer Walter (Joe Guide) Dinkins

Joe Guide roll casts for tailing rat-redfish
wading knee deep in a Spartina grass flat


  A lunar tidal period where the visible moon percentage is between 0 – 26 % will in most, south Atlantic Coastal salt marsh estuaries be your most successful period of finding "tailing redfish" in the flood tide areas of those Spartina grass flats. There must be a healthy population of fiddler and mud crabs, and grass flats where there are sufficient "feeder creeks and cuts" that sufficiently allow tidal flooding above an average of 18" of water. The redfish in their first – fourth years of life will be there to feed on crabs, as those particular areas will only sufficiently flood during a specific period in a particular amount of time. This is a mathematical certainly, as flood tidal periods will safely allowing larger numbers of redfish to be found on particular flooded flats with the greatest amount of its primary food species in a given area.

  This is a mathematical and biological certainty to find large numbers of red fish in flooding grass flats where the combination of flood tide & favorable water temperatures come together with the redfish’s primary food species. The most favorable periods will always be when the water temperature remains stable and greater than > 68 degrees F.

  This is what I call the "magic redfish formula". It is where you can find the greatest number of redfish on a spartina grass flats during that unique incoming-flood-falling tidal period.

  My mathematical redfish formula would be:

  "Flood tides- times a period where there is a lower percentage of lunar visibility. Thus this period divided by a favorable water temperature will always equate to the period of time where the fly fisherman will get their highest numbers of shots at tailing redfish while sight fishing any spartina grass flats that has sufficient numbers of fiddler or mud crabs which are the red’s primary food species.

  You need to understand that that "this particular period" combined in that particular mathematical fishing formula will always be excellent fly fishing for redfish depending on water temps and normal food sources present.

  This period of course will begin within thirty minutes- after the water gets greater than 14" on the rising tide and you have only about one and a half hours of flood tide before that tide will drop off the spartina flat during most flood tides. You must also remember that once the tidal flood level gets greater than 28" (twenty-eight inches) of water in a spartina grass flat will always cut your chances of spotting average size (slot) tailing (feeding) redfish. Only reds with sizes > 28" will be seen- after that increased water level. Therefore, it is certainly important that you plan to be on your favorite spartina grass flat during the projected H/T period. This will allow you to take advantage of the movable water that is fully - oxygenated and moving as it enters a productive flat- due to the rising tidal period that allows the reds to comfortably enter via a creek channel.

Mr Al Raynor - knee deep in the Spartina grass
with a 31 inch Redfish that was caught.

  Remember to never block your flats channel with your skiff or boat, and you must ensure that your flat has the Redfish’s primary-food species. That would be any flooded Spartina grass flat where you have seen thousands of fiddler or mud crabs before flood tide.

  Always keep your eyes open for primary food species when you are scouting a flat before the flood tide periods and if you follow Joe Guide’s saltwater fly fishing formula to find tailing redfish- you will certainly find yourself knee deep in tailing redfish in the south Atlantic Spartina grass flats during the May & June and Sept & Oct flood tide’s.

  Every sight fisherman must understand that fall weather cold fronts will negatively impact spartina flats fishing in the month of October, and cold front will negatively impact the feeding pattern due to lower water temperatures where redfish normally feed. In the spring tidal periods, the key will always be that same formula with late April, May and June tidal periods to be most favorable when those favorable conditions exist during these particular months of the year and are wonderful wading months in the lower Cape Fear’s spartina flats here in North Carolina.

By Outdoor writer Walter (Joe Guide) Dinkins 2011 ©

  Commander Walter Dinkins, US Navy Chaplain Corps writes outdoors articles under the name of "Joe Guide". He grew up fly-fishing as a six year old along the Charleston and ACE Basin Estuary salt marshes in South Carolina for redfish, but hails now from the low country of Wilmington, N.C. He is the author of: RED FISH ON A FLY www.redfishonaflycom.

  When not deployed throughout the world- supporting humanitarian and peacemaking operations, he is Presbyterian (USA) pastor in community churches and a guest pastor in churches throughout the USA. When he is back home in Wilmington, N.C., he is also the nicest saltwater fly fishing guide in the US. He specializes in sight fishing for Redfish (Red Drum). Contact him via www.joeguideoutfitters.com.




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© Mats Sjöstrand 2011

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