Swedish version

By Joe Guide

  Mr. John was altogether new to fly fishing in Saltwater. He had been often in pursuit of 12” Rainbow Trout, throwing Black Woolley Bugger files, and nymphs along some well known and famous trout streams such as the Davidson in NW North Carolina or for Brown Trout in New Zealand’s Taupo River valley. He was visiting family along the Carolina Coast, and decided to give his best shot during two days of redfishing during September’s new moon high tide last year. He booked two very high tide days when the weather was exceptional warm and the flood tide was super high. It was a mathematical formula for an excellent day of chasing tailing redfish in areas where the mud and fiddler crabs were thick, and the reds could only get to them due to a very high and full high tidal period.

  That September New Moon (Spring Tide) was incoming as we launched from a public landing for about a 30 minute run with my skiff and got to a large bay, with a back creek, pock- marked by numerous oyster bars, and my Go Devil Surface Drive 35 took me back throughout that skinny and mucky creek far to the back of a obscure shallow creek, which opened up on both sides into a massive Spartina grass flats which extended for approximately one and one and a half miles in length.

  The saltwater had risen to just about calf deep when I put down my Power Pole’s Hydraulic anchor system to keep my D3 Marsh Master 19.9’ X 69” skiff off the edge of that little creek while we slipped over the boat side with our wading boots and fly rods. This was truly wade fishing weather with the wind at our backs. Blue skies above us, with the terns and seagulls swooping down and reds were exploding here and there, and everywhere.

  Looking out over that beautiful backcountry wilderness not twenty miles from Charleston, SC we saw a ton of redfish working these flats. There were already out there along the Carolina salt marsh. “Gosh, there must be 30 or so reds tailing and pushing water, just look at them, said John. “I’ve never seen so many tailing redfish, except in videos or photos!”

  “These New Moon Tides always flood this area, and the big flats boats that most of the guides use out here, cannot get back here until flood tide, “ I replied. “Therefore we have this massive flat all to ourselves for the next hour or so. I handed him my old Sage fly rod, and took my TFO fly rod from him, as my Sage had Royal Wulff’s “Triangle Tapered Saltwater WF fly line that I use. Wulff’s WF-F8Wt Bermuda Saltwater Fly Line has a 33’ shooting head, and to me, it seems to cast much better in the than any of those RIO, Cortland, or Redfish Fly lines that my buddies like. We were throwing some unique crab flies tied by my good friend Connie Mack Morgan of Creative Feather’s Fly Shop (www.creativefeathersflyshop.com) in LaMark, TX, and Bud Rolland’s “Numero Uno” fly made by Spirit River that afternoon.

  I had 12’ of hand-made tapered leader on both rods, it’s something that I enjoy tying up, and as an additional gift, I will always give one of my leaders and a fly to my client at the end of the day.

  Mr. John had been worried about my telling him to cast only “one foot” to the left or the right of the tailing fish. He was afraid that he would spook ‘em; however, I explained that reds, while feeding (or rooting) their tail’s were up and aren’t that spooky- especially if you are willing to use a longer tapered leader and size four fly. A few weeks previously, I told Mr. J.D. Donnelly (New Orleans Parish) who fished with me a few weeks ago- with a friend with the BOJANGLES organization that these SC Reds don’t act at all like their Redfish down in Louisiana at all.

  “JD, you got to use 12 -15 foot tapered leader with a minimum of 12 lb test down here in the Carolina Spartina, because these red pigs are going to root down among these Spartina grass roots and cut you off”. He just had to see it with his own eyes to believe it. After he lost his first four reds that “blew out” due to using a shorter 7 - 9 foot leader, and a heavy Louisiana spoon fly, similar to the one that Danny Ayo of Houmma, LA tied, he changed over to a 12’ leader and a got a lighter crab fly from my fly box. He hooked up on his very next cast!

  Mr. John was ready to make his first cast of the day, but he over shot his cast by about two feet. I told him to not strip, until that redfish’s tail dropped, and then use only a “four to six inch” initial strip to start out with. We had to see what that tailing red was going to do, or not do. Redfish also teach a lesson or two every time you go out, if you are willing to learn. It wasn’t any different today. It was just his first cast of the afternoon. Trout fishermen need some practice out on the flats, before they get the hang of fly fishing for redfish knee deep in the Spartina. If you are willing to practice, and learn you will get the hang of it quickly. Mr. John was learning well, and he was also willing to learn a few new lessons that day that are not in any book.

  My readers may wonder if you need to cast sixty feet or more for redfish, but it may surprise you readers to know that 90% of our shots at tailing fish that afternoon were all less than 35 yards. Most cast that day was less than 25 yards, and it was scary for John. He wasn’t prepared for close in shots. “I read an article from Chico Fernandez and another from Lefty Kreh that you had to be prepared to cast over 40 years and hit a target 2 -3 feet in front of the redfish, John said.” “Well, said I, Chico and the Man (ol’ Lefty) mostly cast from the bow of a skiff, and that may be well and good for them, but your feet are in this hard bottom Spartina flat and you don’t need to cast that far here in Carolina country.”

  He stripped again, but the red, turned to the opposite direction and kept on feeding. “Did I do anything wrong, asked John? “That red, just decided to turn in another direction, and he’s headed away from you I replied.” “Don’t worry about it, let’s find another tailer.” We did not have to wait very long for his third shot, and he finally hooked up on a nice little 22” rat redfish.

  After taking a photo and releasing the fish, we moved on along the flat to other tailing reds, and caught and released 12 reds before a friend of mine came up in his 18 foot “Hells Bay flats boat” up the creek. “It’s time to head to the boat and run to another flat I said to Mr. John”.

  Another big ol’ flats boat was coming up not far behind the other skiff, and they were both starting to pole out across the grass flat while the water was high enough in the Spartina for that boat which needed about 8 inches of water in order to pole it across the flat. It was getting too crowded for me, even if that flat was a mile and a half, but we had already enjoyed about a hour and twenty minutes of stress free sight fishing for tailing reds. “The crabs must be going CRAZY…I said”. “This particular flat only floods during the new moon high tides, and the reds haven’t gotten in hear since May’s new moon tide, and it was only super high well after sunset”. A great many of my repeat customers only want to come down during the highest of the high tides if they fall during sunlight hours. Come October and November I will use these same High Tides to take sports out hunting rail birds which is done the traditional way- poling my skiff in these same Spartina grass flats up and down the Carolina Coast when the weather pushes those migratory birds down our coastal inshore. “I never been rail hunting either, asked John, how’s that?” “Well, just look at my video on YOU TUBE about rail hunting, or Clapper, or Sora rail hunting, and see if it’s your cup of tea, I replied. Let’s get back to the redfish.

  We waved to the three fishermen in the other boat, as I slowly motored down that creek about a quarter mile down to the bay, and then we were off to another distant flat that wasn’t too far away to see what we could find during the falling tide.

  Perhaps you will want to see the Carolina coast with your own eyes, during the next high tide, if your vacation plans have you down around Charleston. It’s a wonderful historic City, with a great many hotels and motels and bed and breakfasts to stay, and a large number of shops and stores to keep your spouse content if you choose to book your next guide trip when the New Moon is flooding the Spartina grass.

By Outdoor writer Walter (Joe Guide) Dinkins 2012 ©



You can read more about the author’s adventures in the South Atlantic and Gulf Coastal states if you desire. Get a copy of the author’s fly fishing book: RED FISH ON A FLY (www.redfishonafly.com) and learn more about the nine major red fishing states from the most scholarly fly fishing book ever written on the Red Drum; or you can book a trip with him via (www.joeguideoutfitters.com) if your next vacation brings you to the beautiful coastal community of Wilmington, North Carolina.



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