Swedish version

“Popping Bug, Deer Hair Slider,
or big ol’ Crabby Fly will beat a Redfish -
like a drum-most summertime mornings”
By Walter (Joe Guide) Dinkins N.C. OWAA Outdoor Writer

(He prayeth well, those who loveth well- the fish of the seas...)

You know friends; Fly Fishing people come from all walks of life. Some like you, might love to fly fish, others might like to throw light tackle when it’s windy, however many people are not used to fishing in the very early morning hours. I got to tell you a story about some Hollywood sportsmen I’ve met, and some things about flyfishing in the morning, and fishing for redfish with top water and some unique crabby looking flies,. Some of my readers might look closely and see if they recognize some of these actors in these photos, but might see them in a very different light as saltwater fly anglers.

Lord knows just how many of these Hollywood sports- I have taken out fishing in the summer time throughout the years. It certainly has been a blessing. Yet, there are some stories I just can never tell, however, there is one particular story of a early morning fishing trip that brings back some mighty powerful memories of a hot summer day in late July not too long ago. It started out, mighty early one morning, and involved us all throwing top water like the Texas Popper, and the Deer Hair Slider and even my infamous- Size 2- Mr. Crabby Fly. Perhaps you readers have such a selection in your fly box?

The very best fishing for reds- in summertime is a early window between 0530- 0730. I’m telling you right now, that that is about as cool as it ever going be, to beat the heat -along the lower Cape Fear River which empties it’s big mouth south of Wilmington, N.C. into the Atlantic Ocean, beside frying pan shoals. The great saltmarshes lay around Smith and Bald Head and across the river outside of Southport, where the writer of OLD MAN and the BOY (Robert Rourke) grew up.

I could hear the surf crashing into the sandbar when I stopped at a light in the little seaside town of Kurie Beach, N.C. to turn at the stoplight. It was four thirty in the early morning, and if I listened very carefully, above the sounds of gulls and sooty terns., and if my hearing aid was turned up high enough! The Moon was Full during that week in July, and the day felt promising with ever sip of my café a latté.

You see, our morning stated as we fortified ourselves with a four AM fisherman’s breakfast with the elements combined with strong coffee, and cat-head sized biscuits’ and a few baguettes’ with Lewis Farm Blueberry preserves- from John Harold Stone II , and his major domino side kick- brother Gene Sweat’s in their ancient eating establishment-THE FAT COW. You gotta look mighty hard to find hat little place, because they don’t have a website. Yet breakfast is their specialty! Their motto on their wall says- (we feed em’ in de’ early morning, long before the sun even thinks about rising).

Their homemade buttermilk biscuits’ are as big as a saucer! They use that special “honey-dew “honey that comes from the bee queen of gulla-gulla land herself- Miss Mary Jane Pompeii, and her mama- Mrs.Levenia Johnson!

Mrs. Levenia told me one morning about talking with a mermaid during the great depression rears that lived down by the boat docks, that had tried to steal her baby. Friends, you can search all over the USA and the world and not find such a wonderful people and an eating establishing such as this out of the way place.

Friends, it was still zero-dark thirty when we pulled up at the great backwaters to a little unimproved boat landing to the Saltmarsh creek that led far out into the massive bay. It was summertime, and the redfish were hitting top water harder than Paccayo hit Mayweather. I had received a phone call from a good friend of mine, a former Shrimping Boat Captain, who told me that I better get down to fish the great washout creek where he caught and released 22 reds on top water the day before.

My client that morning was Mr. Tommy- an actor who calls Hollywood, home, who was in my town to do a TV Show segment. He’s one of those- character actors who makes his way throughout Hollywood, yet people do not recognize him behind his had and sunglasses. He likes anonymity. He found my website and booked a trip with me for a morning charter. He had a uncle that took him fishing during the summers when he was a kid growing up in New Orleans

Fishing was a passion, and that passion was Poisson rouge (Cajun: Red Fish). He had fly-fished Martha’s Vineyards in their schoolie run of Striped Bass each May. He’s fished the Banana River No Motor Zone of Florida -with one of the son’s of tennis star Chris Everett, and he’s fished that wonderful section of Tropical Texas - the Southern Laguna Madre in the month of November when big Speckled Trout are caught up to 12 – 14 lbs on top water. That is the backyard of South Texas’ greatest Saltwater Fly Fisherman. That would be the Texan- Carl “Bud” Rowland, who has caught, and released more IGFA World Record’s( nine- times), and still at 78 years old he holds the current IGFA World Records on two species- the Black Drum and Speckled Sea Trout.

Joe Guide with a little puppy-drum caught on
top water Sz. 2-Deer Hair Slider Fly

If you look closely at him, you might recognize him- from a number of movies: action, crime-thrillers; often playing -alongside a more famous actor- who also enjoys fishing here in Wilmington, N.C. , that would be Mr. John Travolta. Although Mr. John prefers to cast a light spinning rod, if the wind is up, but he’s working on those long casts with a new SAGE Fly Rod whenever he finds the time to practice his casts- due to he is flying off here, and there, and everywhere these days.

There is other Hollywood fisherman who hasn’t been back to Wilmington, or Charleston to fish in a while, that is Mr. Brad Pitt. You know growing up in Missouri, he really enjoys fly fishing, and let me tell you- right here, that he can occasionally- reach out and hit those forty and fifty foot casts- whenever he and his ever growing family vacation down to our coast. He always finds time to ride his bike, and go fishing for at least a few solitary hours.

This particular morning, my client and I focused on early morning- top water in Wilmington’s Cape Fear backcountry salt marshes. Mr. John, who does not like photos when fishing, had enjoyed some great inshore fishing together with my ol’ friend Captain Andrew Magwood (a former shrimp boat captain). We even saw a old white Egret- who was doing a little fishing all by himself. You note those Egret moving mighty S-L-O-L-Y alongside a Saltmarsh pond that was already flooded by the time we had arrived. We observed a solitary redfish- cruising nearby that Egret but neither seemed concerned about each other! Grab a camera out of the boat , and take a quick photo if you see a sight such as that. What a sight! What a morning to be alive and out in the low country of North Carolina’s Southeastern inshore waters.

Puppy drum stays away from snowy egret doing some
fishing on a incoming early morning tide

We traveled to a deeper and wider bay, and through a maze of channels- some that were only 2 or 3 feet deep. Here and there you could see oyster clumps amid little creeks jutting out of marsh grass if you looked carefully. We stopped the boat and put the power pole down when we came to an area where there were three- deep creek mouths, each would drain into a vast bay, through a series of like sized drainage cuts. All eventually connected to larger and larger channels and then flowed into the river. Although there are no maps o this area, it’s not that far from the river, however you really can’t see it due to the tall Spartina grass flats. You can get a special map made of that area through (MYTOPO.COM) website, and tell them Joe Guide sent you, and they can make you some satellite maps of your own fishing areas.

We unlimbered the fly rods and quickly caught two reds. These first two came from a black and yellow (sz 1) “Texas Popper,” and a third one on a (sz2) Deer Hair Slider top water fly.

FLY ROD and LINE CHOICES: We were using a 9’ (4 piece) TFO ( 9 wt) rod, and my older SAGE saltwater fly rod, which is a nine foot- 8 weight rod. I prefer throwing- Royal Wolff Tropical Triangle Bermuda Floating-Weight Forward 9wt fly line.

LEADER SELECTION: I enjoy making my own tapered leaders. What I recommend is put together three sections of line- to form a homemade tapered fly line leader. You begin with a five-foot (butt section) of 40 lb mono which you loop- to the end of your- floating fly line.

You would take that heavy first section - to a (five foot section of 15 lb and end up with a 18” section of tippet material (15 lb fluorocarbon material). This tippet section is I think quite necessary in order to survive these encounters with big redfish that frequent around Spartina grass and oyster beds.

(Reds love these big o;’ Crabby- Flies. Especially during “a flood-tide feast,”, or something like a Deer Hair Popper thrown along a grass bank when they are hitting silverside minnows- in the early morning)

You need to remember that in fishing thick short- spartina grass flats, and for fishing around oyster piles you need a strong tippet section tied to your fly. I like building my own tapered tippet for my flyfishing, and have not felt good about the mass manufactured tapered tippet material packaged by various companies for America’s markets. All upper slot reds my party caught that morning were all catch and release, and I’ve included a photo of the largest red Mr. Tommy caught that morning. friends he was in a happy , happy, happy mood the rest of that special day. I hope some of you get a chance to fish this part of the state one day.

Joe Guide can be reached via (www.joeguideoutfitters.com) 90% of his clients are return customers who book him six months to one year in advance. Contact him via his website if you are interested in fishing the backcountry wilderness during your next vacation along the coast.



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© Mats Sjöstrand 2015

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Mats Sjöstrand

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