Thursday, November 17, 2011

East Side Magic, part 2.

Planing into nine inches of vegetation-free, gin-clear water can show you everything that's there, but such intelligence comes at a high price. Every redfish within 300 yards will summarily spook ahead of the encroaching boat, and can therafter be observed as silvery V's moving slowly toward deeper water. Gamefish tend to be wholly intolerant of noisy intruders in this most-sensitive area of the LLM, where any semblance of cover is at least a mile away.

Taking up a position on the poling platform of my NewWater Stilt, I went through my well-practiced orientation speech so Dave could muster the requisite patience without losing enthusiasm for what was to come. "These fish will be larger than average, and spread out," I said. "It may seem impossible to approach them, but they are feeding, and they're not looking up. So we should be able to get close enough for you to reach them." I then added, "Try not to cast before you are pretty sure you can place the fly within three or four feet of their heads."

I urged him to practice his cast while I moved us slowly beyond the empty zone that we'd created by our arrival. After about 15 minutes of poling eastward toward the distant dunes of Padre Island, we entered the edge of unmolested water and, since the winds were still imperceptible, we began to spot tailing fish ahead of us on the mirror-like surface. They were easy to see; for while the redfish barely tail on the sand as they move forward at a slight downward angle, there was nothing else to compete with the occasional nervous water and surface breaks of the feeding fish. Above the bright sheen, we could see the occasional dark tips of tails, and then track their movements beneath the water without much difficulty. As I expected, they were spread out, such that each small pod was 75-100 yards from the next one. I knew that the distance between the tailing fish was advantageous to us, however, because every fish within 50 yards would surely flee the moment Dave hooked up on the first redfish.

Stay tuned for part 3., which will appear in two days!

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