Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Glorious Day on the Sand

I wish you’d been with me today. I waded the upper sand with my faithful companion Rosie, while Julie napped on the kayak while it was tethered to the Stilt. I waded downwind of the boat toward the edge of the sand proper, relishing the sight of luminescent water, lit with the midday sun. The water was a golden color, and gradually shifted to greenish blue as the depth went from a foot to about 17 inches, and the bottom became softer with some sprigs of widgeon grass breaking the otherwise sterile appearance. Nearby were small spoil islands covered with blooming prickly pear. At my feet, I knew plenty of crabs were hidden beneath the surface of the sand, and so did the redfish. I didn’t expect to see much-maybe a redfish or two, but it didn’t matter: The scene was out of a very good dream, and nothing would have improved upon it. We’d waded about 200 yards west of the Stilt, which was anchored in less than a foot of water, and started to spot redfish; first one, then a couple, and then a group of 7-8 fish swimming toward me. That was the beginning of an unbroken stream of feeding redfish, heading upwind alone or in groups, head down and tails breaking the water from time to time.

I had a tiny chartreuse Clouser tied onto my six weight. I broke off cleanly on the first strike by putting too much resistance on the breakaway fish, then spooked a couple before landing my first of six reds in about an hour. After spooking or missing  or catching several other reds with the clouser, I switched to a tiny crab pattern, which seemed to please them a bit more. I landed two more on the crab in the 24-25 inch range before heading back to the boat. It was the best action I’ve seen on the sand in a couple of years. They were plentiful, aggressive and above average in size.

I managed to take some video with my free hand, and here's a clip of landing one of the 24-25" reds.  You really should experience the sand on a cloudless day. Whether you find a few fish or a lot of them as I did today, you will return home with something you didn’t have before—a deeper sense of peace and gratitude for the sheer beauty of an uncluttered expanse of clear water.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Fishing with Ryan

After guiding several days in the recent past, I finally made it out with my son Ryan and dog Rosie for some flyfishing for fun. We fished south, and waded exclusively during one of the prettiest spring days you can imagine. Full sun and low wind, even though it was a chilly ride out at daybreak.

It's always a joy to see Ryan succeed with a fly rod. Indeed, he's very good at it. I've said to many clients, whose sons have committed themselves to flyfishing, "There's not much more you need to know in order to predict your son's future success." Over the years, I've found this to be true. Not many people will dedicate themselves to a methodology that is so difficult to learn. But for some of us, "it's the damned difficulty that makes the fun," (St. Cecil in Dodson's book, Faithful Travelers).

I've posted a video clip on Facebook showing Ryan landing a red on his seven-weight TFO combo. Rosie had been wading with me, but she was back on the boat for the glamour shot. See I tried to upload it here, but it was the wrong format. Maybe later.

The fish were thick down south--big trout and reds mixed together. But they were very tough, and the wading was difficult, too--an inconsistent bottom and thick turtle grass made line management and movement a chore. Still, we prefer to wade together, even though we would have gotten more shots from the boat. It's a matter of preference.

We'd planned to fish the sand, but the fishing was so good on the West side that we never headed east before going in around 2:30. It was a great day.

When we got back in, Randy Cawlfield arrived at Channelview with his new Stilt. He was all grins after struggling with a moody Etec for the last six months. It'
s hard to beat Yamaha, or Suzuki.