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.

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