Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

I just guided on Friday a gentleman from central Texas.  We're on the verge of a major tidal change, but the bay water has not yet fallen to its winter levels. When it does, it's dramatic, and requires an entire shift of focus for flyfishers--from the remote lagoons that most angler never see, to the main areas of south Cullens Bay and Rattlesnake Bay, which become so shallow that the deeper-draft boats hug the deeper troughs near Green Island, the Saucer, and Three Islands. For myself, there's no better time to flyfish than early December through mid-February; that is, if you can hit the sweet spots between the cold fronts that bring strong north winds at a time of the year when the low Southern sun will blind you as you pole or wade downwind. From two days after a north wind turns around until the next front, an angler has unparalleled opportunities to see and catch world-class trout (the one shown was caught on a sunny February day), and well-fed reds, both of which gouge themselves on finfish such as baby piggy perch in the absence of shrimp.

About the other day--Late fall fishing can be spectacular and lonely. Indeed, I took my client into a back lagoon where not a single angler could be seen. True, there was an airboat and several duck hunters who disturbed the peace from time to time, but the tailing reds did not seem to mind. They were as active as I've ever seen them, cruising in 8 inches and coming out of the water, backs and tails as they foraged for crabs in the shallow, cool water. We enjoyed low winds at dawn, and the winds were still nearly calm by late morning. In fact, we were so hot that my client and I were relieved to finally leave the area and enjoy the stiff breeze over the bow. But before we left, we'd sight casted to 20 reds, all of which were in the 24-28+ range. It was one of those mornings when the lagoon was truly "Lake Wobegone," where all the reds were above average.

If you're interested in experiencing winter fishing, let us know. We recommend that you consider it only if your travel plans are flexible. We like to watch the weather carefully, and advise you to reschedule unless the conditions are just right. Neither Randy nor I will ever have you come down for poor conditions. We'd rather reschedule you two or three times than have you encounter less than optimum winter sight casting.

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