Friday, April 15, 2011

Redfish "On" Like Donkey Kong !

They're getting bigger:

As this 18-21" aggressor Red attests this morning. But they're also getting stronger, fighting harder, in the warming water of the West Galveston Bay. Of note, the water where I fish is highly oxygenated by submerged seagrass beds, which keep the local dissolved O2 levels higher than surrounding barren bottom areas, and I believe the fish know this, and perk up with it. They fight harder here, and recover faster.
     This particular red is a "grunter" (hence the name "red drum"), a male fish (females are quiet), and he made surging runs, the first of which was 100' long. He fought for five full minutes in powerful bursts and was just scrappy as an angry Union Marxist in the Wisconson Captial.
     I let him go 'cause he was just too cool to kill. I do that a lot and not to feel holier than though, but because I like the spirit and giving nature of these babes, and I'm still able to buy food at the moment. I would rather go butcher one of our wild pigs than kill a redfish, though, which I might end up having to do within the next fiscal year of O-pression. Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock........Our top, so-called leader may be a dirty ace, but I'm patient. You?

     This noble Redfish and his brothers are eating shrimp patterns in tan, and Pinfish patterns (horizontal black barring) are killer, too, as these are the prevalent prey over my local sea grass beds.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Redfish Marls

     With their underslung mouth, denoted "inferior" which strictly applies to its location and not its effectiveness as the scientifically uninformed unerringly fail to communicate to readers, the redfish is perfectly suited to sucking things up from the botttom, even vacuuming them from underneath a soft substrate. They do this with the opercular (gill plates) vacuum action of their mouth cavities: they open their gill plates with their mouth closed, which creates a vacuum of space in their mouth, and then they quickly open their mouth, which sucks in anything in its immediate vicinity, be it water, bay bottom, prey, or hopefully your fly.
    When a school of these fish (and bonefish or any other bottom-vacuum feeder) puts the "feed bag" on and goes to town there are always physical signs, or "tells". Namely, a big suspended and--if actively feeding--a growing and shifting cloud of bay bottom detritus clouding the water above and downtide of them. It is a beautiful thing to find and, I feel, a wonderful friendly "hello there" gift of the redfish (and bonefish) to the attentive, intrepid angler.
     Oh, and they'll eat about anything you throw into the "mud". Just make sure it sinks!
 I personally thank Jesus Christ every single time I spot a "mud" from these thoughtful gamefish! I am not kidding and I suggest you do such, too, as it will happen more often for you, too. Again, I am not kidding. But give thanks because it's the respectful thing to do, not because you'll find more fish. Otherwise you've actually jinxed yourself and you won't find squat.
     Here's a "mud" product for color--oh, and for the sake of the redfish, please do NOT touch their gill tissue. Holding thim behind the head, like thusly illustrated, without touching the red tissue underneath their gill plates and the bony rakers the red gill tissue is attached to is MUCH easier on them for recovery:

Here's a productive and visible MUD fly for reds or bonies:

Note: this is an early rendition. To prevent the fly from spinning in flight, I tie a second wing of white/tan bucktail on the opposite side, like a second "claw", of the fly for uniform flight and swimming action.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Harbingers of Victory

Landed and released several of these before an April front today. Where these little Redfish were today will be their larger buddies soon. Can't wait! So I know where some big Reds are right now!

"Click" the image for a closer look. The Key to bagging them on fly in Spring is simple: FIND them! They'll eat! But until the shrimp bury themselves in greater numbers in the sand later in the Spring, I find a PIGGY PERCH/ PINFISH barred fly on a #4 hook with mini lead eyes to be choice, as this is the abundant prey at the moment (one can feel the "piggies" kissing one's legs while standing--always a good tip-off to prey availability at the moment).