- Author: Captain Robert Szychowski
I have spent considerable time over the last twenty or so years wandering around the marshes near Savannah, the value of which may be lost on some. Most of that time there was a fly rod in my hand and I was hunting tailing, feeding Redfish, or as they are known here Spottail Bass. I have developed some opinions, insights and beliefs over those years about what the fish and I are up to when we cruise the high marsh flats.
Hunting Reds with nine feet of graphite tapered to the diameter of a matchstick may seem foolish to some. It turns out that a fly rod may be the perfect tool in the marsh grass.
My eight weight rod allows me to make multiple casts to a fish without much fear of hanging the fly on grass. I can pick up quickly when the fish ignores my offering and try to put it in front of her face again. A nine foot rod is a long lever, a fish fighting machine. It is more than able to handle a large Redfish. So much for practicality, casting a fly is the most elegant and relaxing way to fish as far as I am concerned. On a slow day, just casting for a while puts me in a better state of mind. The practice is always good and pays off when the next tail pops up forty feet away.
The choice of reel for this type of fishing is not very critical. Sort of a “what are you willing to spend” kind of deal. Most reasonably priced reel will handle the run of a Red, even when you see your backing from time to time. I have a bag of reels and none of them cost more than two hundred fifty dollars. One of them has been in the salt for twenty five years. A more expensive reel may be in order if you find yourself fishing Bonefish in the Keys or the Bahamas. I like a salt water specific fly line, designed for Reds or Bonefish. They usually have a shorter, heavier head for quick loading of the rod, especially at short distances. I have never seen the need for a sink tip or full sinking line in the marsh and I really do not enjoy the casting of one at any time. Full floater for me.
Some type of footwear and a bag for gear round out the necessities. I have fished in old work boots, tennis shoes, and flats specific boots. I wore out three pairs from Patagonia until they discontinued them this year. I wear a pair of Simms Flats Sneakers now and they are quite similar to the Patagonia Marl Walkers. Orvis has a new flats boot but I have not tried it. Good support, firm sole and protection from oyster shell are the main consideration. No Sandals. I have gone through two fanny packs over the years. They worked well but I found the pressure on my hips uncomfortable. I now have a sling pack and I like it alot. It holds the necessary stuff, leader and tippet material, fly boxes, water bottle, and a rain jacket if needed. That pretty much rounds out what I consider essential when wading the marsh.
In the future, I would like to share some thoughts on boats, wading and of course the Redfish. Maybe a bit about why I choose to fish with a fly rod and walk miles knee deep in water and mud. Hope this has been helpful. Remember, this is just what I think and I might be wrong.
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