Author: Captain Robert Szychowski
You can contact Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have rambled on before about rods, reels, lines, boots and assorted other gear for hunting tailing Redfish on the coastal marsh flats. I have a few ideas and theories about the fish themselves, some of value, some probably not so much.
When Redfish spawn, their larva ride the tide inshore into the marsh and creeks, maybe miles from where they were conceived. As they grow, they move back towards the ocean, back to the marsh flats near the barrier islands off the coast. Around four years of age, they begin to move into the marsh on the high tides of seven and one half feet or more. They are there to feed on fiddler crabs. The fish have little to fear in the shallow water. They are too big, an average 24 to 30 inches and 4 to 8 pounds, to be prey for birds. The fish tail, splash and generally carry on chasing crabs in the sparse spartina grass. This is the behavior the fly fisherman looks for. The chance to toss a fly to a fish you can see, to sight cast.
As far as I can tell, this is the greatest thrill in fishing. It becomes a combination of the hunt for fish and the excitement of the challenge of making the perfect cast. The cast that will provoke a bite.
The cast need not be long. You can often approach a tailing fish within 20 or so feet, put the fly in front of them a foot or so and hope. If he eats, he will probably hook himself and then the fun begins. Multiple casts are often possible before the fish gets wise to you. Sometimes, a bit of fly movement can provoke a bite but a real crab would just be trying to be as inconspicuous as possible.
On the initial run, let the fish go, do not try to slow him! A good fish will part a 16 pound tippet on the first run with ease, if you pressure him too much. When the fish comes to hand, admire him for the beautiful creature that he is and then release him quickly. These fish are nearly all too big to keep legally.
Hope this helps you catch a Red but the real teacher is time on the water. See you out there.
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