Silence and Clarity
The silence more than anything else springs from the lack of other boats on the water. It is a time of year where I have the bays and marsh to myself. It’s not a time of year that requires me to get up long before most of America has started their first cup of coffee. But I have to admit, I do like getting out of the truck while the dawn breaks over the water, seeing my breath in the air as I slide the boat off of the trailer.
While other guys are in a tree stand, I’m on the bow, running a trolling motor with fly rod in hand. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that these things have remotes. It’s like having someone on a poling platform back there. I used to be that guy, but not anymore. It lets me be the guide and the guest.
I move into a bay with the holy trinity; oyster shells, tapered bank and clear water. And just as I round the bend there they are. Two nice redfish headed my way. I stop the trolling motor and drop the Minn Kota Talon. They’re moving towards me at a good pace.
I put the fly in the air. The first false cast puts me in range and the second slows my cast and ensures a soft, accurate presentation. Most of the time redfish don’t care about a splash, but in this gin clear water, they can get a “death from above” factor.
Once the fly lands, I allow a couple of seconds for it to fall into the redfish’s line of sight before I begin stripping. Strip, strip and she turns. Strip, strip, and she charges the fly. Strip, strip, strip and the line comes tight in silence and clarity.
She comes to hand after a strong but brief struggle. As I release her and watch her swim off, I am reminded of what it takes to catch redfish this time of the year.
Honestly, it all boils down to location and presentation. If I can find the holy trinity in a flat then I can usually find redfish. From there it’s all about leading the fish with enough distance so as not to spook the fish, but not to land it too far away that the fish doesn’t feel the need to chase it. Also the angle of the presentation is supremely important. The fly has to flee from that fish, or it will appear unnatural and spook the fish. If you get these elements of alchemy out of order, then your goose is cooked.
That game of cat and mouse, boat positioning and discovery are what make winter redfish something to look forward to each year.
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