Thursday, August 26, 2010
But in an angler’s calendar, September means only one thing: Tailing redfish in the flooded marsh grass.
To get a shot at what outdoor writer Joe Julavits labeled “Bubba Bone fishing” the forces of nature need to corporate. Tides of 5.4 feet or higher are pretty much the benchmark in determining if it will “flood”. Strong winds also are a factor and will push more water in or hold water out depending on the direction. A strong Northeast or East wind forces more water on the flat and a brisk West wind will hold back the amount of water flooding the flat.
“The grass is always greener”…………..but not so much in this case. Not all the grass in the marsh is wade-able and not all the grass has the “look” conducive for tailing Redfish. The greener high grass that usually borders the flat near a creek or deeper water has a soft, muddy bottom. Not good for walking on. The shorter grass, usually just next to the tall stuff is darker in color, slightly brown or a hint of purple. That’s the stuff! It’s kind of like a golf course, the high grass is the fairway, and the short grass is the green. And like in golf, you want to be on the green!
Most anglers will scout along the edges of a potential flat using the trolling motor or pole to locate tailing fish. It’s also important to have someone scouting from the elevated poling platform. Scan the flat looking for splashes or more importantly, a tail sticking up. Once the water gets to the “magical” depth on the flat, and/or tailing fish are found, stake out and continue the hunt on foot.. Witnessing a redfish with its nose buried in the grass and its tail straight up out of the water, waving at you is an awesome sight. But it can also be maddening as most Redfish can’t see your lure, while trying to root out a tasty crab face down in the grass. The plan is to cast well past the fish and quickly retrieving the lure a couple feet in the fishes path while he is still tailing. Once I get the lure in range, wait for the fish to upright itself and slowly move off. I then like to gently twitch the lure a few times to get his attention The next couple seconds will test your nerves… and your heart, which will be in overdrive. Twitch….Twitch…..Explosion……fish on! Don’t forget to breath!
As Julavits explains: “It may be the most exciting couple hours of hunting/fishing you’ll ever experience in Northeast Florida. There’s no blind casting, no soaking bait on the bottom, hoping that something will swim along. This is pure visual, happening in calf-deep water within a few yards of where you’re standing. And all the pressure is on you – screw up, and the fish is gone.”
Capt. Ron Schurr