Last trip to GI was in Aug and that's just too much time away for me. I can't function, all I think about are tailing, bait crashing, drag screaming reds. I know it's getting bad when I start checking tidal reports, weather reports, and BCKFC for fishing reports...it's an addiction!!! My wife understand's my addiction and gave me the "ok" to drive down and spend some time getting my "fix". I didn't hesitate, had the truck loaded, childcare arranged and gone in under 2 hours...sent a text to my wife to let her know I was headed south. A minute later, I found out she didn't mean "right this minute." My bad!!
Gonna have to split this up into 3 parts b/c the fishing was that great. Drove to GI state park Monday afternoon but I have no idea what it was like...I was in zombie redfish driving mode. Set up camp and relaxed...or really ..started counting the hours till Tuesday morning. To pass the time I re-tied all my baits, looked at google maps for ideas on where to fish, and organized my tackle. That took all of about an hour. Now it's about 7pm the sun is setting and I have HOURS to wait...what am I gonna do? Needless to say it was a sleepless night. Finally decided to make some coffee and count mosquitoes at 3am. Sometimes it's better to leave my house at 12am and drive the 6 hours...I end up with the same amount of sleep.
When I couldn't wait any longer I headed to a spot I had fished in the past. No secret location...plenty of people fishing off the bank. I just try to paddle along way away from the launch before I start fishing. After 45 mins of paddling I was where I wanted to be...a shallow flat and I could hear the reds crashing bait. It didn't take long to catch my first red...a rat but it was a good sign.
|Rat - 1st fish at 6:40 am|
After number 5, I decided to give the fly rod a go. It's was near perfect fly fishing conditions...no wind and fairly clear water. I got set up...and realized the fish conveyor belt had mal-functioned...the fish weren't coming around any more. So on the hunt I went, 8wt and clouser, ready for action. It didn't take long and fish on.
I hear some commotion in the next pond or 2 over and I'm off in search of the next take. I round a corner and see the entrance to a large pond. Inside I can hear the sounds of reds at the buffet. I push pole my way in slowly and what I see made my heart nearly leap from my chest...about 20 (18-20") reds...some crashing, some tailing, some patrolling...they're every where. I should have taken a breath but instead I load and shoot line...dummy!!! In my excitement, I hurried and made a terrible cast...put the fly on 1, the line over about 5...it went from glass to boiling water in 2 seconds. All I could do was watch as 20 reds freaked out and made a jail brake. My bad!! As disappointing as that moment was, I could hear fish in the distance, so I'm on the move again and it wasn't long until I found a few...unlike conventional gear, the fly is much more of a challenge for me...only been doing it 5yrs. I probably ran across 10 more reds before I hooked up again. It was 9:15, I had spooked about 30 reds before I tricked this one.
I ran across 2 more schools and managed several others on the fly. Along with a few rats, most in the 18-20 inch range I think I caught around 20 reds on the fly that morning.
|Biggest at 29"|
The reds were super aggressive and on the feed. I could hear them crashing bait all day. The tide was on the low end and the reds were holding tight to the grass line. After lunch, I got sloppy and tired of taking photos so I only got about half of what I caught...but taking my phone from my pocket and putting it back was a pain. And on one occasion, I heard a splash and looked down...last time I heard that sound I watched my 2 month old Costa's sinking...this time, I could see my orange life jacket saving my iPhone...needless to say pics were taken less often. This is why I can't have nice stuff. Something always ends up in the water.
Managed to find a few more schools. I can usually pull 2 fish from a school by doing what I learned striper fishing. I keep 2 similar baits tied on, catch a fish, net him. Then throw the other bait out...2 fish in seconds before the school goes real far away, real fast!!!
|Back 2 school - 2 rods/baits and 2 reds in the net.|
At the end of the day I estimate I caught between 40-50 reds over 12 hours of fishing. All done sight casting, except for about 4 rats and 3 others that I caught blind casting. It was a great day.
Part 2, check back for details about day 2 - More slot reds, trout and 38" bull red.
Click here for part 2