Thursday, September 27, 2007

9/27 - Wading thru the HIGH water in search of "tailing" Reds.

As I said in yesterdays Blog Entry. I was invited by my friend Mike to go with him in his skiff boat, in search of the illusive "tailing Redfish" in the high tide water that spills over the banks of the IntraCoastal Waterway. Due to it being the first week of fall and the very full moon.
"Tailing Redfish", are the fish that get outside the regular banks of the river etc. and go up into areas normally dry, to root around like hogs in the knee deep water. In search of crabs. So tailing is what they do when they are head down and tail up in the shallow water, all you'll see is a tip of their tails sticking out up. Hence the term "tailing". It might have been months since they've been able to swim up into those food rich areas. Dining on the fiddler crabs, that inhabit these hard compacted mud and sandy bottoms that normally are dry'ish. But when given the chance and all things are right, they head up into the newly flooded prairie of marsh grass.

Mike and I were early, we left at 6:30am as the sun was coming up. We were where Mike saw some fish yesterday but caught the ones he did along the banks of the ICW not up in the flooded marsh grass. So that's what we wanted to do today.
And as the water flooded into the areas filled with fiddler crabs, a Redfishes favorite snack food. We couldn't believe that no fish were up in shallows after looking around.
So we stood in almost waist deep and caught some fish on the edge of the ICW instead. Mike was the first to connect, with a few Jacks, and then a pup Black Drum. All the while seeing Redfish cruising the edge. Behind us was the newly flooded area. And we both kept a watch to see if we saw any wakes, tails, or thrashing reds in there. And we couldn't believe the fish were staying in the deep. Mike even had a Redfish brush by his leg as he stood waist deep in the clear incoming water. I saw 3 good sized Redfish too, swimming through the marsh grass, but out in 5-6 feet of water. And then I finally connected with a small 17" Red on my Texas style rattling float and a live shrimp under it.

In this photo you can see what I mean. I took the photo from way up in the flood areas, and that's Mike and the boat on the bank of the intracoastal waterway, with even a tug boat passing by. I was 200 feet from Mike in knee deep water looking around for a fish wallering around, or a tail sticking out of the water.
We were prepared to pitch live shrimp to a red, with a small weight above the hook, so not to get too tangled in the marsh grass. You have to be stealthy. And the Fly rodders love this kind of fishing.....if there's fish up in there to catch.
So eventually we moved on and got in the boat and looked around a while. Seeing no fish anywhere up in the flooded hard bottomed areas as we patroled around.

We did go over to a Redfish hiway in my spot called October Cove, and Mike caught a small Red and so did I. And as I was reeling my rig back to the boat a really big Red followed my popping cork and shrimp all the way to the side of the boat, before seeing us. Man, that was a big beautiful fish.
Now the tide was falling and Mike said he caught some Reds up in a creek yesterday afternoon, so he wanted to take me there. One small Red and a large creek Croaker later, the spot wasn't panning out so good.
So we headed out the creek and hit a bank that I've always fished with a dock that always seems to produce. And we both landed two good keeper Reds.

So we ended up with a handful of "pup" Reds
a "pup" Drum, a few Jacks, a Croaker and two good keeper Redfish. I didn't have to play fishing coach, tour guide or even do anything if I didn't feel like it. Which was nice for me. I was just along
for the ride, and to do a kind of fishing in a kind
of small boat, in some very shallow water,
that I haven't done in a very long time.

I did learn though that given a big time high Tide like these we're experiencing this week, I have many options even in my big boat. I can easily get out and wade, or even slid on up into the shallows and wait for a passing fish on the edge of the bank like we did today.

If you go out with someone else and NOT learn a decent thing, than you just need to take up more time on the Sony Play Station and stay home. Because that is really what it's all about. Talking over situations, working together, telling stories, and being in a different type of boat, doing something different that you may not often do.

I used to have a pretty regular fishing partner, that I did that with and he was even my co-host when we did the "All ABOUT FISHING" radio show on ESPN 1460am on Saturday mornings. And for some reason, he fell of the Earth and I never hear from him or see him either....don't even know if he fishes anymore. So today was a great day in my book.

Because I was invited by Mike to just go, have some fun!