…deliberately meandering slowly down the soon to be exposed bar eyes squinted scanning for movement. A target. Covering a lot of water without much action, but shortly the tide would be right. The ominous threat from the north east was holding. A blanket of clouds left the sky a pale grey. Pre front. Kevin and I have the advantage.
To pass time we talked about our last trip and how we did not. We had cold bright blue morning skies, high sun, one day post front. I had the hot hand and Kevin let me stay on the bow casting platform and rolled video. A little reminiscing gave us something to do while waiting for the tide to suck out. I like it best when high parts of the bars and grass tips begin peering over the slickend out ripple-less spots on the flats. One can really begin to see how the tide flows and reasons why fish are where if you study it.
Like sometimes in the deep summer when the snook are way out in the deeper water way off the bushes for seemingly no reason. There is probably some kind of little hump redirecting water creating a steady flow of morsels doubling as an ambush point.
For a skinny water skiff the ripples are travel paths.
The tide got right. We began seeing tailing redfish here and there, taking shots and blowing them out. We each had a couple that acted like they were going to eat but stop short. There in lies the fun of sight fishing, however,you better be ok handling repeated rejection.
Then, theres the one the single most addicting part of sight fishing.
Kevin must have observed something out a little deeper he wanted to target. He had claimed the bow casting platform, I was positioned on the platform on front of the helm on my Banshee. The direction of his cast opened a lane for me to cast and run my shadtail parallel to the bar if I turned the bow slowly to the west. I did. I saw movement and reacted with a well placed long cast that landed softly and quietly well past said movement.
As I approached the area the movement came alive in a hump of water torpedoing up behind my go to Shadtail pattern. DOA 415, Black Back Gold rush. The hump erupted into an explosive shallow water take. A frothy swooshing boil of chaos. I’m not real sure if I felt the strike or not. It all seemed to be happening in slow motion and an instant at the same time. I remember getting Kevin’s attention as it began to play out. Moving quickly and swiftly (the fish) pushed a large wake going out and away over the shallow flat. She tried to breach only to expose head and shoulders in an ungraceful surge followed by the typical thrash of the head as she submerged for anther run. Moving clumsily (me) I gained very little, and gave lot. Finally one more burst of energy to get away from the pinching pains of barbed steel and pressure. I knew it was coming and it happened. Got into the backing and popped the knot.
In a half a moment it was over.
I shook it off quickly, it was early and there was more fishing to be done, not the first big fish I botched in my life, won’t be the last.