Venting out Memorial Weekend frustrations… a trip back to my roots

Being that we are in the heart of Tarpon season in Tarpon country, the Memorial Weekend crowds flooded our ocean side flats. I sat out on the ocean one morning and after we fed our first tarpon, I soon found myself crowded out by out of towners running flats boats fishing and anchoring way too close for comfort. The once tranquil ocean side flats where tarpon swam lazily in uniform strings awaiting a small fly to be snuck in under their noses had turned into a pin ball game where the fish were literally bouncing from boat to boat. I came out to get away from it all, but found myself surrounded by a scene depicting that of Boca Grande Pass. It was all I could take, so we packed it in early this day and I vowed to do something else less stressful the following day.

It had been a while since I had a chance to make the run from Key Largo to the flats out front of Flamingo and pole in some of the skinniest water in search of redfish. Redfishing was the first form of flats fishing that I absolutely fell in love with in my youthful years. The weather was right and the redfishing was said to be spectacular on the flats, so Jeremy and I took our bus man’s holiday to the skinnier side of town. This was a great chance to see how the recent changes in climate and day to day operations had effect on the redfishery. We caught plenty of juvenile redfish in the backcountry creeks this last winter and it was only a matter of time before those fish should take to the flats. This theory proved sound. We arrived at our first flat and Jeremy instantly connected with the first of many redfish this day.

After only having cast a fly rod for several months on straight, I think my confidence with a spinning rod was way down. So I picked up a fly rod and caught half a dozen of these little guys on pink redfish sliders and tan seaducers…

… before picking up a spinning rod and getting my “chuck a DOA at a tailing redfish” mojo back. We poled further up on this expansive flat in search of something different. Perhaps a tailing redfish, rather then one that was cruising. Once we spotted that tailer we searched for, we got distracted by an even bigger redfish crawling nearly with it’s back out of the water. We poled my 18ft Maverick Mirage skiff way up onto the crown of the flat. Looking back, we weren’t even rubbing bottom. I stick the tip of my Shimano Terez Spinning rod into the water to guage our depth… the rod tip bumped bottom half way between the 2nd and 3rd guide. I looked back again and saw the grass being waved aside, but no mud stirred up. Were we really floating this shallow? Tips of the blades of grass began to pierce the water’s surface and we pushed along, still floating, crossing the crown of this flat poling after this nice redfish. Poling on the rough ocean side flats for big tarpon one day and stalking redfish in skinny water the next day… can you say VERSATILITY?

The next scene was familiar… I dropped a DOA CAL on this redfish’s head and the rest was history…

The storms started to build, so we poled off of the infamous Snake Bight, picking off a few more redfish along the way, and motored our way back to Key Largo. I almost forgot how tranquil and scenic the ride back to Largo was. This was truly the perfect day to take a little bit of time off of my normal routine and rediscover what redfishing should be like. Guess what I’ll be doing after this tarpon season?

Stay tuned… we will be back with your normally scheduled chronicles…