What a difference a day can make

This Memorial day weekend was great fun for my family.  We spent 3 days just being vacationers.  My plans usually involve fishing pre-dawn till 9 or 10 am then spending the rest of the day with family.  Back to work today I’m tired, a little sore and a little sunburned.  Gotta love it, not even June yet 🙂

I have a favorite flat that I scouted myself a few years ago after Ralph taught me about how to find fish.  It’s a very special place to me and I keep it tight to my vest.  This particular place (I call it the pumpkin patch) has been awesome for catching redfish on top in 1 foot of water.  It must be the abundance of bait that gets them eager to charge a plug.  Through trial and error I have learned how to get them to attack.  Simply working the plug across the flat seldom works.  I’ll leave the details to a future post.

Sunrise over the pumpkin patch

Anyway, I haven’t been here in over 6 months and I was wondering if they would be around.  My point with this article is the difference a day can make in fishing.  I fished this same flat, basically the same time of day, in the same way, using the same techniques, and had very different results.

Day 1.  Got to the flat and all the ingredients were there.  Lots of bait, some strikes.  Started working the skitterwalk and was having no luck.  Behind me is an aggressive strike.  I turn around and launch a long cast and a great big red back comes out of the water and crushes it.  He ran around an oyster rake and I could feel my line dragging across it.  Opened my bail and ran the trolling motor to the other side and it freed up.  Real nice fish at 31.5″.  Found a group of smaller fish tailing.  Tried to get one on a topwater fly but could not get one to take.  Best I got was a follow and deny.  Good day!  Off the water at 9 am and the lot was full and three boats waiting to put in.

Day 1 Pumpkin
Reds lazily tailing on a flat


Nervous water


Day 2.  Got to flat and there was no crashing.  Only lazy movement of fish.  I could tell by their behavior that they were not happy fish.  Tried all my tricks and no fish.  Moved on to some new water and found a bend with laydown trees.  This is familiar to me.  Lost a little flatty and eventually found 4 trout and a 20 ish inch red in deep water off the end of a tree.  The Z-Man Trout Trick in opening night color saved my day.  I thought I might get skunked on Sunday.  Winds were strong out of the East, but they really were all weekend so can’t blame it on that.  Other reports in the area were similar.  Fish were really negative on Sunday.

Z-Man Trout Trick (Opening Night) and Glow TroutEye jig

Day 3.  Got to flat and was walking the skitter when POP! a red snapped it hard and ran.  It was a big fish and kept pulling my drag toward an oyster rake.  I have a rule to not horse fish but I broke my own rule when I palmed the spool a bit to try to turn it…. bad idea, lost it.  Skitter came back with a scale pierced on a hook so it must have been hooked outside the mouth.  Oh well.  No matter.  Shortly later had a huuge strike that punched a hole in the water.  He was NOT happy to be hooked.  Ended up at 32.5″ a real big fish.  Later had another monster absolutely hammer the plug only to miss it.  He missed a second time a short time later.  I could not get him to come back for thirds.  This day, the fish were happy and aggressive.

A hole in the water where a skitter walk used to be


Day 3 Pumpkin
Tagged and released

On reflection, some days the fish are gonna be negative.  I think a lot of people would have been skunked fishing the waters where I was.  The trick is to continue to search different patterns till you find something that works.  shallow/deep.  flats/deep water.  oysters/docks.  etc.  A finesse bait like the Trout Trick are the best baits, in my opinion, for when the fish are turned off.  This was the case for me on Sunday.

Hope this helps.  In the mean time, I’m gonna keep working on my fly casting… it needs it!


Some friends have been doing well on the Z-Man Trout Tricks.

Martin with a true gator on TT/TE
Smoak Dan TT TE 2
Daniel of Z-Man with a nice redfish on TT/TE (photo cred: John Smoak, Smoak Stack Studios)

One comment

  1. Scowbucket says:

    Just found your blog since moving up from Big Bend area of Florida. Nice job. Great to see someone catching fish on artificial bait instead of popping cork and shrimp. I’ve got you bookmarked.
    Thanks for taking the time to do a blog.

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