It’s fun every now and then to really get out of your comfort zone and try something new. The tangible rewards may be few, but the ones that come are all the more sweet!
Recently I did something that I’ve always said I’d do, but never have: Make a trip with only a fly rod. I’ve always referred to myself as an opportunistic fly fisherman. What I mean by this is, I sometimes bring a fly rod, but won’t bring it out unless I’m seeing fish or on a good bite (or, the only thing the fish are feeding on are super-small grass shrimp for example). I’m also a mediocre caster at-best, mostly because I don’t do it that often.
My fly fishing mentors (Jeremy Mehlhaff, John Irwin, Jeremy Clark) all have told me that if you want to become a better fly fisherman, go without a fall-back plan, ie. fly rod only. It turns out Josh, the son of some of our close friends, has become a fly fishing junkie…he’s got it bad… real bad! He tears up the local golf course pond bass with his fly rod because he doesn’t have a boat (yet). When he has a minute free from class at USC he’s in the Saluda casting for striper.
What he hasn’t done yet is to catch a saltwater fish on fly. So, what better opportunity to go fly only!
We set out on the upper Wando hoping to try some of my reliable spots for trout and at low tide go searching on some flats where I have found winter redfish before. A big tide made it difficult to get our floating lines down deep enough for trout and we ended up 0 for trout. I was surprised because a fly is a great winter time trout offering.
We poled around a mile of flats with a grand total of 3 or 4 redfish and a stray trout or 2 spotted. The fish have moved to different flats since several years ago that I last pursued them. Eventually, however, we found a couple fish in deeper water. It’s actually kind of easy to fly fish in deeper water with floating line. You simply let your fly sink and watch your floating line. When it jumps, fish is on.
I was the first to land a fish, and it turned out to be a real nice red – 29″ with a heart for a spot. I tagged and released it and we went looking for a fish for Josh. It wasn’t long before I look over and he is hooked up to a redfish! What a thrill watching him play it with a very satisfied look on his face. It wasn’t the biggest fish, but it was the first which made it awesome. We took a bunch of pics and tagged it, so hopefully if it’s recaptured we will know that this one was special.
A very fun and memorable day. Hope you get a chance to get out of your comfort zone and find it as rewarding as we did today…