Month: November 2018

A Day of Firsts

One of the things that I love about fishing is that its a great equalizer.  It doesn’t matter your age, your economic standing, race, religion, etc – it makes grown ups act like little kids again.  It gives all of us common ground, and can make lifetime memories.

I distinctly remember when I started getting into inshore fishing – I was really clueless.  Many skunks came with me on a trip.  But my goal was to learn enough about it to have the confidence to take others and share the joy that comes from having a good day of catching.  Flash forward, and although I still feel I have a ton to learn, I do feel that I have the confidence to put others on fish.

Decent trout to break the ice

Which leads me to our story.

We are all on our own trajectory of learning, and I finally had an opportunity to take a friend from Summerville Saltwater Anglers out on the water.  Ed is relatively new to inshore fishing, but already I can see his improvement.  So it was going to be fun to bring him and show him a few things.  The day before, he got his personal best redfish, a beautiful 25″er on artificial (on a TexasEye, incidentally) while fishing with another club member and guide Shane Shields.  

Predators Strike the Eye ?

As we pulled away from the landing, he mentioned that he had never caught a flounder on artificial, nor an inshore slam.  Challenge accepted!

My first stop was a known trout flat and it was a matter of casts till we caught a handful.  Nothing large but the slime was on the boat.  I tried a few more spots with a couple fish here and there.  Then I decided to try a piece of structure I had fished often over the years, but not recently.  I said “Ed, let’s get you a nice flounder”.  As we rounded the structure I pointed out a pocket and Ed cast in there.  A solid Thump and a nice 17″ flounder comes in the boat!  That’s a pretty good flounder for your first.  That was fun, and I’m going to claim the Called Shot 🙂

Trout were easy pickins
The smile says it all! First Flatty on Arty!

I convinced Ed to keep that one, to surprise his wife Ilona with a delicious dinner.

A little while later once the water started coming in, I hit a bank that has been good on that tide.  We worked down it slowly, and ended up finding a school of 14-19″ redfish, that we proceeded to pull about 10 out of.  For a while it was an every-cast kind of bite.  Fun!  And….Ed’s first inshore slam accomplished. 

And a redfish (tagged and released) to complete Ed’s first Inshore Slam!

Really fun day with my good friend Ed.  Hope you enjoyed dinner, and an honor to be with you for two of your Firsts…

Plan B

I often wonder how many people really put a lot of (any?) thought into their plan for a day of fishing?  We take a good look at the next day’s weather (wind direction, velocity), tide (low / high times and range) and time of year and put together a plan.  For example, it will influence where we launch, and what spots we hit and in what order.  And, we usually have a Plan B or even C in place in case the best laid plan doesn’t work out.

Quality Flounder for the Prime Gancho

We had the opportunity to finally meet our second-ever Team EyeStrike member David Teran a.k.a PrimeGancho and better yet, get to fish with him.  David hails from Humble, Texas –  a suburb of Houston – and is used to fishing a completely different area than Charleston, SC.  Until recently, he was confined to shore and the catching he did from shore was amazing.  He now has an awesome skiff and his catching has exploded.  He holds the distinction of catching (to our knowledge) the only Rooster Fish on an Eye Strike jig!  

David’s first SC catch – nice one!

Since its prime-time for catching, our Plan A was to take him to an area that has been a home run for trout this time of year.  We met early, made a run and…not enough water for the Sportsman to reach our desired spot.  So, we waited it out and caught a mess of rat-reds.  Once we had enough water, our spot was, well, not firing off…

Ralph broke the ice in a solid way

Ralph and I made the decision to punt and implemented Plan B.  So, we put my Masters 207 on the trailer and went to another ramp.  Within minutes of launching Ralph was tight to a 20″ trout, and shortly after David landed his first SC fish, a very respectable trout!  That broke the tension and he proceeded to slay right along side of us.  David is a very good fisherman and he was able to complete a quality inshore slam on his first attempt – awesome!  

Tom -n- Huck

We are always down to learn something new and David showed us how he uses a chugging popping cork with a jighead/jerk shad underneath it (a technique we were shown in Louisiana recently also) and – it works, really well!  Might have to try that ourselves…

Incidentally, Plan B also applied to dinner that night.  I met David at Park Circle for dinner at Lotus and due to water problems we had to punt and go to Plan B – Fratellos – not a bad Plan B!  

We are already looking forward to our next opportunity to meet up and fish with David.  Hopefully, soon!

Until next time #TeamEyeStrike

Tom & Huck in the Louisiana Bayou

Get a coffee, because this is gonna be a long post! 

We have been very selective in who we pick to be on our Team EyeStrike, and one of the things we are trying to do is spend some time fishing with each of our team members.  Last week we had the chance to do a “bucket list” trip to Louisiana to fish with Capt Judson Brock of Muddy Fly Guide Service.  You might be thinking…Fly?  Well, Jud does mostly fly guiding but also does spinning trips often, and also guides in LA in the Fall.  He’s a big fan of our products and an all around great guy and very professional guide.  

Ralph and I flew down to New Orleans with optimism, but low expectations due to a horrible forecast of 80 and 90% rain for both of our days.  No worries, we packed rain gear and were there to fish regardless.  We stayed at the Delacroix Lodge which is a set of little cabins with occupancy for up to 4 and catering to fishermen.  We had all the basics, bunks, fridge, sink, bathroom and shower.  It came with all the little necessities, like coffee, small grill, charcoal and lighter fluid.  Really cool place that we would recommend highly.

Enjoying an early morning coffee at the cabin

Delacroix is a pretty remote area.  One road in and out.  Plenty of wildlife.  We witnessed a coyote and large boar on our way to the marina, just as a “for example”.  We noticed that pretty much everything in this area is either raised on stilts to approximately the third floor height, or, its on wheels.  The effects of Katrina were significant – more on that later.  

We asked Jud about places to eat and he directed us to Charlie’s Restaurant-Catering.  It was a 20 something minute drive just to get a decent restaurant just to emphasize how remote this area is.  We tried to do it up cajun, so we had some gator sausage (delicious) along with our dinner.  If you go there, you gotta get the corn-crawfish chowder…its “slap-yo-momma” good.  

Socked in by fog
Headed for the fish!

We met Capt Jud at Hopedale Marina and hopped in his Maverick skiff in a thick fog.  Although we couldn’t really see where we were going, we knew we were covering a lot of ground.  To say the area we were fishing was Vast – is a huge understatement.  Just to give you an idea, at one point we were a good 30 miles from the launch.  We easily put 70 miles on the skiff the first day.  The fishery is mostly grass islands with bays inside of them.  Redfish will feed inside these bays and the fish can be anywhere from 20 inches to 30 pounds.  It is a sight-fishery.  It’s something we don’t get to do very often in Charleston with our dirty water.  I know that many people in Charleston do a lot of sight fishing, but mostly – Ralph and I don’t.  I feel I got a lot better at it this trip.  You’re basically seeing a fish, maybe belly-crawling with its back out of the water, and making an accurate underhand cast in front of it – then enticing it to strike.  Super fun! 

We saw huge black drum, all sizes of redfish, and even schooling trout that were breaking the surface – another behavior we don’t see in Charleston.  On one of these schools we decided to catch a few (stupid easy) and during this period Ralph let his lure get below the schooling fish and caught is personal best trout – that turned out to be a 29 lb redfish.  What a beast on light tackle.  

Ralph’s personal best trout – aka 29lb redfish

Day 2 started with breakfast at Penny’s.  A must do if you are there.  They are very proud of the fact that they have been featured in several fly fishing magazines.  This place is where a lot of guides go to meet their clients and vice versa.  We had a funny conversation with a couple guides that were waiting for clients.  Hard to imagine but after Katrina all of Penny’s was submerged.

Gotta go here!
Oyster boat – in LA, the oysters are submerged all the time, unlike ours.

Without the fog we were able to see what we missed on the ride out on Day 1.  Lots of oyster boats out working and water as far as the eye can see.  It was very windy and this made sight fishing difficult despite a little more sun.  Jud worked his butt off poling around and eventually we found some huge blowups along a bank.  One of these fish had a memorable take.  I made a cast out in front of it but it did a 180 and came toward Ralph’s lure.  It mudded like it spooked but really it was searching for the bait.  It took his lure just off the rod tip.  A 30+ inch fish full of fight.  

This fish hit 2 feet from the boat

We found a bay holding a large group of upper slot fish and we had a blast picking them off.  Toward the end of the day I still had not caught a real big fish which I was perfectly okay with.  But at the 11th hour, I finally got the thump I was looking for.  After a long fight a 26 lb red came boat-side for some pics and release.  

Tom and Huck with a double – we pulled about 10 out of this school

For the trip we were throwing RedfishEye jigs and the latest Z-Man Elaztech lures.  Namely the new TroutTrick Jerk ShrimpZ and the 4″ Scented Jerk ShadZ.  The latter in Pearl was by far the biggest producer.  Really a big fan of these new lures. 

11th hour redfish – 26 lbs

A great, great trip and almost no rain whatsoever – except for some hard downpours at night that made for great sleeping – as if we needed help.  Glad to get to know Capt Jud and we are super proud to have him represent us at Eye Strike!  

An amazing fishery – can’t wait to return!