The week of the Redfish

So for those of you that may not know, I pay my bills via a lawn care and landscaping company that I have been the owner/operator of for 4 years now. The end of October marks the beginning of slow season for me, and my lawn care accounts go from weekly to bi weekly. What this means is if I decide not to schedule work on the bi week I literally have a whole week off of work. This last week was the first bi week and I decided I was going to fish every day. The goal was to catch a Redfish every work day this week. Well it’s Friday and I’m pretty happy to say that I more than accomplished my goal. My boat was in the Sea Dek shop getting a makeover this week so I was kind of stuck with wading or kayak fishing. I decided to wade, when you have clear water and plenty of sun it just makes more sense when going solo. So here is how my week went down. Monday morning. Super calm morning, and I decided to wade banana river. I see and catch a couple of redfish on the blackened shrimp taco Fly early in the morning, but then I couldn’t buy an eat if my life depended on it. I noticed the reds were keyed in on glass minnows however, and switched to the white wizard fly which is a small glass minnow like baitfish pattern. Pretty quickly I got a follow and then and one ate, and I got that one, and another, and another, and another. Lesson learned Monday: pay attention to your surroundings. The fish sometimes key in on one particular baitfish or prey and “matching the hatch” is sometimes the only way to get an eat.

Tuesday: winds were light but north east. Wanting to give the fish a break on the banana river flat I had previously fished I picked a flat in the Indian river I hadn’t checked in several months. I still had my white wizard fly on from the past days fishing. It didn’t take me long to find a really big redfish belly crawling in just enough water to keep him covered. I made a cast in front of the fish, bring the fly across and in front of the fish by about 2 feet. He turned and followed the fly, I stripped a couple more times and watched him inhaled the fly. I strip set nice and hard, feeling he hook point connect solidly. The fish TOOK OFF and went from 20 feet away to 150 feet away in a matter of seconds. Backing was seen on the first run. Like a lot. The cooler water definitely has the fish fired up. Almost as soon as I got 30 feet or so of fly line back into the reel, the fish ran again, just dumping line out. After about a 10 minuet fight I got the fish in my hands. I don’t worry about measuring my fish, but just so you get an idea of how big it was I would estimate it to have been a 33-34” fish. Somewhere around there anyways. Super stoked to have caught a great fish within the first hundred yards of wading, I re set and began walking again. I quickly found another fish. This one ate right away, an upper slot fish. Then I got another one just overslot, and then another slot fish. I caught all 4 fish before 9:30 Am and went and had breakfast, and ran a few errands.

I ended up by another flat that I hadn’t fished in a while and I decided to finish the day out wading again. 3 slot redfish inside of an hour later and I was happy I made that decision. Lesson learned Tuesday: don’t get stuck in a rut fishing the same flats over and over. New/old spots can be great and it’s always good to expand your options. Wednesday morning: I had walked south the day before on the flat in the Indian river, so this morning I started at the same spot and walked north. I saw only a handful of fish and was lucky enough to get one of them. A decent sized slot red. But not nearly as productive as the prior day. I walked my butt off for that fish. Probably around 2 miles. And I caught that fish after walking a mile. Lesson learned Wednesday: don’t give up. If you have the time, put it in. I almost turned around several times and gave up but I stuck it out and it paid off. Thursday morning: I went to the banana river but this time north of where I had fished Monday. The wind was pretty stiff out of the south east and it wasn’t the easiest to see fish but the water was cool and clear. This was probably the toughest day. I walked and walked. I saw plenty of fish. And they were not happy. I went north, then south, and ended up waking 3 miles or so total. You could tell the fish had been extremely pressured lately and were just not having any of the flies I offered them. After 4 hours of fishing I finally found and got one to eat. I’m guessing it was the dumbest redfish on the whole flat because it was the only one that was even interested let alone ate the fly. Super thankful to have not gotten skunked I headed to Harry Goodes Outdoor Shop and purchased an Echo Bad Ass Glass 6wt. Just for fun. Plus I wanted. A second 6wt just in case (God forbid) I broke one of them. Super fun to cast, these rods are just soulful. I had to go run to the bank and I had already changed clothes and was wearing nice pants and a nice shirt. But once my errands for the day were finished I wanted to go cast the new rod somewhere. I found an area sort of out of the wind on my way home along US1 in the Indian river. I walked down to the water and tied on an old purple and black Fly I had in my truck just to have a fly on the end of the leader. Well as I’m casting I happen to see a Redfish swim by. It spooked out pretty quickly. Then I see another one run through some mullet just a little north of me. I said screw it. Kicking off my shoes and rolling up my khaki pants I waded into the water and headed north. After less than 50 yards I saw a fish. A Redfish creeping up the shoreline. It went from the shoreline and followed a small pod of finger mullet, and I made a cast in front of it. It swam almost past the fly and then turned hard and inhaled it. I couldn’t believe it. Not even 15 minuets of casting the new rod and I was connected to a 24” Redfish. The rod completely doubled over and a laughed out loud at the moment. Lesson learned Thursday: sometimes you can grind it out for hours and barely squeak out a fish. Sometimes you can go fish for 15 minuets and almost accidentally catch a great fish. But the point is to enjoy and embrace the whole experience and the special moments like watching that Glass 6wt bend farther over that I thought was possible. Friday morning: Finally no wading! My good friend Steve Seinberg graciously took me out on his Hells Bay Professional. We fished a flat neither of us had fished in quite a while in the Banana river. After pushing Steve around for about an hour without any success we made a move and switched places. I pretty quickly saw and caught a small 18” snook. Even though it was small let me tell you it was extremely fun. After switching up again and LOTS of shots at annoyingly picky fish, Steve pulled a small red. We switched up and Steve jokingly said “it’s probably only going to take you one cast.” We laughed and he pushed my up into a cove we had seen a fish in. Sure enough there is a red. I made a cast, strip, strip, strip, and there’s the fish sucking the fly down. Well that just happened! We laughed and I got to enjoy another fun battle on my glass 6wt. Another hour went by with Steve on the bow. He fed 2 fish but they ate and spit the fly before he could come right. Finally I found a Redfish feeding on mullet about 60 feet away. I called the shot out to Steve “redfish 11:00 60 feet” he fired a cast out and the fly landed right behind the fish. Fortunately for Steve the sound of the fly hitting the water got the attention of the red. It spun around in a quick 180 and inhaled his fly. It was a really nice 28” Redfish. He landed the fish and we switched up and before Steve even stood up on the poling platform I spotted another red. I made 2 casts and the second time the fish saw it and charged it and sucked it down. A good 25” red. We laughed again and it was one of those great moments that happens every once in a while. Steve pushed me around the corner and I got another small snook. That ended our day and it was honestly a hard earned but really fun and rewarding day. Lesson learned Friday: sometimes it’s more about the funny moments that happen on throughout the day that you remember the most. The fish are secondary. Yes we do our best and out in the time and every bit of effort to catch them but at the end of the day there are a few moments that you really remember. So take a picture, whether it’s in your mind, with words, or a camera. But remember them and share them with a friend or three. It was a pretty great week. Here’s to many more like it. Cheers yall, I’m having another ginger beer and passing out.

-Noah Miller

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