November 1, 2011
Fly Cast Charters Newsletter
September/October Fishin' in St. Simons
Fighting Big Fish on the Fly Rod
Many of my clients are first time salt water fly fishermen/women. I always enjoy putting them on the their first red fish and find it especially rewarding.
For most of them, however, it is the first time they have ever had to put a "fish on the reel" on a fly rod and fight him with the drag or have a fish run out the line to the backing. Fighting big fish on a fly rod takes a little skill.
Here is a portion of my web page, Tips and Techniques
, that summarizes how to land one of our strong redfish:
Here is a link to my Tips and Techniques page. Tips and Techniques. The page offers a lot of good information on "Hunting Fish in the Marshes of Glynn."
Fighting Big Fish on a Fly Rod
Today was a day of frustration. There is a young angler who I am mentoring in fly fishing here in SSI. We have been practicing casting, double hauling and strip striking. Adam is throwing nice loops to 50-60 feet. Today he had four hook ups, and didn't land a fish.
What I had forgotten to tell him is what to do after the strike. I have had several instances of clients not knowing what to do when they hook up to our big, strong reds.
Sometimes, the angler simply clamps down on the fly line, and the fish pulls free. They simply don't realize how strong these fish are. Sometimes they strip line in with their line hand, let go to reach for more line, releasing pressure on the fish, and the fish goes free. Sometimes they simply yell, "What do I do now!"
Succinctly, after the strike, you have to control the line, keep the line tight, give line under pressure when necessary, and get the fish on the reel so your drag can take over. This is called, "clearing the line."
After you cast, the first thing you should do is put the line under your forefinger on your rod hand. Always strip the fly with your line under the forefinger of your rod hand. If you have the line under your rod hand forefinger, it helps you control the line, and applies initial pressure to the fish when he takes. After the take, strip strike with your line hand. (See below on strip striking.) After that, the fish usually runs away from the boat, and you have to slip line through your line hand, constantly maintaining pressure on the line. Sometimes the fish will turn and run back to the boat before you get the fish on the reel. If that happens, you have to strip line with your line hand, and get the line back under your forefinger on your rod hand before reaching for more line. You have to do this so you can maintain pressure on the line after you strip in line and reach up to strip in more line. You might have to do this several times until the fish runs away from the boat. Many times the fish will stop or wallow around, giving you time to get the fish on the reel.
All this time-which is usually a few seconds-you have to be sure you aren't standing on the line, the line isn't wrapped around your legs and try to maintain your cool while a 10 lb red is hellbent on getting away! That is what makes it so exciting.
The bottom line is you have to give these fish some line under pressure on the initial take, you have to maintain pressure on the fish and you have to GET THE LINE ON THE REEL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to FIGHT THE FISH FROM THE REEL. Stripping line in to fight a fish is OK for a 10 inch trout, but not for a 10 lb red.
I fish pretty heavy tippets, but only set the drag for four or five lbs of resistance. When the fish wants to run, hold the rod tip up and let him go. When you can, reel in line. If he wants to run again, let go of the reel, and let him take line. Keep your rod at an angle to the fish so the rod can absorb shock when the fish decides to take off. Moving the rod tip to the side opposite of where the fish is headed will tire him out more quickly. Change directions on the fish often, and you can tire him out more quickly. You have to tire these fish to land them.
The last step is to get the fish close enough to the boat to land. Gingerly grab the leader-be ready to let go for that last run-and either net, boga or grab the fish under his belly.
Red fish are a precious resource. After landing one, he deserves respect for the challenge he presented. Photograph him quickly, take the time to revive him properly, and when he swims off say good bye until you can catch him again.
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Come, "Hunt Fish in the Marshes of Glynn"
Capt. David Edens
September/October Fishing Report and Forecast
The cooler weather of fall has finally arrived. Our water temperature is now hovering just below 70 degrees, and the fishing will be outstanding between now and January.
September brought us about 15 days of tides high enough to fish for tailing redfish in the grass, or as the locals call it, "Bass in the Grass." This is how I like to fish for red fish the most. There is nothing more exciting or visual than seeing the fish's tail waving in the air as he grubs for fiddler crabs in the grass.
This fishing can be exciting and frustrating. I believe it takes equal amounts of skill and luck to catch and land one of these fish. It takes skill because you have to place the fly so the fish can see it. That means putting the fly six inches in front of him. You either have to cast beyond the fish and pull it to him, or cast in front of him and hope he swims to it. Or you can go for it, risking spooking the fish, and put it six inches in front of his nose. These cast are not long. Often they are less than 15-20 feet, but your casts have to be accurate. That's the skill.
Here is the luck. Even if you anticipate the fish's movement and place the fly 12" in front of him hoping he will swim to it, more times than not, they change direction. Often times you mis-judge the speed, and cast your line over the fish; immediately spooking him. Even if you time your cast and place your cast perfectly, often times, grass will prevent it from sinking to the fish's level, and he never sees it. You might get your fly line tangled in your legs, or any number of other things happen when you get Buck (Red Fish) Fever.
But when you do all the things perfectly, and have luck, these fish will inhale the fly, often times with an explosive take, and it is all worth it.
On every tailing charter but one in September and October, we saw between six and several dozen fish tailing on the flats. On several, we even got lucky and managed to fool a few. I had one good angler sum up Bass in the Grass Fishing--"You just have to have lots of chances for that time when it all comes together." Very well said, Tim.
Low tide fishing for red fish remained very reliable. There are lot's of fish on the flats, and they will eat a well placed fly. With the cooling water, the low tide fishing will really heat up. The big schools of winter are forming, and the water will be clearing. In my opinion, November and December offer the best time of year to catch these fish on the fly. Cooler water means clearing water, so many times, we will see these fish as we cast to them, instead of just casting to head wakes. Cooler water means bigger schools. It is not unusual to see schools of red fish of 50-100 fish cruising down the low tide flats.
Trout fishing was good during September and October, but it is excellent now. I have become a big fan of a spinning rod with a popping cork and DOA to locate and catch these fish. A clouser minnow or surface fly will also take trout, particularly when we find a large active school.
Give me a call today to book a trip during the Fall and come "Hunt Fish in The Marshes of Glynn."
Sam's Bass in the Grass
His first Red Fish on the Fly
Shrimp and Grits
After many years of trying to perfect Shrimp and Grits, I have finally settled on this recipe. My family loves it and says I should enter it into the Jekyll Island Shrimp and Grits Festival competition, but I am too busy fishing. Try it, and I am sure you will love it too.
David's Shrimp and Grits
Aka Shrimp and Gravy
Serves four to six.
1 lb Georgia wild shrimp, peeled and deveined. Reserve shells for stock.
1 lb andouille sausage
8-12 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
½ large red onion coarsely chopped
3 large cloves garlic minced
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Oregano
3 tbls Dehydrated Parsley
2 tbls flour
2 tbls EVOO
Salt and pepper to taste.
Add shrimp shells into 4 cups of water, bring to a boil and simmer 20-30 minutes to make a shrimp stock.
Cut sausage into rounds. Brown sausage in EVOO. Remove from pan.
Add 2 cloves garlic and a little butter if necessary, and sauté until fragrant, no longer than thirty seconds. Add mushrooms and onion. Sauté until onions are clear. Remove from pan.
Add two tbls butter to pan. Heat. Add 1 clove garlic to pan and sauté until fragrant, no longer than thirty seconds. Add shrimp and sauté until pink and firm. Do not overcook. Remove from pan.
Add two tbls butter to pan. Heat. Add 2 tbls flour and cook for 4-5 minutes, making a light roux. Add shrimp stock until you reach a smooth consistency. Add parsley, paprika and oregano. Adjust seasonings of sauce.
Add sautéed sausage, onions, mushrooms and shrimp. Bring to a simmer to reheat. Do not overcook shrimp.
Serve immediately over cheese grits. AWESOME.
Cheese Grits: Prepare grits according to package directions. Add sharp, shredded cheddar cheese to taste. About one cup for six servings.
Note on Grits: I prefer to use stone ground white or yellow grits. Yellow grits have more flavor. The best grits I have found are available from Nora Mill Grainery in Helen, GA or the Guilford Grainery near Greensboro, NC. You may use quick grits in a pinch. Do not use instant grits.
Tim's "Red Fish on the Fly" |
Tim's sight fished red fish on the fly. Caught on the low tide.
Asbury Gay's Big Trout
Fall is the best time to fish for Speckled Sea Trout. When a Dad has his daughter ask him to take her fishing, he drops everything and takes her. My daughter, Asbury Gay, did that in early October. She and I were both rewarded with the biggest trout she ever caught.
If you want to catch a trout like this, this is the time of year to do it.
For the latest fishing reports, please go to my web site:
www.flycastcharters.com. Not only are there up to date fishing reports, I am constantly adding new photos, information and videos. Fish the Golden Isles, and call me to enjoy, "Hunting Fish in the Marshes of Glynn".
When you are in the Golden Isles, make sure you visit St. Simons Outfitters, the Orvis store in St. Simons and the ony fly shop on the coast between Beaufort, SC and Jacksonville FL. I spoke to Capt. Larry and Ellen today, and Ellen said she currently has a great selection of Barbour Clothing.
Capt. David Edens
Endorsed Orvis Fly Fishing Guide
Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor
Federation of Fly Fishers Professional Guide Association
Fly Cast Charters
803D Mallery St.
St. Simons Island, GA 31522