As we drive in the dark towards the flat my fishing buddy for the day is pretty excited. He is trying to be cool but I can see it in his eyes. He is hungry for a redfish on the fly. James has never seen a redfish tailing on a flat, so I made it my mission to at least let him see one and try his hand at enticing one to eat his fly and give him a story to tell over and over for years to come. We all remember our first redfish on the fly. The tingling in every single one of your nerves, the tunnel vision, the slow motion cast as it falls too short or too long, your heart beating a thousand beats per minute. Then you make the perfect cast, it might not be the prettiest but it’s where it needs to be. You see the swirl where your fly is, you feel the line start to run, your strip set and feel the power of the fish as he hauls fin away at mach 6.998 and your drag screaming. I wanted James to experience this.
We string up our rods and make out way out across a small creek and into the grass. The wind is down and it is quiet on the marsh. As we stomp our way out to where the water will fill in we talk about redfish, flies, and I give him a quick down and dirty class on where they will be and how to catch them. As we stop to listen, the sounds of birds and the big splash of redfish crashing bait in the deep grass come to our ears. We both grin ear to ear, because we know the redfish are here.
We back off the grass and move down a ways to my favorite spot. As we stand there listening and our eyes straining in the slowly raising light, the bugs are awful. They get into your eyes, nose, and ears and bite the livin dookie outa ya. As the light comes up just enough to see, the water is now shin deep and the first tail pops up. James sees it but it is a fleeting flip and it is gone. Then about 10 feet in front of us a redfish starts tailing. I point it out to James and watch as his eyes get as big as dinner plates. We both have the same grin and right there I know I have created another addict.
He strips line of his reel, eyes never leaving the fish, he asks for any last minute advice and I turn him loose. His first cast is a little too far so he pulls it up and drops it closer. The fish swims over it and he drops the fly again. Now the fish changes direction. The next cast gets hung up on the grass and isn’t even in the water as the fish swims under the fly. He whispers to me, “catch ‘em.. catch ‘em” and I start to cast. I have the same luck as I see another fish pop up. I put the sneak on him and start moving towards a better line as James sees another fish to his right and follows him. We separate to opposite ends of the big pocket and work on our fish. At one point James is surrounded by tails as I am on the other end of the pocket.
For the next forty-five minutes we chase fish and drop flies in front of them. Then the tide turns and the water starts to move out of the grass. The fish will follow the water and we need to get to work. On our way back to the truck we see two more fish and we work them over quickly before they spook and are gone. We probably spent more time just watching the fish tail in the grass and watching the early morning golden light glisten off the electric blue edges of their tails. I didn’t get James on his first red on the fly but he did see them and like me was just happy to see them and be able to spend a beautiful morning on the marsh. The next set of flood tides is in a couple weeks and there won’t be as much bait… I am pretty sure we are gonna get him on a red soon.