Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On such a winter's Day!

Here is a post to get us started.  It has been a bit since I've fished for Reds, but this is exactly what 12" of fresh powder does to a fisherman.  I can't help contemplating past fish, which of course, causes me to fantasize about future fish.  Winter is long. I've got the shack-nasties bad! 
Sorry about the white background on the following text, I copied and pasted from one of my journals and can't figure the fix.
I polished the polaroids the evening before our outing with Uptown Angler's guide, Jim Smith.  For almost two years I had been dreaming of Redfish.  This vision of Reds on the end of my line began with a handsome fish on the cover of  a popular flyfishing magazine.  I had never seen nor heard of these enlightening fish 'til this point, so I curiously turned the pages to the story.  What I read and saw was hypnotizing!  From that point the thought of THE BIG EASY's Reds was put on "the top shelf", until I would be able to bring it down and savor the well aged, two long years, expedition. I had no intention of aging this dream, but it only enhanced the flavor. Tailing Redfish in no more than 10 inches of water on the flats of the Mississippi River marshes in 70 degree weather and getting sunburned at the end of February. 
    We met Jim at his shop, just on the edge of the New Orleans French Quarter at 6:17 am, 17 minutes late.  I know, why 17 minutes late? Well maneuvering a 26' box truck down the streets of downtown New Orleans on Mardi Gras morning proved to be a daunting task at times.  Nonetheless, Jim was at the shop with a hot pot of coffee and a box of flies in his chest pocket rearing to go. 

    We were finally on the water.  Jim poled us along through the flats and we spotted two large Reds patrolling out in front of us.  I put a good cast on them and missed the hook set, gripes!  Idiot, I know. The excitement was too much. I ripped the fly from that gaping mouth, in anticipation of the high that comes from a hook up with a large Red.  We continued on and spotted a fish feeding with its back out of the water.  Picturesque, the sun gleaming off the wide shoulders of the Red like a fresh, minted penny. The marsh grasses of the flats as a back drop, and the blue sky rising up to mingle with the sparse clouds.  When we reached casting distance the fish turned and came straight towards us.  I put the apparently, delectable demon fly about four feet in front of him.  He plowed in after it and paused nose down just above it.  The inspection was intense, luckily I passed. Just as soon as I bumped the fly from the bottom he took.  He ran out towards deeper water shaking his head intent on tossing that biting demon fly back in my face.  After we battled, I was happy to coerce him in along side the boat where Jim plucked him from the water and placed him in my hands. The victory and the glory was mine and I was basking in it. What a moment! Sight-fishing a feeding Red in just inches of water.

    On to the next fish, the next fish, and the next fish.  All the eats were outrageous!  There is nothing like watching a Redfish take a fly that you have manipulated in a way that makes a fish turn from three feet away, come in, and slurp it up.  In all we boated 5 Reds and 1 Black Drum.  These numbers do not reflect the number of fish we had to cast at, we probably had a hook up of 1:10 fish.  Jim believed this to be a slow day when the fish were not so "hot".  If this was a slow day sign me up every time, and I would love to be here on a fast day.  I am quite certain February Mardi Gras Reds might have just become a tradition. 
Note: How would you like the below Black Drum to be your first fish on a fly rod Ever!?  Jake learned to cast in the hotel hallways the night before with the top section of a fly rod.  Awesome!

     Jim Smith, Uptown Angler, was a pleasure to fish with and was genuinely intent on putting Redfish in our hands.  Not only did we chase Redfish all day, but fished the sun over the horizon as well.  

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