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His and Hers Redfish

His and Hers Redfish His and Hers Redfish
By Jim Hammond

I would like to start by saying that this is a description of a fishing trip with a husband and wife. The trip started with the husband asking me what was my prediction. I thought for a few seconds and wanted to respond by saying "it is going to be hot". But I knew that was not exactly what he wanted to hear, so I told him that we could count on toadfish and stingrays. These are two species that most fisherman are accustomed to catching and I knew he would know what these fish were and hopefully get a little laugh out of what was supposed to be some humor. He looked at me sort of funny and I could only imagine what was running through his mind as he was probably thinking "toadfish and stingrays, I could do that on my own, what the heck do I need you for".

Before he could say anything, I reassured him that if we did catch any of the above, they would be very nice. About that time his wife was ready to get aboard and the two of us sort of lost track of what we were talking about and the subject did not come back up.

She loaded up and we were off, in search of the illusive redfish. After a short run through the maze of creeks in the Clapboard Creek / Hanna Mills system we arrived at the first spot. I, as always went through my routine of how to hold the rod and reel, how to cast, where I wanted the bait to land, the do's and don'ts about casting , what was for bait on this day and as always, closed by saying, "holler if you fall out of the boat, so we will know that you are gone and your ticket back in the boat is my rod and reel, so hold on to that if you do fall out".

I then handed each of them a Shakespeare SPL 1100 5' 10" rod with a Shakespeare Tidewater SS 4835 Reel, spooled with 4 pound diameter Power Pro. To this I had tied a Jaw Jacker 1/4 ounce lead head and for bait some nice mud minnows and finger mullet. This outfit has an easy to work with short butt and is very easy to cast with just a flip of the wrist. We were fishing a narrow creek on the last of the out going, so they did not have to make a long cast.

As soon as I lowered the MotorGuide into the water, I saw fish working an oyster mound and of course I headed directly for them. These fish seemed to be working a rather large school of mullet or minnows and I figured we would make short work of them as soon as we were in casting distance of the feed. As I approached the mound, it seemed to me to be about 4 or 5 reds cutting in and out of the bait, like wolves surrounding their prey. I asked Darla and Matt to cast into the commotion as we got near enough to get a bait to the reds. Just about the time that Darla's bait hit the water a red exploded and I though that she was hooked up. The only problem was she was not hooked up.

They made several cast into the feed and nothing. I took each of their baits and added something to the hook. On Matt's I put a chartreuse shrimp tail and Darla's a bright red piece of a soft plastic. I also had a finger mullet on each of the hooks.

The brightly colored piece of soft plastic was to make the bait look different than the 400,000,000 other baits that we were competing with to draw the attention of Mr. Redfish. They each made several good cast right dab in the middle of all of the commotion and no hook up. I even picked up a pole and made several cast to fish that I could see waking. Still, NO hook up. You know, you can't stand much of this before you get out the cast net and just cast on top of them. We tried to get these fish to eat our baits for what seemed to be a very long time, before I moved away from them and headed down the creek in search of more cooperative reds. We saw several more reds, all feeding and none to play with us. What was wrong, we only wanted to fillet and release them.

After about 30 minutes of trying to compete with every minnow or mullet in this creek, I decided to go to a mound that was dry now but would have water on it in about ten more minutes as the tide had now changed and was coming in..

As we eased up on this mound, there were a few sting rays starting to compete for position with the flounder that were also getting located for the rise in water level and the onset of the bait, soon to arrive. I decided to change rigs and go with the Cajun Thunder. This would be fished, starting at the beginning of this long mound and slowly worked down the edge. This rig consisted of a Cajun Thunder float a 12 inch piece of 20 pound monofilament leader and a # 4, Daiichi D16Z Bleeding Bait Octopus Wide, Reversed, Up Eye Hook.

To this rig would be a lively mud minnow or finger mullet, hooked from under the bottom lip and up through the upper lip. I think that most fish swallow their prey head first, so the hook should get them most of the time before they have a chance to have second thoughts about the meal.

We were only on this spot for a short time before Darla's Cajun Thunder was out of site. I hollered, set he hook and wind like heck. She followed instructions to the T and in came a fish. It was a small fish but none the less a fish. As the fish came toward the boat, I was ready with the net, just in case. She led the fish right to the side of the boat and straight into the net. Good job, a nice little 1 1/2 pound flounder. Out came the camera as Darla and the flounder posed for a memory. After the photo op, Darla was quick to get back into the water, letting the mullet and the Cajun Thunder do the work to produce another fish, this time a small red fish. Right to the boat with another fish, photo op and back to the spot, awaiting another bite. Maybe we should have done this, instead of chasing the reds that did not want to eat our bait.

Now it was Matt's turn as his float went down, but a strike and a miss as Matt's fish got a snack and did not have to put up with a hook in its face. I whispered to Darla, "ask Matt if he wants you to show him how its done" and like the sport she was , she went along with my request. You can imagine the response from Matt, as he is fishless and she has already caught two.

Matt had another chance as his Cajun Thunder was now screaming across the water. I barked out, "set the hook and wind" as once again his efforts were for naught. I had earlier been using his rod and reel outfit to fish for some pretty large reds and the hook might have been a little big, so I changed it to a little smaller, # 4 Daiichi D-16. This seemed to be the ticket as the next time Matt's float went down he was hooked up. The thin wire that the Daiichi Blood Red D-16 is made from is just right for letting the fish run with the bait before setting the hook and in this case it proved to be, just what Dr. Jim had ordered for another hook up. This was pretty nice and did not want to come to the boat as easily as Darla's little red. Matt angled the fish right to the net and with one swoop, the fish was netted and in the boat. Not bad, a nice 2 1/2 pound flounder. Shortly after that fish, Darla was again hooked up and this time she was in for a fight. Around the boat and back again, under the anchor rope and back out and once around the boat. What did she have that was putting up such a good fight. Here is a clue. The rod tip was thumping as the fish tired out. Can anyone guess? If you guessed jack crevalle, you are right. Just the right size, about 3 pounds. "We are having fun now", I said, as Darla was rubbing here arm and commenting about how good this fish pulled. For most people, jacks do not make a hit for table fare but sure do put up a tussle as you try to work them to the boat.

It was now Matt's turn as his float decided to head furiously up current. When your float is going up current, this is usually a pretty good sign that something other than the bait is attached to the hook. The line quickly tightened, Matt set the hook and line screamed from the Shakespeare Tidewater SS Reel as the fish headed away from the boat and toward open water. What the heck did Matt have? This fish was mad, he ran from one side of the boat to the other. Each time, Matt would get a little line and the fish would get it back. I was pretty sure the fish was not a trout, red fish, flounder, jack, lady fish or the triton submarine as we were only in about 12 inches of water and the submarine draws a little more than that. After about two minutes, all of the suspense was over with as I netted a 3 1/2 pound blue fish. No wonder he pulled so good, blues of this size are usually pretty good string stretchers.

Just about the time that the blue came to the boat, Darla was again hooked up and this time a nice fish. This fish was acting more like something in which I was familiar. A run about 40 to 50 feet and then a tug of war around the boat. This was Mr. Redfish and one that did not want to join us, especially to be introduced to Mr. Wesson Oil. Another good fight and another fish for the supper table. Darla and Matt were on a role, a few more and I could join them for dinner. We went a while and I even said 5 more minutes and we are moving. This is an old fisherman's trick to either get a good bite or catch another fish. You know, just enough action to keep you there a while longer.

Just as the 5 minute time was running out, Matt was hooked up (this 5 minute thing always works). This was just what he had been looking for, a very nice red and the red wanted to get out of town, or at least get away from the boat as line once again screamed from the reel. Matt did great and worked this 26 inch red right to the net and into the boat. It is looking like Capt. Jim is going to get an invite to a fish dinner, two nice reds, two nice flounder and a blue fish for a kicker.

Matt and Darla caught a few more small reds and as time was winding down the sun started to cook as it does this time of the year.

Here is what we did to produce a good trip for Matt and Darla and to turn what was starting to be a bad day for Capt. Jim, into a pretty good time for a 4 hour morning trip.

We went to a place that I was pretty sure was holding fish, eased the anchor down so the boat was slightly up current from the oyster mound that I wanted to fish. Tied on some Cajun Thunder floats in conjunction with some super sharp Daiichi hooks, used a lively mud minnow and mullet for bait. We let the bait swim just off of the bottom and fished our baits where they started up current and drifted past the mound. I would cast the rig up current and let it drift back past the mound. I probably made a bunch of cast up current and about every eight or ninth pass we would catch a fish. If we had a bite and the bait was killed, I put on a lively one for the next pass.

This is pretty easy fishing as the Cajun Thunder float lets you know when to set the hook.

Give this a try, you might be surprised.

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