It's been more then a month since I last dropped our fishy Florida adventure. So with the ridiculous amount of free time that I have now, I felt like it was time to add part 2 of the 3 part series summarizing the adventure. On the second half of the trip, we really started to get a feel for what this saltwater marsh fishing was all about. On the 4th day, we got out with Patrick Rhea of Livit Films. This idea had been planned for almost a full year and a half in advance, and it finally happened. This was the third time I would have gotten out on a flats skiff, with the first 2, drawing complete blanks.
We rolled up to the boat launch at about 6:00 am, which our time was really more like 4:00 am, with a wake up time of about 4:45 (2:45 Mountain time) I don't usually have a big issue getting up early, but this was a little rough, I might have gotten one entire hour of sleep. With stomachs full of Dunkin Donuts breakfast, we hit the water in Pat's Salt Marsh Skiff. It didn't take long to spot fish, I think it was probably my second or third cast that resulted in a quick hook up blind casting, but immediately came loose. Not likely a fish we were after, but some confidence right off the bat was a bonus. I think it must have only been 10 minutes later that Pat called out a single tailing fish at about 10 oclock, 40 feet out. I was shocked and how little disturbance a 2 foot long Redfish's tail makes on a mudflat. But he certainly was there. Kept popping up and down. I threw at that fish, and got no love. That's pretty well how the majority of the day went on the fish we could throw at. I think I started to lose faith in myself, because these damn things wouldn't eat my flies. We really take trout for granted. We were limited to what side of the flats we could fish, the wind we had was pretty stiff, there was a lot of water we just simply couldn't fish.
We spent the majority of the day, watching redfish shoot under our boat in the 3-4' depth that we were poling in, casting at hundreds of sheepshead, losing our minds (screw permit, if you can get a sheepshead to eat an artificial that's impressive). Those things spook before you've even dropped your cast. The reds themselves weren't all too happy in the skinny stuff but shit if they weren't 5 feet from the boat every damn time. Watching puffs of mud all around the boat as we made our way around the flats was frustrating.
As the tide came up, we made our way into the back country, waters changed from clear, to tannin stained pretty quick. We must have come across multiple dozens of reds by the time we decided to move, that just simply weren't fish-able, or they just wanted nothing to do with flies. But we started to see quite a few in the back country and things got interesting really quick.
Now I'm pretty sure Pat has 20/10 vision, cause he pointed out two reds to me about 30' from the boat... I'll be honest, I had no clue what/where he was talking about. I think my saving grace was really when they popped up into 6" of water for a split second so I could actually see what direction they were headed. They were moving quick. Instead of dropping the fly in the teacup this time, Pat instructed to drop it way ahead of them. I dropped his marsh critter way ahead of them in their path.... On pats count, he instructed me to strip, and it took only about 2 strips before my line went violently taught (Sam got this all on video). I hooked my Red properly, instead of being a complete noob, I stripped set hard, and drilled that fly into that things jaw. Now I'm fairly enamored with most fish, anything that swims is pretty cool in my mind. But this copper colored bruiser was something else. I was so fired up, I don't think I've wanted any fish more than a Red in the last 6 years, and it was the perfect one. Not only that, by Redfish standards this was considered a Bull red. It's crazy how 1 fish can make 6 hours in the baking sun worth it.
I don't think I've ever given two dudes such violent high fives in my life. Wasn't too long after that we started making our way back, as Pat seriously put that skiff into hyper drive and just drifted through the channels. I think Sam was more stoked on that than anything else that happened the whole trip.
Have to give a huge shout out to Pat. He hooked us up with a lot of fish and info over the trip. He started a whole new fire in my stomach for saltwater fishing. He's in the midst of working on yet another video, he has been putting out lots of sick content in the last couple of months. The video below is his latest, and if I'm not mistaken he's putting together yet another killer video at the moment. Thanks again bro.
Stay tuned, Part 3 of this adventure is coming up quickly, the video from the trip is finally in the works and rolling and we'll have some banging content to share.