The low tide redfish can be picky and spooky at times, so a quiet approach and good caster help. That being said, when trying to sight cast to individual fish, this is by far one of the coolest ways to go after them.
Mid tide and high tide fish are a lot less spooky, but harder to spot as they easily move below the surface of the deeper water without being seen. Since they are hard to spot, we rely on blind casting attention getting lures like MirrOlure Top Dogs or flies like poppers and gurglers. The top water bite can be explosive and really catch an angler off guard when they're not expecting it. We've caught some really nice reds this summer on the high tide top water bite.
Around the full moon and new moon we get my favorite flood tides that push in high enough to let the redfish enter the grass and tail on fiddler crabs. We've had some really great tailing tides this summer, with lots of shots at redfish on most trips. If you haven't seen a redfish doing a headstand in ten inches of water right in front of you, you're missing out. We should be seeing good tailing redfish at least through the end of September.
A few months ago I got bit by the glass rod bug. I'm sure it was influenced by the growing glass rod market, along with social media from sites like The Fiberglass Manifesto. I dug up an old Eagle Claw glass rod that was given to me a few years ago and started playing with it in the yard. "Fun" was the first thought that came to mind. As I forced myself to slow my casting stroke, I could actually feel the rod load. It was a joy to cast and I thought about what a great teaching tool it could be, allowing someone to feel the rod really bend...something that can be hard for a beginner to pick up on with a super fast action rod. I also started thinking about how much fun it would be to catch a redfish on a fiberglass rod...I could already imagine it bending all the way to the grip fighting a bulldoging redfish.
I started researching glass rods in the 6 to 8wt range, and narrowed it down to a few companies. There are some really cool glass rods out there, but I kept being drawn back to Swift Fly Fishing and their Epic glass rods. They're built using S-Glass which is faster your traditional fiberglass, but still slower than a graphite rod. They offer them in several killer colors. The only thing that caused me to hesitate is that they mainly sell blanks and DIY build kits. I had never considered building my own fly rod before. For an extra fee you can purchase a built Epic rod, but I decided that if I was going to buy one, I would save a little money and build it myself. I started emailing Swift, and not long after, I bit the bullet and purchased one of their Epic Ready to Wrap Fly Rod Kits. I went with the Epic 686 (6wt, 8'6") in the "so blue" color.
A few weeks later, I had an Epic mail day, when this package arrived from New Zealand.
It was full of all kinds of goodies. Everything you needed to build your own rod, including the box which can be transformed into a rod wrapping machine.
You can purchase their blank and buy your own components, but they offer some really high quality components with their kits. I really dig their reel seats.
Check out the awesome white fiberglass rod tube that's included with the kit.
The first task was to fit the grip, reel seat and fighting butt to the blank, so that you could mark the blank where the top of the grip would be.
Everything below that mark was sanded to help the epoxy adhere. Next you mark the blank where the reel seat will be and then build up the blank with tape for the reel seat. Mix up your epoxy and glue the grip, reel seat and fighting butt in place.
Use your china marker to mark all the guide spacings. Tape down one foot of the guide and line it up.
Wrap your thread on the un-taped foot of the guide, and then remove your tape and wrap the other.
The silk threads that they send with the kit turn clear when you add the thread epoxy.
I wrapped the first few guides with the box that the kit comes in. The rest of the guides were wrapped with a rod wrapping machine. The box did a good job and held it's own against the wrapping machine.
I added some silver trim wraps up against the natural (clear) silk wraps.
The silk threads turn clear as they soak in the epoxy/denatured alcohol solution.
Once the diluted epoxy has dried, it's time to coat the threads with some more epoxy.
After a few coats of epoxy on the thread wraps, your rod is done. The epoxy is self leveling, so it came out pretty good, even for my first build.
I paired the rod up with a Kraken reel from http://www.allenflyfishing.com/
I'm really enjoying casting the Epic 686 "So Blue" rod. It's a different animal than my fast action graphite rods, and I'm embracing that difference. I can't wait to put a redfish on it very soon. I'm also starting to think about their 4wt and their upcoming 8wt Epic glass rods. False Albacore Tuna on Fiberglass this coming Fall? I think yes!
You can find out more about Swift Fly Fishing and all they have to offer at http://swiftflyfishing.com/
I've been tying this fly, or some variation of it for a few years now ( I still haven't come up with a name for it ). I usually have a handful of these in my Redfish box in varying colors of Chartreuse, Tan, Olive and Rootbeer. The main thing to know about this fly is that it works! It's equally at home being used for schooled up winter Redfish or for summer time tailers. It consistently gets eaten in sight casting situations.
I just got back from 3 days at a Sportsman's Expo, where I had time to knock out a few flies in between chatting with visitors. I snapped some photos along the way so I could post a quick tutorial here on the blog.
I use a 1/0 Gamakatsu SC15 hook for this fly. I love using the size 1 and 1/0 SC15 hooks for any of my buggy looking redfish patterns. Cover the shank in thread.
I tie in a generous clump of select craft fur for the horn of the shrimp (should be about 3 times the length of the shank). You may have to tie in a couple pinches of this material to get the thickness you need. I tie it in right where the hook shank starts to bend.
I rotate the fly around and tie in some crystal flash. Four strands, 2 on each side of the hook. The crystal flash should be about the length of the craft fur and lay on top of the fur.
I choose a pair of mono shrimp eyes and bend the mono about 1/2" back from the eyeball. (These eyes can be purchased, but I build mine out of 30# mono, clear cure goo and finger nail polish...I'll post a tutorial at some point).
Tie in the eyes at the same spot that the craft fur and crystal flash is tied in. The eyes should stick up and out at a 45deg angle.
Clip off the excess mono, tie them down tight and secure with a little thread glue. It's starting to look a little more like a critter now.
Rotate the hook again to invert the fly, and tie in a pair of lead eyes, clouser style. I've also tied in a 5" strip of Palmering Chenille at the same point where the flash, eyes and craft fur is tied in.
Palmer the palmering chenille back about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way towards the lead eyes. Make sure you guide the direction of the chenille fibers so that they are pointing forward as they lay down. Use a wrap or two of thread to hold the chenille in place so it doesn't unwravel. At this spot, tie down a rubber leg at its midpoint, folding it over and tying both ends forward. Tie in another rubber leg on the opposite side of the fly.
Continue palmering the chenille around the hook shank until it gets to the lead eyes. Tie off the end and clip off any excess.
Tie in a weedguard using 30# mono.
Brush/pick out the materials so that they lay forward nicely. At this point you can trim down the chenille fibers to give it a streamlined look. Use a sharpie (I'm a fan of metallic copper) to band the horn of the shrimp.
Here's the little shrimp/crab/critter/bug in it's fighting stance, aka what the redfish sees right before he inhales it.
Well, looks like we are about mid way through Winter, and I have to say the fishing has been really fantastic so far. The Reds are in their normal Winter time patterns for January/February. They are schooled up in big numbers in certain spots trying to stay warm and safe. I'm seeing schools of anywhere from 30 fish to 300 fish at a time. Some times they are floating so close to the surface that their backs and dorsal fins are all out of the water at the same time...what a sight to see! We've had some really clear water this winter and it has made for some fantastic sight casting to these fish both on fly and on spinning gear. There are some small rat reds around (which is a good thing because they'll be keepers this coming fall) but I am seeing a lot of upper slot reds in the 24-27" range, with some being over the slot. Now is a seriously good time to get down here and see what the winter time fishery is all about.
I recently wrote an essay for Marsh Wear Clothing, giving my spin on catching redfish this time of year. They also included a video clip of me casting to a school of 50+ Redfish this Winter. Check it out, and take a look at the great line of clothing they sell while you're there... http://www.marshwearclothing.com/blogs/news
Newest Video from Chasing Tailing Redfish in North Carolina....
This summer has flown by so fast. It's been non stop for me with work, family and fishing. Looking back, we had a fantastic summer here in Eastern NC with some really good fishing.
The new East Cape Fury has been putting us in front of a lot of fish this summer.
Lowtide redfish have been plentiful and willing to take flies and artificials.
We've also had a great top water bite on high tide reds and speckled trout.
Tailing redfish in the grass has been very good this summer, with a few really outstanding days that come to mind. I was able to get some really good footage stalking reds in the grass this year. There's still nothing that compares to casting to these fish as they methodically work their way through the grass stalking crabs and shrimp.
This summer also provided some fantastic fishing along the beaches for Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, Ladyfish and Jacks. We were also able to get our Project Healing Waters participants out a few times this summer to get in on the action.
With cooler weather and some North winds, one of my favorite fish has arrived back along the coast and it looks like we are in for a great fall season chasing these guys!
I watched my Ankona Native SUV roll away last week, on the way to it's new home in the Low Country. She's seen a bunch of redfish in the last 3 years and I'm pretty sure she's going to see a bunch more.
Meanwhile in Orlando, my new ride is coming to life. She'll be ready in about a week, and then it's game on. Come jump on the bow and we'll go chase some fish.
I've been following Marsh Wear Clothing for a while. They've been coming out with some really great designs focused on the Shallow Water Fishing Lifestyle here in the South East. There are a lot of clothing companies based around fishing, but I love how well Marsh Wear represents the types of fishing I do. I am proud to announce that I have joined up with them as a Marsh Wear Clothing Ambassador. Not only do they have great designs, but I have to say that the clothes are super comfortable too. Check out their website, and hit me up if you have any questions about their clothes.
Got out last night and chased some sunfish and bass at a local pond. These are the same fish that got me hooked on this sport as a child. Beautiful, fun, and always willing to smack a popping bug.
I'll have some new updates very soon, with a new skiff and some good fish porn.
Spring finally decided to show up after a long harsh winter. I'm looking forward to the temperatures continuing to warm, and all the good things that come with it...green grass, warm southwest breezes, fishing barefoot, and happy tailing redfish.
The reds are showing back up in the marsh in good numbers, and this looks to be another great year to come chase them in the skinny water. We are finding fish throughout the slot range, and they are happy to eat flies and soft plastics with the warming water temps.
As some of you may know, I'm a proud volunteer with the Crystal Coast Chapter of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. Our group was formed less than a year ago, but we already have a great group of volunteers and some wonderful participants whom I can call friends at this point. We try to get everyone together once a month for some type of fly fishing outing. When we formed last summer, I knew a shad trip to the Roanoke the following Spring would definitely be on the check list. My first shad trip to the Roanoke was about six years ago. It's a beautiful river, with water flowing downstream over ancient boulders, clay banks lined with blooming trees, and echoes of turkeys calling through the forest. On that first trip to Weldon, six years back, I promised myself that I would return every spring for the rest of my life to chase those little shad. A lot has happened in my life since then, but so far, I've been able to keep that promise to myself. What an amazing fishery to experience and share with friends.
A few months ago, we put the word out to the guys that we would be heading to the river at the end of March, to chase the little silver bullets that migrate upriver every Spring. We spent several meetings teaching our members how to tie different types of shad flies, and spent evenings practicing casting 200gr sinking lines on 5wts. I made contact with a few good buddies who were kind enough to offer to host our Vets on their boats for the day. Everything seemed to fall into place.
A few days before the trip, the weather report took a turn for the worse, with a forecast of 100% rain. I spent those last couple days with knots in my stomach trying to make a decision on how to handle the trip with the bad weather.
We made a last minute call to move the trip back one day to try to escape the forecasted 100% chance of rain. We arrived at Weldon the following day and were welcomed by wind, unseasonably cold temps and gray skies with passing showers. Our guys are hardcore, and they stuck it out in the bad weather and were rewarded with a bunch of willing Hickory Shad.
I had the pleasure of watching a few of our Vets catch their first fish on fly that day. It's amazing how quickly you can forget about the cold and rain, when you've got a 5wt doubled over with a big roe shad on the other end.
Plenty of good stories were told over the buffet at Ralphs BBQ that afternoon, and I have no doubt a few new friendships were forged that day. The trip was a great success and it couldn't have happened without the generosity of people like Chuck Laughridge, Greg Hurt, and Dean Lamont...nor without the help of fine companies like Temple Fork Outfitters and Scientific Anglers. Most of all, I want to thank our PHWFF participants and all of our US Military who are out there fighting for our Freedom. I owe you all a debt of gratitude and I'm already anxious for next years PHWFF Shad outing on the Roanoke River.
BOAT IS SOLD. THANKS!
Hate to see this boat go, she's snuck up on an unbelievable amount of redfish. I'll still be running charters out of her until she sells, then I'll be guiding out of another boat.
2011 Ankona Native SUV17
2011 Tohatsu TLDI 40hp 2stroke (still under warranty) only run non ethanol fuel
2011 Float On Aluminum Trailer w/ Torsion Axles
Hull Color is Sky Blue
Deck Color is Ice Blue
Center Console w/ storage and running lights
Storage area under front and rear decks
Pop up cleat on front deck
12 gallon Aluminum tank under front Deck
Garmin 300C color fish finder
Poling Platform with fold down Anchor light
Push Pole Clips
Under Gunnel Rod Holders
I am located in Swansboro, North Carolina
Price Reduced $12,500
There is a year wait to have a new one built, so someone is going to get a good deal without the long wait.
contact me if you have any questions or would like to see the boat:
Eat, Sleep, Breathe Redfish