Looks like it's about time to end another chapter in the Redfish journey. As the winter 2022/2023 season comes to a close, and we transition into spring fishing, I wanted to look back and share some images and thoughts from the final few weeks.
Early in March we had a sudden warm up in temperatures. Trees were blooming, water temps were rising, the water was coloring up, and the Redfish schools started breaking up. It seemed like the water temps went from 55 deg, to 65-70 deg in just a few days on the flats, as the air temps approached 80 deg.
It felt like winter was going to be over earlier than normal. And just like that, the air temps dropped and the water temps fell to 53-55 deg again. Some of the schools of Reds had scattered into singles, and some were still holding in schools. We even found a big school of 500 plus fish that covered a vast flat. Air and water temps continued to yo-yo throughout the month of March, making my job harder than I had hoped. The winds also came into play as we had several days of difficult sight casting in 20-25mph winds. Those winds also stacked in much higher high tides and super negative low tides compared to what was predicted. Heck, it even sleeted on us one trip. "Can a guide catch a break?" Fortunately I've gotten better and better over the years at finding fish and getting shots in difficult conditions, and I'm a little more at ease with fishing in snotty weather than I was, say, 5 years ago.
The biggest issue for us was that a lot of these fish were highly educated by the time we got into March. Fish that would have ate more readily in January and February, had seen enough pressure from boats and bait, to be much more aware of their surroundings and life choices during the month of March. That being said, we still managed to have some really great trips sight fishing Redfish up shallow on fly and spinning gear.
As we move into April and May, the water will warm, continue to get darker, and the schools will continue to break up and spread out through the marsh. I have absolutely enjoyed our winter fishery this past season. All in all, it was probably the best one I've experienced. That being said, I am really looking forward to some summer time Redfish. I can't wait until they start tearing up topwater plugs!
Along with being my most successful winter of Redfish hunting and catching, it was also my most successful winter for my guide service. You all didn't give me much down time, and although I missed my winter vacation where I normally get caught up on everything else, I really really appreciate you all keeping me booked up and poling my skiff towards Reds. As always I really appreacitate the support and can't wait to see what else we'll experience on the water this year.
Enjoy the pics! John