Apalachee Bay Redfish on the Fly


[dropcap]C[/dropcap]atching redfish on a fly is no easy task in Apalachee Bay. I am not saying that it is not possible, just not easy. In reverse, catching a redfish on fly in Apalachee Bay is a worthy task. For those accustomed to fly fishing, a worthy task is exactly what it is about. If it was easy, everyone would have a phone full of redfish on fly photos, but that is simply not the case.

As a fishing guide in the bay, my folks catch hundreds of redfish every year, but redfish on fly is a rarity. Getting redfish to chase down a gold spoon that is steadily retrieved with a spinning reel, and will cast 35 yards without effort, is the norm. There is much less boat positioning and wind angle to worry about when using conventional equipment. When a fly rod is introduced to the equation, you can add a dozen new variables to the situation. Some variables will be overcome by boat control, and positioning to enhance casting angle, others must be addressed by the angler.

My best advice to increase your redfish on fly success is to slow down. This applies to both boat and angler. When it comes to boat control, always slow down to a crawl when approaching a hot redfish spot. If you feel anxious or like your just not moving fast enough, then your speed is most likely correct. That is why fly guides use a push pole to approach redfish when fly fishing. The logic is simple, in order to get within fly range, the slower you approach the more likely you can get closer. Quiet and slow is a lesson in life skills. At this speed most folks fall below their normal comfort zone, which ends in anxiety that will make for poor cast, and a hurried retreat from a possible hook up. If you find your redfish, stay patient and enjoy every second, calmly. Remember, it only takes one good cast to pull off this worthy task.


My second piece of advice is to be persistent in your efforts. Sometimes this is accomplished with multiple days on the water. Our redfish will feed best on a particular tide, and that window will close every day. If you happen to miss the window, follow up with another day. Ideally the next day, on the same tide, and same conditions will increase your odds. If you have ten quality redfish spots, sooner or later they will pay off. Be ready with fly rod and the correct fly techniques. These techniques are only acquired through persistence. Time on the water will pay off. Remember, very few folks have a phone full of redfish pictures with fly rod.

If all else fails, with plenty of fly fishing from the boat practice, and several days on the water, it is just a matter of time before you find that marauding school of redfish. These are the days that dreams are made. When big schools of reds feed, they will not flee from the boat as fast. They will be in competition mode, and will eat almost anything thrown their way. Keep a popper ready with a 30 pound tippet! ENJOY.