Epic Georgia Trout

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I found myself in North Carolina last week for a conference and figured that I’d make the most of the trip and took some extra vacation days. When the conference wrapped up Sunday I hopped in the truck, pointed it west, and landed in Helen, GA a few hours later. I’d already planned ahead and had a half-day guided trip booked for Monday morning. After enjoying a pretty sunset following dinner, I settled into the hotel room and went through my gear to make sure it was ready. Read More

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Santa Hates Me

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I guess I made the naughty list this year. All I’ve read on the forums is how awesome the low tide fishing has been. The seatrout are on fire and the reds are stacked up like cord wood. So I finally get my butt on the water and I get freakin’ skunked again. I did see one tail but by the time I stood up he was gone. I spooked another in the same area but that was it. Aside from baitfish it was quiet. Of course, the freakin’ pelicans were laughing at me while they made it look easy. Stupid birds.

I have to admit I was pretty pissed at the end of the day. I had such high hopes and I just knew I’d end the year on a good note. I haven’t been able to get out much at all lately and this was probably my last hurrah. What a letdown. I tried getting into the water with clousers and worked the topwater with a gurgler. I worked the oysters. I worked the points. I worked the docks. Next time I’m trying dynamite.

At least the day wasn’t a total loss. I got to play with the Hatch 7 Plus and snapped this shot. I really like how it turned out. I wish the Hatch logo matched the rest of the lines in the image but it still works.

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Clean That Gear, Son!

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While on my fruitless hunt for reds last weekend I noticed that my Lamson Konic reel was squealing a lot during retrieval. I thought maybe there was a mouse in it so I decided to take it apart this week. The last thing I needed was a mouse dying in my reel.
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After striking out yesterday I was determined to do better today. As soon as church was out I hit the road and headed to the ramp. I’d already seen how high the water was and knew I needed to be there well before the peak if I wanted any shot at the action.
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Spooked Two

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Well, I’m not off to a good start for the Redfish Rodeo. I made it out for my first outing of the month and I had the horrible thought hit me halfway to the ramp that I’d forgotten to print my token for the tournament. Craaaaap! When I got to the ramp I was able to pull it up on my phone and saved it so I’d have it ready. Immediately after leaving the ramp I felt like things were looking up.
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It’s Tourney Time!

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I haven’t signed up for a tournament since my last trip to Charleston. I was happy to see the same format appear in my home waters and I’m looking forward to having some yak fun in the Redfish Spots Rodeo. I haven’t been a big fan of my measuring board and the gang at jaxkayakfishing.com rave so much about Zip’s CPR board that I had to give it a try. I met up with Zip today and was impressed with the ingenious design. After a quick lesson from Zip I’m ready to hit the water!
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I Labored a Great Way

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Wow. Has it really been 2 years since I last posted? I’m going to blame my guide friend. I tried keeping up with him in the kayak and beat the hell out of my elbow. It took about a year to get to where it wasn’t painful. Then life kicked in along with a new role at work. And here we are.

Well, I can’t be too mad at him. πŸ™‚ We finally got out again to enjoy a little Labor Day fishing. I suggested we take his 16′ Mitzi skiff, though. πŸ˜‰ I was anxious to hit the flood tide and we were looking at a decent 5.3′ predicted. We hit the flats with plenty of time to spare and the hunt was on.

We soon spotted a nice tailer. We’d been hearing the sweet slurping sound of reds feeding on the topwater but couldn’t pinpoint them. Seeing the tail got the adrenaline going for sure.

My first cast was a little short but I managed to put my crab right in front of him. I barely made one strip before the rod bent over. He put up a little fight but it didn’t take too long to get him in the boat. He turned out to be a real beauty.

Sweet Red

Unfortunately he was the only tail I’d get to put a fly on. My buddy tried for one but I don’t think he even saw the fly before he was gone. It was much slimmer pickings than we’d anticipated.

The best part is that I’d just bought a Lamson Konic 4 reel off my buddy and I guess it still has his mojo. πŸ˜€ It’s a nice match for my BVK. Unfortunately, that’s on its way back to TFO…again. This will be the second time this rod has gone back. They must use the weakest guides possible. At least they have a great warranty and repairs are only $30. Hey! They used to be $25. πŸ™

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Let There Be Light!

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When I got my new folding trailer from Harbor Freight I noticed that I had some lighting issues. I swear I’ve been round and round trying to track it down as a ground fault since that’s typically the most likely culprit. I had times where the right side would either not work at all or would be very weak. I also noticed that the trailer lights would work with the engine running but only the left side worked with the engine off.

I tried running a dedicated ground and that failed to resolve the issue. I also tried my magnetic lights which provide their own ground and those behaved the same. I finally took a multimeter to the truck side of the harness and discovered that the right side barely showed any voltage. I figured this meant that my Reese converter was at fault.

Yesterday I received a new Hopkins converter kit in the mail. You gotta love Amazon. Locally it goes for $40 + tax. I paid $25 shipped. I was thrilled that my lights started working as expected when I was done.Β The install was very simple and only took about 15 minutes. It took considerably longer to wrap the wiring in split loom. πŸ™‚

I was so happy, in fact, that I decided to go ahead and install the LED lighting kit I’d picked up. The stock lights that came with the trailer were adequate but dimmer than I wanted. All I had to do was swap the old lights out for the new and run the wiring for the side markers since I’d never done that. I’m quite pleased with the results and feel like I’ll be a little more visible and therefore safer on the road now.

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Another Rod Bites The Dust

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Would someone please queue the Queen track? It seems luck wasn’t on my side today. A small group of us hit Dutton Island in search of reds but didn’t end up doing too well. There were some dink trout and rays caught but that’s about it other than a rat red.

My buddy and I were after the same hole (where he ended up catching the rat) when my day went south. I’d been fishing for about an hour using the Mangrove. I’d also picked up a Rio Outbound Short line that I’d loaded up on the BVK to get into some deeper holes. I had the BVK out and decided to go back to the Mangrove.

I made a back cast and as I made the forward cast the end of my new rod went flying. For a moment I thought that after breaking the BVK perhaps I was a little too timid while putting the sections together. I pulled the line in and retrieved the section which made me happy. The way things had been going I figured the fly would be gone and the section would’ve slid right off the line. When I got the end of my rod back in the boat I noticed that it hadn’t come apart. It had snapped right in the middle of the section!

My Poor Mangrove

I can’t for the life of me figure out what I could’ve done to cause this. I suppose there’s an off chance the weighted fly on the BVK smacked it. Of course that doesn’t lend much support to TFO’s website statement:

Built with the hardcore angler in mind, the Mangrove series utilizes TFO’s proprietary TiCr blank coating, which helps protect the rod from the occasional collision with a weighted fly…

Oddly enough, at the exact moment my rod broke my buddy’s rod went flying. Luckily for him, though, it just came apart. πŸ™‚

While I’ve managed to break two TFO rods in the span of a month, I have to say that their service has been superb. The Mangrove was delivered to their door on Friday and I had it back on Wed. Let’s just hope I can keep them both intact for a while.

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Oh Flood Reds Wherefore Art Thou?

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After a lackluster attempt at my first flood tide at Cedar Point I decided it was time to do it again. It was a busy weekend for flood fishing. The fly shop had an outing and I was planning on heading out with the fly club since my friend/guide was booked. As luck (mine) would have it, he had a cancellation and he called me to go out. We hit the spot long before the water arrived and as soon as there was enough to float the boats we headed out.

We waited for quite a while and watched a charter scouring the flats to no avail. I thought it was going to be another skunk. The water just didn’t seem to be coming in like we wanted. We were looking for knee-deep and it seemed barely over my ankles. Finally I spotted something. It took a moment to register but as soon as my brain confirmed that it was the ever elusive redfish tail I’d been seeking I grabbed my new TFO Mangrove and put a fly on him. Ok, I really put it next to him. Then I put it next to him again. Then I finally hit him on the head. Then he was gone.


Note: Following my last outing I did something wrong. I guess. I really don’t know what happened. The skeeters were so bad and we were in such a hurry to escape that all I can fathom is that I grabbed my BVK rod wrong when taking it apart. The following day I noticed that one of the guides was mangled and broken. It killed me. Another flood tide was on its way and I had to ship my primary rod off for repair. I’d planned on dropping back to my backup Redington Pursuit and was very close. Unfortunately I made the mistake of trying the new TFO Mangrove and walked out with it on Friday.

The tails were few and far between and neither of us were having much luck. Off in the distance I saw movement. I pushed the boat through the glassy water careful to make as little noise as possible. I saw a huge tail and could easily see the dark shadow lurking underneath the surface. The fly landed off its mark and stripping failed to deliver it to the target. That’s when it turned and I realized how big he was. This was easily an upper slot red (at least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself). Alas, I never saw him again.

The tide continued to roll in but the sky began to darken with the setting sun. That’s when we hit pay dirt. There had to be over half a dozen tails. Focused on one another would pop up just beyond it. Soon the line went tight and the fish was on.

Fish On'

Now here’s where it gets ugly. I wish I could say the Mangrove had its first fish under its belt. Unfortunately I managed to turn it into a tangled mass more than once. It was horrible. I think I scared the fish with my cursing. Try as I might I couldn’t get the blasted line through the guides. I’m sure part of it was red fever but WTH?? Once I managed to get it out I was so anxious and frustrated that I couldn’t cast to save my life. Fortunately my guide was quick to hand off his rod. So the Mangrove will have to wait for its christening.

Got spot?'

Yesterday I went out again so another friend could test his new fish finder. We didn’t hit the flats but still saw a couple of reds. I think I figured out the problem with the Mangrove. It was the line itself. It seems that the transition from line to leader is the problem. The loops are hanging up in the guides. Once I realized what was happening and I started keeping more line out between fish I was back to my old self and the Mangrove did fine. I’ll have to go back and check that line loop and maybe turn it into a welded loop instead of a whipped loop.

Photos courtesy of Capt. Rich Santos.

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