The high tide was coming in as we departed down river in Tuck's Maverick 17-HPX-V. There was a slight cool breeze and we encountered a few sprinkles here and there. Greg and I both immediately commented that we always have our best days in the rain.
Early in the day, the reds were elusive. We would see fish at a distance, but as we approached them, they seemed pretty spooky. As the rain picked up we approached a flat that Tuck indicated he nearly always finds fish. This particular flat was a little stained and we had difficulty seeing the fish. Greg was on the bow casting and Tuck encouraged him that this is one of those places that blind casting might just work out.
As I pulled the spoon across the channel a few casts in, an huge redfish ascended and attacked the spoon fly. I was nearly in shock at the size of the fish. Tuck yells down from the tower, "That fish is 32" + buddy, lets land him." That is when everything went into slow motion. The fish began to dart away. As I looked down at the butt end of the rod I noticed the fly line was looped around the butt. I anxiously flipped the line off of the butt of the rod. Just as I began to experience a feeling or relief, the line I had just flicked off the butt of the rod looped around my left 3rd finger. The line immediately pooled tight around my finger...SNAP. I don't recall if I maintained my composure in the next moment, but I'm guessing I didn't.
As Greg experienced, this little guy had some fight. I was really impressed with his strength, knowing he was not a big fish. He was a stunning little male. He had a jet black spot on the back of the tail and the tail fin was nearly sky blue. As I posed with the fish for a picture he began the drumming that lead to his namesake.
We had a great day on the flats of the Broad river. We gained valuable experience that will prepare us for future redfish trips. We saw several bonnethead sharks and an huge loggerhead turtle. To Captain Tuck's credit, he spent some time with me to help refine my long casting skills. There have been almost no times in my fly fishing career that I have had to accurately cast 70-80 feet. Tuck showed me some good tips on tightening up my loops and accurately casting at a long distance.
With the devastation of the Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi coastlines from the BP oil spill, a lot of folks that normally chase reds in those areas will be looking for new waters. If you are interested in a great redfishery and a first class guide, get a hold of Tuck Scott at Bay Street Outfitters in Beaufort, SC ASAP, because I anticipate as busy as he is now, he is going to be really busy over the next few years.