Winter is upon us…..
As we head into winter I am reminded of the constant changes in our fishery from one season to the next. Seven to eight foot tide swings, both a blessing and a curse, prove challenging in our everyday fishing. Redfish tail on those upper tidal ranges and school up on the lower. Each of our seasons, due to weather, water clarity, and tides, brings its own set of techniques as we constantly change to keep those reds sipping bait imitations. Winter is upon us, marking the lull of tailing redfish in the grass. But with that lull, comes the beauty of huge schools; and seeing five hundred fish on a flat is a wonder in itself.
As our water temperatures drop, the reds become lethargic. Bait flush out of the rivers heading for the “southern cross”, and dolphin hone in on schools of redfish as their primary table fare. Schools become even tighter. As water clarity increases, and temps drop, the reds become as tightly packed as sardines in a can. We no longer have a few eyes to worry about spooking, but a thousand.
One way we can get increasingly lethargic fish to eat art imitating life is to slow down our retrieve. With gin clear water, I like to use more natural-looking flies, and much smaller ones than I would use at other times of the year.
At this time of year, pressure waves from the boat become critical. As we cast those wands and shift our weight back and forth to get those long casts, the movement sends vibrations that fish can feel. I’m sure if I was a red I would be wondering what a great white shark is doing on my flat. Stealth is key. Minimal noise and movement is vital to success.
Every season here in the Low Country brings its own set of marvels and wonders. Winter is one of those seasons that fascinate me. Just how many redfish we have here becomes evident when all of them suddenly school up to enormous sizes. Our redfish emerge from the woodwork and stage up in various places. The sheer quantity is an ecstasy for the eye gazing upon coppery red hues in skinny water.
Some of my best days fishing are in these cold months ahead. They are unique from our other seasons and a little more sporadic. Each season in the Low Country keeps us on our toes as Mother Nature urges us to consistently adapt our ways in order to lure our reds to that "just right" fly. This is just one of the many reasons why I’m so passionate about pescando con moscas. Here is to a loco fly-fishing winter in the Hilton Head/Beaufort stomping grounds and to catching that blue tinted tail in one of those massive schools of redfish.