It was a spectacular morning as we put in at the landing...the sun was just rising above the east horizon, a beautiful vermillion sky, light and gentle breeze flowing in from the sound.. hour and a half before dead low tide....perfect!
We cruised past this large floating dock owned by one of my longtime high school friends whose family for several generations had hunted and fished along the South Carolina barrier islands.
Mark turned the boat into the channel flowing out of a large expanse of oyster shoals where the tidal creeks and marsh emptied at the bottom of the tide...he cut the motor, grabbed his pole and climbed up on his platform. I grabbed my 10 weight fly rod and tied on one of Mark's "Mumba" baitfish patterns...stood up on the bow and stripped off about 40ft of line.
Mark stealthily pushed us east on the flats, the sun shimmering on the water ahead...he spotted a small school of reds at 1 O'Clock moving toward us and whispered for me to start casting in front of them...made one false cast and shot the line to about 4 feet in front of the reds. Mark began his cadence...."strip...strip...strip...strip...HIT 'em! I strip set the hook deep into the red's jaw as he took off for deeper water. My adrenaline was pumping as I let the red take line which was "rooster tailing" away...I turned up about 5 lbs of drag on the reel and began to apply rod pressure to gain back line.
What a thrill! I had caught plenty of spot tails in my youth with spinning gear, but never have had a more stimulating challenge than flyfishing with Mark. Caught 6, with a couple of early releases...best birthday ever....thx, Mark!"