Early Morning on the Flats
During the last week we’ve had some decent tides for “tailing” reds. So I’ve been getting on the water before dawn hoping for a shot. Now conditions aren’t bad. The water is clear and cooling, and the wind light – all things in my favor. But I’m sorry to say the fishing for “tailing” reds hasn’t been productive.
Why? “Hitcher snook”. What are “hitchhiker snook” ? I’ve discussed this before but that was long ago. Time for a refresher. With water temperatures in the high 70’s there are plenty of snook around. And they are very active and love to follow the redfish on the flat. So wherever you find “tailing” reds, snook are likely close by keeping a greedy eye on whatever the reds flush from the bottom.
As you cast to a “tailing” red, the red has its head down in the turtle grass and very often doesn’t see the fly or simply isn’t real interested. The snook on the other hand are not looking down as much, are very aggressive and immediately charge the fly. Bingo. You chuck a fly at a “tailing” red and hook a snook instead. C’est la vie.
Slimy green wool algae
Before finishing up this post let me mention something of concern on my flats. In the last month a slimy, green wool-like algae was shown up, covering the bottom and tangling up in the turtle grass. Where it came from I have no idea. Is it connected to the blue-green algae issue we have on the Southwest Florida coast? Can’t say, but it’s causing problems believe me. For one thing your fly quickly snags up in the crap. Second its hard to remove. Kinda like the “mung” weed I used to see on the Cape Cod beaches. Third, fish you hook plow through the shit head first. Now its all over you leader and fly line. Major headache.
The Red Tide has Eased off a Bit:
28 Inch “Tailer”
Hurricane Michael pushed a fair amount of red tide north into the panhandle. Bad news for them; good news for us. But a shift in the wind could easily change things in a manner of days. So I have my fingers crossed Charlotte Harbor and its surrounding open waters can remain free of red tide. We really need a break. The red tide has been in Southwest Florida since November of 2017
A few nights back I caught a boat ride with my friend Dave. We saw a fair number of reds following rays across the flat. Thanks to Dave I got one as seen above. It’s about an 8 pound red. Which on a six-weight fly rod put up quite a show.
The Fishery is Closed!
Well I haven’t posted in a while. If you have been watching the national news you may know why. The Gulf coast of Florida, from Sarasota to Naples, is facing a heart breaking natural disaster. And get this: its a double barrel assault.
Red tide moved inshore back in November and has steadfastly refused to give up! Incredible my friend. Red tide would normally be a problem for a few weeks. It has now been here almost a year. To that menace we also have toxic blue-green algae flowing down the Caloosahatchee River from Lake Okeechobee. That slimy poisonous mess exits out near Sanibel Island where in just two weeks time over 300 tons of dead sea life washed up on the beach. Disgust, a real crime.
Right now its breeding time for both snook and reds, so the fishery for both has been closed until further notice.
Another Shot at “Tailing” Reds
Rain Clouds in the Distance
The rain to our immediate southeast had slid offshore and the breeze was dropping with the light. Coupled with it we had a ebbing tide about to turn. You got to love it. Things were set for another shot at “tailing” redfish.
About 7pm, the three of us hopped in Dave’s boat and flew out to the flats. Water temperatures were high, likely pushing toward 90 degrees, but its August after all and one just has to grin and bare it. Six or seven minutes later, we slid up on the sandbar and tossed out the anchor. Time for the magical mystery tour to begin.
Dave’s Tailing Redfish
After grabbing gear, the three of us disembarked, fingers crossed that the angling gods would shine down on us. Andy headed right, I waded forward and Dave went left. The water on the flat was a fair bit lower than we expected. And there were no “tails” to be seen. Bummer. As the sun dipped down to the horizon, our chances were fading fast. But just at last light, Dave found two “tailing” reds. I’ll bet they arrived with the cooler incoming tide. Bingo. Yes, good old Dave scored as usual. No wonder they call him the “fish whisperer”!
Blue Green Algae in Charlotte Harbor ?
Yesterday I spent part of the day in the kayak. Water temperature? 88 degrees plus. No surprise I guess; July was the hottest July ever recorded in these parts. As you can imagine the fishing was painfully slow. Nonexistent.
Blue Green Algae?
Later on, a guide boat came by and chummed the water near me for 30 minutes without raising a single fish for his clients! Yikes, that was an powerful omen to head back to port, but on the way I saw something strange. No it wasn’t red tide again, thank God. It was small amounts of what appeared to be blue green algae? Or at least that is what I believe it might to be. Could be wrong, however. For one thing its not the bright green color you see on the evening news.
Blue green algae against the Kayak ?
With a southerly wind and a rising tide, conditions were ripe for pulling in water from the Fort Myer coast. Blue green algae is a major issue over there. When I got back to the ramp, I found the stuff in the kayak scuppers. Sure looks like algae of some sort. Hopefully this isn’t the start of a something that gets worse here in the Harbor. Right at the moment, whatever it is its pretty minor.
Crap in the Kayak Scuppers