Tailing Reds Can be Down-right Fussy

Sometimes “tailing” reds are aggressive; as soon as the fly lands, they nail it. Other times reds are ultra spooky; the least bit of noise, a fleeting shadow, the fly line overhead and man, they are gone. And sometimes “tailing” reds are down-right fussy. They will follow a fly forever. And you never know which type of red you’ll run it.

Yesterday I got on the flat in the morning, ready to find “tailers” during the last of the ebb. Net result? Zero. Nada. Zip. I had waited around for hours without a single tail. Damn. Very disappointing.

As the flood started, I headed back home, traveling along the inside of the sandbar, hoping to see a tail. About a half mile down the flat, I spied one. There was a redfish working the grassy edge of the bar. Eureka. I stopped, got out of the kayak and made a cast.  But something unexpected happened. My cast caused an explosion behind me?

I whirled around in time to see a fish zoom off.  Apparently my back cast had spooked a big red sitting right behind me. Worse yet, the red I had been aiming at was now gone too. Oh well. But rather than split, I decided to hang out for a minute, to see if the big fish would return.

Eight Pound Redfish

Eight Pound Redfish

A bit later I spotted a small swirl, and a hint of a tail. So I dropped the fly nearby. Strip, strip – bump? Strip, strip-bump? Something was lightly touching the fly without really grabbing it. Typically that means a small needlefish is in pursuit. On the next strip, however, I saw the real culprit. It was a big red.

He was slowly following the fly, nipping at it. Crazy. And in a second he would be close enough to see me too. I stopped the retrieve. He swam forward, ate the fly, and turned to the left, setting the hook. Great fight. Good runs. The boga reported eight pounds. Yes sir, “tailing” reds can be damn fussy.

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