My plan was to patrol the flats with my 12wt fly rod at the ready, dragging gear in tow. On the way out from the launch, a huge group of turtles surfaced, and I hoped this was a good omen. I briefly talked with another kayaker on the way out, and he gave me some friendly advice before heading in the opposite direction.
On the flats I battled the wind and gave up hope of sight casting, but kept my head up all the same while I trolled. I fished through the tide change without seeing any indication of fish. The wind was brutal, and I let it slowly push me back in the direction of the marsh.
Without warning, my bucktail rod knocked down and a mystery fish took off on a screaming run, up current and up tide. I followed on a weird reverse slow sleigh ride—the boat didn’t want to spin in the wind and current. Eventually the fish stopped its run and I spun and went to work before it took off again. I was ultimately able to get the fish close enough to see its telltale profile and coppery flash—my quarry. And just like that, the hook pulled. I sat there dumbfounded for a second then quickly paddled back up-current to see if I could find another, but I saw no signs of a school.
This being The Year in Which I [Try and] Learn to Fish Gear (time for a trademark?), I am thrilled just to have felt the power of one of those fish. The only cure for the empty feeling in the pit of my stomach was a few of its baby cousins.
When I arrived home, I noticed that a ladybug graveyard had apparently washed into my kayak during the day. An odd epilogue, for sure.
Also odd is the large number of raccoons I’ve seen over the past few weeks.
Other species are available in the marshes as well, including flounder, croaker, and a bunch of fish at the CBBT for which I’ll need to buy more gear and learn some new techniques. For the moment, I’ll stick to trying for the usual suspects with my familiar fly and light tackle.