Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Scouting Trip

Friend and angler Wes Aiken joined me on the boat to do a little scouting for some upcoming charters and what we found was nothing short of phenomenal. We started the morning poling some very shallow tidal creeks, some of which were only as wide as the boat. Within the first 50 yards of poling we spotted a pair of redfish laid up near an oyster bar. Unfortunately they saw us around the same time and before Wes could get a shot with the fly rod they spooked. The water is very clear this time of year and as they swam under the boat we noticed one fish had a red lure hanging out of his mouth. We continued up the creek and as we came to the next bend we noticed some fish pushing water chasing shrimp. As I started to spin the boat giving Wes the perfect shot we noticed another fish tailing and finning coming down the shoreline just past the group of fish. Wes made a cast and one of the fish saw the fly line and spooked causing the other 3 to spook. They turned and went up the creek so I poled Wes a little closer and gave him a shot at the tailing fish. He made the cast and immediately the other group that spooked turned and came right at his fly and the tailing fish. Within a few strips of the fly the tailing fish raced forward to beat the other fish to the fly and Wes was hooked up to his first red drum of the day. After a few quick pictures we released that fish and continued up the creek finding more redfish eating shrimp and laid up around oysters. We decided to leave these fish alone and explore new areas. As we poled up and down many of the other creeks in the area we found many singles and small groups patrolling the creeks but no big groups of fish. By this time the tide had began to come in and I decided to make a run to an area that is almost dry on low tide. After slowing the boat to idle near the mouth of the creek I noticed fish pushing water further up the creek in mere inches of water. We switched positions with Wes taking the push pole and giving me the bow with the fly rod.  Wes poled me up the creek and we watched as redfish pushed into a small narrow ditch leading up into the spartina grass. As we got within range of the ditch we were amazed at what we saw. There were 12-15 fish feeding in this ditch that was less than 6 feet wide and about 18 inches deep. After missing an eat on a topwater fly I switched to a small shrimp fly and one cast later had a fish break away from the group and eat the fly 15 feet from the bow. We continued up the creek to a small lagoon in the spartina grass and found more than a dozen other fish tailing around digging for crabs and cruising with their backs out of the water. With Wes back on the bow he made a cast to a single fish in a small pocket of water and was hooked up within one strip of the fly. After another photo and release we left the rest of the fish alone for my anglers in the upcoming days and decided to call it a day.With the unseasonably warm air and water temperatures combined with clear water the sightfishing right now along the Cape Fear Coast is exceptional. Don't wait to book your fly or light tackle fishing trip or purchase a holiday gift certificate for that angler on your holiday list. 

Capt. Allen Cain