Catching a redfish on the fly is one of the most challenging/rewarding accomplishments in saltwater angling. Watching a redfish tail and feed in 7 inches of water is an incredible sight that we are spoiled to witness in the Lowcountry. Since we are on the verge of “primetime” redfishing season right now, we caught up with Free Fly Ambassador Forrest Powell to put together some tips to help you be successful on your next trip.
The biggest thing in fly fishing is making sure that your fly is in front of that fish and moving at a speed that imitates the movement of shrimp or crabs. (Depending on the fly you’re using). A fish will rarely go out of his way to chase down something so having your fly right in front of the fish is the biggest must.
Next is being stealthy. Redfish are extremely smart and can feel any vibrations coming off of your boat. So if you wanna get a close shot at a tailing fish have no music on, talk quietly, and pole your boat slowly to give you that nice and easy close cast that we all look for on our days out.
Now it's all about matching your fly to the shrimp or crabs that you’re trying to imitate. Normally on a low tide, you would be throwing a shrimp or baitfish pattern which is mainly what redfish are eating on those low tide outings.
When fishing a flood tide, you usually want to throw a crab pattern, which is why you see the tails of a redfish, they’re sticking their nose in the mud and sucking fiddler crabs out of their holes which makes their tails stick up out of the water! (A sight that makes anyone’s knees shake).
Try to do 2-3 false casts if not less when taking a shot at a fish. The reason this is important is because when there is high sunlight and your rod is waving back and forth trying to send your line, it often reflects on the water and frequently spooks the fish before you can even lay your cast. Take a shot two feet in front of that fish and don’t move it until he gets to it and you’ll usually always get a turn or eat pretty quickly.
5. Double Haul
Lastly, practice your double haul. Double hauling is the most important part of saltwater fly fishing due to the wind mostly always blowing not in your favor. The double haul allows your line speed to maximize which allows for a much longer cast at a fish and by having a longer cast it allows you to have more shots at that fish before reaching the boat and spooking. You can never practice too much, I learn something new each time I’m out on the chase for these wonderful fish.
About the Author:
Forrest Powell is a Free Fly Ambassador and a senior at the College of Charleston. When he's not studying you can find him running his skiff out to his favorite mud flat to catch reds on fly.