Fishing Flats for Reds
Two weeks leading up to last weekend’s tournament, I started fishing bass tournaments with Bubba. It was something new, fun and exciting. We decided to fish the Tuesday night tournaments at High Point Landing, Deerpoint Lake. It was only $25 dollars a person to buy in, and it was something different. The two tournaments we fished, we managed to weigh in three fish with the biggest being 1.5 pounds. With all the previous described, I lost sight and track of the redfish and redfish tournaments, which showed our last tournament performance. I decided it was time to go fish the flats, do what I know and love, and have some fun.
I left the landing about 9:45 a.m. and headed for a flat I haven’t fished in six months. The tide was coming in, overcast conditions, with 10 mph winds. I deployed the trolling motor, rigged with my new favorite bait and rig, and just went fishing. There was no time crunch, no stress of having to land, no pressure, just fishing. I was about 10 minutes into the flat, felt a thump, and landed a 16-inch trout. I continued down the flat, threw in about 5 inches of water, felt a thump, the water busted and the drag took off, and I landed a one-eyed, 21-inch red. When they have a damaged eye, they look like a zombie; it is awesome to see. I finished the flat and headed for a drop-off that has produced in the past, and I was ready to catch some weight.
I got to the drop-off, started drifting the ledge with the wind and the trolling motor, throwing shallow and deep, looking for the big girls. The drop-off I like to fish is extended about a half mile with a mixed bottom, and I have caught 30-inch trout and 30-inch reds here. I slowly worked the drop-off, and the water was busting around me. I saw V’s in the shallows, baitfish moving, and mullet jump. I got anxious, expecting every cast to produce something big. I threw to the V’s with no reaction. I threw to the bust, no reaction.
I went to throw to the deep again and I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked over to see a 5-foot bull heading for the boat, and then knew why I wasn’t catching. I pulled the trolling motor and headed to one last flat and point I hadn’t fished since last September.
I arrived at the flat that leads to the point. I was creeping up on the trolling motor, casting while headed toward shore. I felt a thump and landed a 15.5-inch trout. I threw again, thump, and it was a small trout. The pattern of small trout continued the whole flat. I got to the point, poled down, and threw the current. On the third cast, I felt a thump, set the hook, the drag screamed and could feel weight on the rod. I knew then it was either a big red, or another cobia like last tournament.
I fought the fish to the boat and landed a 26 7/8-inch with a pinched tail at 7 pounds. I released the red, threw back to the same current, thump, hooked up again. Landed a 24-inch red, probably 4.5 pounds, and released. The next three casts in a row, the same thing happened with 4- to 5-pound reds. I was having a blast but wasn’t trying to sore lip every red. I wanted some more trout to take home for dinner.
I lifted the pole and moved to the back side of the drop-off of the point. I threw, thump, set hook, and got a 19-inch trout. That gave me three trout in the livewell, and enough for dinner and for Mr. Tom. The sky was darkening and raining just east of me. I felt it was a good time to head back to the landing before the storm caught up with me. It was just pure fun, catching reds and trout, with no ultimatum, stress, pressure or time crunch.