Full Moon, Slow bite at light
The water was crystal clear, the water temp was 72 degrees, and a little breeze blew. The breeze was just enough to keep us cool but not enough to ripple the water. The tide was dead low on this morning due to the peak high at 11 p.m. the night before under the full moon. The Emerald Coast Redfish Circuit championship is Saturday and this would probably be our last chance to pre-fish.
The concern with pre-fishing this past weekend was fish feed on a full moon, so it would be a grind to produce.
Up until that cold front two weekends ago we had located three different schools of upper slot reds we had been following and watching to come back and catch tournament time. The cold front came through, pushed all the water off the flats, and that dispersed the fish off the flats as well. This was our last chance to locate them before the championship. This championship we are coming into with the top six teams that include us are 9 points from the leader and a chance to make top five team of the year.
We headed to our favorite spot. The tide was too low still for the reds to be pushed up. We went to our second favorite spot that produces. We started moving along the flats throwing search baits and sight fishing since the water was so clear. We were seeing trout everywhere but not the first red. We started sight casting trout to stay entertained and try some new baits we picked up that week.
We were seeing trout up to 30 inches and catching trout anywhere from 10 to 25 inches. It was fun and all, but not going to help us this upcoming Saturday. We decided to continue to push farther down this flat then we normally go. Doing so, we found a cut that opened to a pond. As soon as we entered the cut we immediately started seeing reds. Happy to see reds, but they weren’t the tournament reds we had been looking for.
I threw on one and caught him. He measured a whopping 18.5-inches. We kept pushing around this bayou. My son saw one and threw, and he caught a 21.5-inch red. We had found a place to go if desperation of fish for weigh-in occurs, but these were not going to win any tournaments. We left the little bayou and headed for some mud flats. At the mud flats, we were seeing more reds and this time better fish. I landed a 24-inch red that weighed 5.7 pounds. He looked like a little football.
We kept pushing the mud flats and saw the reds that we had spent all day looking for. It was a school of upper slots and some of them looked to be over slot. Jake and I both threw at them, trying to catch one just to get a measurement and weight, then we would leave them alone. They wouldn’t eat. We harassed them to the point they spooked. It was encouraging to see them but discouraging they wouldn’t eat. We spooked what we were there looking for, so we left and headed to our favorite spot again since the tide was coming in.
We got to our favorite flat, started pushing and Jake hooked up with a 23-inch red. It looked like a football as well, but didn’t we didn’t weigh it. We were in 9 inches of water and could see some 5-pound reds moving around, but we were looking for 6-pounds and above. It was quiet and we were looking and listening for blow-ups, then the sound of an outboard motor filled the quiet void. We looked 30 yards in front of us and a boat was pushed up without a trolling motor. He had to burn the flats with the outboard to move around.
Anyone who understands redfish knows the outboard motor in skinny water is your worst enemy. We decided to call it a day as it was getting late in the afternoon and the fish weren’t there anymore.
If you ever decide to go fish the day after a full moon, know it will be long and hard. The fish will feed all night under the full moon and the bite usually won’t pick up until lunch time or after. Cover ground and change depths and bottoms until you find the bite.