Fly-fishing is about ambiguity: when you start the day you’re never 100% sure what to throw, but almost 1% certain what nature will throw back. If you tear the place apart it’s guaranteed that you’ll stretch the truth far beyond your success, and if you don’t you’ll pull numerous excuses out of inventory. Reaching the pinnacle of the sport, however, is just art: spend more time changing flies than casting them, catch three times as many fish as you thought you would, tell everyone you caught ten times that amount, and still reason you should have knocked down 100X if not for an equipment failure that was a direct result of changing flies so often (but that you blame on the wind).
Fishing the flats of northeast Florida in the spring has its advantages – the water is warming and the fish are hungry. Expect rivers of grass when the tide is high, and several feet of exposed oyster beds at its low. The redfish are generally smaller (translation: significantly dumber) than they are in say Louisiana, so presentation can be relegated to afterthought. And of course you are not at work.
The downside is the weather is unpredictable. If you fish in the summer you can be sure it will rain like hell from three to five, but the rest of the time skies should be clear. During spring the wind blows hard when the weatherman (translation: teleprompter output interpreter) say it’ll be four knots, so you best bring your 10’er because they are usually off the mark by an equal factor .
Your boat will spin around a lot in this wind, so leave the pole at home and get the trolling motor battery charged. A clean flyline (new if you can swing it) will give you a slight advantage – just don’t leave it lying on the water while you are changing flies for the umpteenth time. A Motorguide running full bore combined with a flailing boat (along with a fly angler paying attention to his
flybox beef jerky supplies) can spell catastrophe. Your wallet will thank you for this sage advice. Please trust me on this one.
Small craft advisory and shredded flyline notwithstanding, you should catch quite a few fish. If you’ve spent the last month and a half in Florida [insert excuse here -> after the coldest temps the state has seen in three decades] and only have a handful of sea trout to show for it, this will come as welcome relief. A bottom-of-the-ninth performance may not get you a Fly Rod & Reel cover story, but it will save you another trip to Publix’s fresh fish counter.
Assuming you get the cooler past the dockside pelican guards.
MG signing off (pending return to higher altitude)