Just about everyone who fishes for redfish seriously never quite knows how to respond when you catch a classic tournament redfish when you’re not in a tournament. Naturally, you’re glad you caught a nice fish, but it never seems to happen at the right time. I slogged through a tough day fishing at the Reeling for Kids tournament and couldn’t find anything bigger than 6.3 pounds. The Big Bend Redfish club had a private tournament on Saturday and the largest two-fish catch was 12.5 pounds. So naturally, on Sunday, Doug Barrett and I were bound to have day that makes you say “what if….”. We had some hints from Capt. Tommy Thompson that there was a school of reds in an area we occasionally fish. In fact, he had caught 18 fish there the day before. We went there early, in slight fog, fished in the right place, and caught…..nothing. Nada. One blow-up on a topwater. We tried suspending lures, topwaters, crank baits….nyet. True, it was near a slack tide, but really…we expected better. We ran further south, to some beautiful water and bottom. Nothing except a small Spanish mackeral. We drifted along fishing subsurface lures and found a nice school of trout anchored by this four pounder and picked up a small red as well, but nothing spectacular.
The skies looked like thunderstorms were brewing, but we figured we would go back to our first location and try it on a flood tide. Lo and behold, the fish were right where we had fished in the morning on a slack tide. They were hungry and plentiful. Doug caught the first big fish:
I caught this one a few minutes later:
We caught a total of 16 reds, from 20 inches to the pair pictured above. This is the first time this has ever happened to me, but both our fish measured exactly the same: 26 3/4 inches, and exactly 8 pounds on the certified Boga. It’s very likely that either of those two fish would have won any tournament in our area. Not that I’m complaining, as I’ve won a few myself, but I sure would like to be able to track these dudes down during the next tournament. Finally we caught enough out of the school so that they moved off and we couldn’t find them. In spite of the challenging and frustrating mornings, we ended up with a fine day.