Written by Capt. Kyle Hodson – BFL Fly Fishing Guide
We have always heard that it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the amount of fight in the dog, that really matters when it comes to achieving a goal. That same winning sentiment is often the key to success in the sport of coastal fly-fishing, as anglers are always presented with uncontrollable factors. Such limitations sometimes come in the form of weather conditions, or even in the behavior of the redfish in any given situation. One thing’s for sure, the ability to minimize error and maximize results comes from a “can do and will do” attitude.
This past weekend I was reminded of the power of positivity in my angler. Our day started like many others. There was a great sense of anticipation, combined with dreams of redfish crushing a perfectly presented fly. It was similar to the feeling that a kid gets on the opening day of baseball.
I remember telling my angler it felt like a spring day, with the laugh of gulls working over the ditch, a predominant ESE wind with a smell of sargassum, and a combination of humidity and mosquitoes. We were coming off a full moon, had an inbound frontal system, and all of that was combined with the weekly changes in tides and water temperature. Even the marsh critters were acting a little “wonky” this morning.
Our first great shot at a redfish came in the form of a refusal. This might be a very generous description of the behavior, but the red wasn’t going to eat our preferred fly of choice. After a meeting of the minds, my angler and I decided to make a run across the bay and to switch flies.
Upon arriving at our destination, we were greeted with a nice school of reds mixed with a strong string of mullet flashing through the water on the flat. We were eager and excited about the things that were possibly about to happen. The school of reds, however, were uneasy and in constant flight.
We continued our journey into a maze of what we found to be a haven for redfish. There were miles of pristine marsh that looked optimistic in about any direction I wanted to push the skiff. The water clarity was fantastic and there was bait present everywhere, and the whooping cranes hunting in the marsh made things feel alive. Again, we found our shots, and again, we were greeted with refusals. Some would consider this to be a casting blunder. I have found, however, that often the angler must force-feed the fish by casting the fly right into the mouth of the fish. Those were my instructions to my angler, and that’s exactly what he did.
As a fly-fishing guide, the team aspect is very prevalent. I work closely alongside my angler, and as a unit we achieve our goal of feeding redfish in very shallow water. We accomplished our goal this day, but only because my angler had a winning attitude – the ability to overcome the obstacles, and to stay in the pursuit with a “can do and will do” mindset.