I am so obsessed with this fish. Obsessed. With a fish. I know, sounds crazy, unless you fish. Redfish are the fish that started this love of the tug. I still remember the fist big red I caught. It was about 6 years now. We were waiting with cut bait out in a small opening in an oyster bar when the line was yanked under. I fought that fish for what seemed like 30 minutes, but was probably only about 5 or ten. I was so proud. I remember what it felt like to hold up that fish. Pure satisfaction. Little did I know that years from then I would feel an even bigger sense of pride with reds.
This past fishing trip, I found out what true joy in hard work really means. Fishing can mean different things to different people. I started this journey using live bait. Now, before you get all crazy, I still think any form of fishing is better than no fishing at all. However, now that I almost exclusively use lures when we fish inshore, I only want to use lures. Why? Because it means so much more to me that I put the work in than when I use bait. I got that fish to bite plastic! I casted to the right spot and worked it to make it look real. It isn’t easy. It takes a little more skill in my very humble opinion. I am in no way putting those down that use live bait. It is just different.
I am still so amateur in my skill level. I still need help knowing what to throw. People ask me all the time what lures I use. Well, it depends on many different factors including what fish I am targeting, water temps, where we are, tides and time of year. I do not know what to use most of the time. I am a very lucky girl in the fact that I have a best friend who is an expert. He ties my lures on and puts me on the fish. I am slowly learning from him. He is an incredibly patient teacher. We both consider it a success if there is not crying or yelling! I am passionate about it and I don’t give up. That is one thing that fishing has really taught me that has changed my life. Just keep casting! Also, you won’t know if you don’t go! I have spent almost two years watching him catch fish after fish. It can be incredibly frustrating to watch someone in your boat catch all the fish and you have to just be happy that you caught anything at all! The fact that our relationship has survived and thrived actually, from this is truly remarkable. I have had to work through some extreme jealousy!
So, when we were out on the water and I casted where I thought the fish might be and my line went tight, I was elated. I found a monster! I put it where I thought it would be and it was! That was an awesome feeling! I would have been a happy girl if that was the only fish. We could’ve quit then and I would have been just fine. But that was just the beginning! We rode to a creek when the tide was higher enough. We saw fish everywhere! This does not always mean you catch those fish. Sometimes, they just don’t eat! That can be so frustrating, to see them and not be able to catch them! It is always awesome to see so many under you.
This time, they were chewing! I ended up getting 8 healthy redfish! This is the most slot redfish I have ever caught and to top it off, I caught them all on artificial. No live bait needed for this angler. I used one lure almost the entire trip, Zman Jerk Shadz in Houdini color. We joke that this is my new confidence bait. I used to love any Zman in Chartreuse. We say confidence bait because I get confidence with it. When you start to catch fish with a specific lure you develop a confidence when you throw it. So, maybe this is my new lure! I am beginning to really enjoy learning how to throw all types of lures. You have to learn how to work them. You have to develop your own style.
I think that I do better in the winter because the fish are slower. Just a theory. I still need so much work, but it is so amazing to see that work pay off with progress. I am starting to feel like I might be somewhat decent at this fishing thing! I even sight casted two of my reds! That means, you see the fish and throw the lure to catch them! That is such a rush! One thing I am sure of, I am more in love with fishing now more than ever. I am really seeing the benefits of persistence and hard work. I do believe this is carrying over into my daily life and that makes me so happy. It doesn’t come easy, but I just keep going. What comes easy goes easy and the joy you get from your effort is better than anything I have ever felt.