Thursday, September 19, 2013

Flyfishing for Florida Redfish, 9-16-2013

Redfish have been on my "flyrod wishlist" for awhile.  I finally got an opportunity to hire a guide and pursue them in Florida this past Monday.
The guide was Bryan Pahmeier of ( ).
Bryan is a pleasure to fish with, and certainly knows the fishing in the area, since he's been fishing it since he was a kid.
We hit the water before sunrise.  The relatviely flat water made it easy to spot the schools of mullet, and the alligators.
The Redfish didn't show up right away.  Bryan explained that 95% of the water in the HUGE area we were fishing was actually 3' deep or less!

A couple small groups of Redfish went by.  I caught the Redfish in the first picture of this blog out of the first group.  The fish was aggressive, and it was a strong fight.    A couple line peeling runs, then just bulldogging back and forth.  Amazingly similar to a carp fight on a fly rod!

I also hooked up with a Redfish from the second group.  After the first run, the fly shook free.  That Redfish continued to pursue the fly, which surprised me.  I had already given up on that fish and was getting ready to cast to the rest of the passing group...I pulled the fly away from it.

We saw plenty of Spotted Seatrout, but I only caught one of the smaller ones.
During the slow points in the action, I joked that I was going to catch one of the Hardhead Catfish that were swimming around.  Eventually, I did catch one!
We sat down to rest from the heat and drink some water and eat lunch, when another group of BIG Redfish went by.  They spooked at our boat and turned 180 degrees and swam away.

After that, we pretty much saw only single smaller Redfish, and they were VERY SPOOKY!  The closest I got was one that put his chin on the tail of my fly and followed it for a few yards without striking.

I saw a few BIG Blue Crabs.  Also a number of Stingrays.  I cast out near a few of the Stingrays.  I've caught them before on spinning gear.  Most didn't go for the fly, but I had one swim right over my fly, so I set the hook.  It was foul-hooked, but still put up quite a strong fight on its first run.  I got it to boatside, and Bryan unhooked it while it was still in the water.  Just got this picture of me fighting the Stingray.

We saw dolphins, including this mother working hard to keep her not-so-small baby upright in the water.  But it was floating like a cork and stiff, so it had been dead for awhile.  Sad.
We saw manatees, and actually drifted right over the top of one feeding on the bottom.  I neglected to take a picture.  We also saw alligators.  We drifted over the top of this large one.  We spooked it and it swam off underwater.
And at the end of the day...this little treat tasted really good.  Its a brew we don't often find in Iowa, yet.
I didn't drink and drive, I just photographed one of the full bottles while I was in the car after purchasing it.


  1. Dave, I have been lucky enough to catch one Redfish and they are quite fun indeed. Where did you fish for them at in Florida? The water there looks much clearer than where I fished up in the Jacksonville marshes. It was muddier than the Mississippi and couldn't see any fish. Had to rely solely on pushes and tails to know where the fish were. Would have much rather sight fished them.

  2. Well..we are tied then, since I only just landed the one as well. :)
    I was fishing near Titusville, near the Mosquito Lagoon, although I don't believe we were actually in that lagoon.
    I have a buddy that fishes for them in tidal marshes in South Carolina. He says the water there is also very muddy and sight-fishing isn't an option. Its a trade-off, I suppose. Its fun and excited to watch them, and have a target to cast to. But in murky water, the fish aren't nearly as likely to spook. It can be very frustrating in that clear water to only see Redfish as they are darting away from you.

  3. Very Nice! I've got to get down there and do that someday.