Monday, June 2, 2014

Slingin' Big Flies

Just on the other side of a small shoal, I saw them.  3 big tails with big dots waved as they slowly cruised away from me.  I was sure there were many others just out of sight.  I scrambled to get into position and as I started slinging the fly rod, excitement got the better of me and my line clumped up.  The half and half (clouser/deceiver) fell short.  Richie who was right behind me bombed his swimbait far past and nearly had his rod ripped out of his hand immediately.  My second and third casts didn't find their intended receivers and before I knew it, the school was gone.  

47.5" Red Drum for Richie Bekolay

Joe Underwood, who a little farther away called over the radio announcing that he was also on the board with a 47.5" red drum.  

Knowing it was going to continue to be a challenge and a struggle with the fly rod, I had to make a decision.  I brought my heavy spinning gear just in case I wanted to switch from my 10wt, but I really wanted to catch a big fish on the fly.  Fly casting on the kayak can be insanely frustrating.  I didn't bring my Predator, which is easier to stand in, but the wind pushes it a lot (since it has high side walls) and paddling long distances is difficult in that boat.  The Trident paddles much better, but standing is a little tougher in open water.  I can fly cast on my knees in the Trident, but it's still tough.  Add wind, being so low to the water, flyline management in tight quarters, people in your back cast, the anxiety of trying to catch up to moving fish, knowing that you have a regular rod right behind you that would make it so much easier to hook up…

It's a recipe for absolute utter frustration.  
But I stayed with it.

Richie and Joe had a phenomenal day.  Their tally kept getting bigger and while I was happy for them, my fly just kept missing the mark.  It wasn't until we paddled up to a huge black mass near a shoreline that I finally strip set the hook into a worthy fish.  It was a super tight school of big stripers and Joe and Richie both hooked up immediately.  My fish pulled me into the school and it was utter chaos.  Fish were just shooting off in every direction and my fly reel was screaming.  Oh, and I forgot to mention, I was using 8 lb. tippet for a chance at an IGFA line class fly record for Red Drum.  So that was the first time I got to see the backing of my fly line.  Insert huge grin here.

40" Striper on fly/kayak
It went on to become one of the more memorable days I've ever had on the water.  Richie and Joe went on to catch several big reds, most of which were citations, and also trophy stripers as well.  When I found out that their stripers were citation, I gave in and switched to the heavy spinning outfit.  I landed one more striper at 41" then switched back to the fly when we found the reds again.  Luck didn't favor me the rest of the day, but I still wasn't complaining in the slightest.  

It was a choice I made 
and now I can honestly say that I understand the challenge that is
slingin' big flies for big fish on the kayak.

Here's a video of the fight (added 6/25/14)


  1. Don't hang your head too low, Rob. I admire your determination! Congratulations on the monsters you did catch! I have full confidence that, after this "set back", you will get this figured out & be posted photos of a lot more huge fish!

  2. It's the challenge of fly fishing that I find addicting. It is hard to see others catching monsters while you're flailing to make a decent cast. I guess it comes down to why you fish. If you're fishing to just catch big fish and impress your friends. Spin fishing is the way to go.

  3. That is awespme, you are just taking it to another level catching the fish the way you want to catch them. Way to go, and thanks for sharing.

  4. As expected, you performed brilliantly !! What I call: "tenacious angling".

  5. Thanks guys. It was definitely worth it to stick with it.

  6. Now I understand the 8 # tippet. You have a legit shot at an IGFA record red... stay with it. If not this season, then next. It can even be released if you have your Boga tested by them, and you get out onto the Island for the actual weighing. Photo, measure, and have witness. Then Dr. Julie will walk you thru the process. Her name on the submission paperwork will result in almost certain approval.

    1. Yup, I have an IGFA certified Chatillon and have Julie's number already. Got it all planned out... just gotta get the fish to cooperate :)


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