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The Tarpon have come and gone for this year. So now it's time to switch gears and gear up for the FALL REDFISH BITE. I went out with John Sherrel (one of the Forgotten Coast Fly Company's Captains) looking to see if there were any Tarpon left and if the Redfish had arrived. Mother Nature had other ideas though, washing us out after only a few hours. The one thing that did come out of this quick trip was the realization that my fly box is ill equipped for Redfish Season. Since I get asked almost daily which flies work, I thought I would describe my fly box logic.
Topwater - I carry 2 types of topwater flies in my Redfish fly box, poppers and gurglers. For poppers, I have Medium Double Barrel Poppers tied by Looper Flies in a White, White with a Red Head, Mullet (Grey), Mardi Gras (Purple/Chartreuse), and Frog (Chartreuse). I will upgrade to size Large if I know we are going to target larger fish. These poppers are great for open water schooling Redfish, Crevalle Jacks, and Gator Trout.
I carry 2 gurglers in my box. My own 13-Mile Gurgler in Tan and also in Chartreuse. This is a shrimp style gurgler tied after the Pattegrisen Shrimp. I also carry Backwater's Poppin' Flats Shrimp in Grass and Natural. I like throwing these when the tide is high and the marshes are flooded. These gurglers don't pack the punch of the Double Barrel Poppers but they make just enough gulp to get that feeding Red's attention.
Suspension - I would say the majority of the flies in my Redfish fly box are suspension flies. I consider anything that stays suspended in the water column or sinks slow enough that I can swim them, a suspension fly. I split my suspension flies into two groups, Baitfish and Shrimp. Baitfish can be further subdivided into two types; Flat Baitfish and Tubular Baitfish. Flat Baitfish patterns are tied to resemble Pinfish, Gulf Menhaden, Sardine, and Thread Herring. All of my Flat Baitfish patterns are tied the same, just using different material. I use three materials consistently; EP Fiber, FC Fiber, and FC Yak. Since these flies are "flat", they take up minimal space in your fly box, so have plenty of sizes and colors available. Tubular Baitfish are tied to represent immature striped mullet (Finger Mullet) and minnows such as mud minnows or bull minnows. Tubular baitfish patterns have become very quick and easy to tie ever since Brushes burst onto the fly tying scene in a big way. They can be easily tied with some type of tail material and using a brush for the head. Glue on some eyes and BOOM done. Again, have plenty of colors and sizes available.
I throw "shrimp" flies most of the time when I'm chasing non-tailing reds. These vary in patterns, sizes, and colors. The colors will vary based on water clarity. Most of my slider flies, I tie with a bead chain eye to achieve the proper sink rate. I always have my Geaux-To slider, SOS Shrimp, and Milkshake in the box. The Milkshake is definetly my most productive pattern for fall Redfish. It is easy to tie and has great movement in the water. Currently the Milkshake has caught 6 saltwater species, from Black Drum to Tarpon.
Sliders - I call any fly that you fish with the purpose of allowing it to sit on the bottom a Slider. As I mentioned above, for all my sliders, I have a few different weighted eyes, from bead chain to tungsten. The Milkshake is my most productive slider pattern and I toss this fly when the water is clear and small to medium Reds are cruising the flats. I usually cast this fly 10-15 yards in front of them, let it sit, then give it a few good strips when the school gets close. It is also very handy to have a sand flea pattern like my Carolinus Killer or Sandbar Flies Sandflea. I also like to have a few crab patterns in my box. Taylor Brooke recently developed the Crabby Melt and it has been killing the Black Drum this summer so I can only guess that the Redfish are going to love them too. For really big Reds in the Louisiana marshes, I throw the Geaux-To Slider with tungsten eyes. In the marsh you need a fly that will drop instantly and those tungsten eyes are the best for that. I also tie an extra large strip of Pro-Sportfisher Opossum as the tail. The movement of that Opossum can't be beat.
Well I hope this helps you get your fall Redfish Fly Box organized because....
THEY ARE COMING!!!!!