Topsail Island Redfish
<p>Sandwiched dead between 2 fast moving cold fronts, and with returning anglers Mike and Andrew only being in town for 2 days, Thursday was going to be one of those "just grin and bear it" kind of trips. With the prospect of 15-20kt. Northeast winds and a waterway that runs almost due Northeast/Southwest, it didn't appear pretty. I wasn't concerned a bit though, as I'm blessed to run 2 purpose built flats boats from Long Bay Custom Boatworks that allow me to effectively fish conditions that keep most guide businesses at the dock. Getting an earlier than normal start meant that we would be arriving on the flats ahead of the flood tide, and hopefully allow a little sight fishing before the wind stiffened. As soon as Mike and Andrew jumped on board toting thick windbreakers and zip off fishing pants, talk turned to how quickly our weather seems to change in North Carolina, and that we don't experience prolonged seasonal transitions. They were interested in wheter or not the quick drop in temperature had changed the bite pattern from what has been primarily one of top water and so called action baits to the slower more methodical presentation styles usually practiced in cooler water temps. I assured them that the Reds would readily hit a Top Water plug or fast moving spoon as long as water temps remained in their preffered range of 65 - 90 degrees. Our first stop of the morning in one of the many small bays littering the mainland side of Topsail Island found us having to search for solitary fish that had broken away from larger schools after the recent strong Northeast winds had pushed many of the sub adult Reds out into the surf zone to gorge on migrating finfish and shrimp. Our efforts did'nt go un rewarded, and Mike soon had a nice upper slot fish crash his Mirrolure Top Pup adjacent to a spartina grass bank that was in the lea of the now gusty wind. As the fish came boatside, it was immediately evident by the broad wrist, squared off tail, and sunken eye sockets, that this fish was genetically strong and he showed it during several drag punishing runs that had Mike chasing the fish down one gunnel and up the other making two complete laps around the little 15' flats skiff before finally subduing him. As we ran against a stiff wind and strong current to another small bay in the narrow intracoastal waterway, I had to remind my anglers that we were in a boat that only measures 14' 8" and remained completely dry and in no need of a chiropractors services by day's end. Quite an accomplishment for any boat, let alone a small technical poling skiff! Which brings me to another positive attribute of this neat little boat, I am able to pole all day in stiff, normally unmanagable wind with little effort. After landing a few more mid slot Reds on Jerkbaits over a dense oyster flat, we felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment for locating actively feeding fish in such sloppy conditions. As a guide you can't always pick your days, but you can pick your boats!
About The Author: Captain Todd Streeter
Company: Chasin' Tail Charters
Area Reporting: South Coast
Bio: Capt. Todd Streeter is a Coast Guard licensed full time guide residing in Southport, NC. He trailers his skiffs anywhere from the lower reaches of the Cape Fear River to North Topsail Beach to seek the finest inshore Light Tackle and Fly Fishing the Southern coastal waters have to offer. NOT ANOTHER BOAT RIDE, with him you will experience a passionate approach to our fishery in a unique seldom duplicated manner fine tuned over 20 years of "sneaking" around the shallow estuaries and backwaters that make up the Cape Fear region. His life has been consumed with all things outdoors since the age of 6 when he received his first Boron fly rod and casting lessons from his Grandfather, who was a commercial fly tier and custom tackle builder. Whether your desire lies in stalking North Carolina's state fish, the Red Drum, on back country tidal flats, getting that once in a lifetime shot at a tailing Red in the flooded Spartina grass miles from the nearest boat as a rising full moon lights it's tail like a blue beacon, a trip targeting Speckled Trout, Ladyfish, False Albacore, Jack Crevalle, or a Cape Fear Slam(Red Drum, Trout, and Flounder). He considers it a necessity to tailor the adventure to the individual. Whether you're a Master Level casting instructor or eager first timer, you will find a patient and attentive Captain who will make every effort to insure an educational and memorable trip